After serious reflection and discussion, ISC will be postponing recruitment. Recruitment will now be held the second weekend of Spring Quarter, from Friday, April 9 to Sunday, April 11.
We understand this decision may bring disappointment and we want to acknowledge all the effort many chapters have put in thus far. However, after much reflection, ISC believes that extra time is necessary to ensure a more equitable recruitment process moving forward. In particular, the way that virtual recruitment had been designed thus far failed to: 1) heed adequate attention to the ongoing campus conversations surrounding Greek life and recruitment, both in ISC as a whole and within our individual organizations; and 2) take into account the needs and concerns of all Potential New Members, particularly those of marginalized backgrounds. As ISC, we apologize for any and all distress we have caused to members of the Stanford community by working towards a recruitment that was not up to the standards of inclusion and intention that we have pledged ourselves to.
We want to take this time to actively create an inclusive space, take responsibility for our own role in perpetuating the exclusionary environment bred by recruitment, and focus on enacting tangible change. We are still deciding what this means concretely, but our hope is that these next few weeks will help pinpoint what we can and should be doing to create a more equitable and intentional recruitment process.
In terms of changes we have made thus far, we have voted unanimously to discontinue the legacy policy. We have done so in light of the exclusionary history behind this practice and the conflicting impact of this policy on chapter decision-making in regard to our reaffirmed values-based process. With the same intentions, we have also done away with elements of the application process - including bias-inducing questions regarding background and chapters’ ability to access Potential New Member headshots prior to meeting them. We have implemented a mandatory recruitment training in which our members are challenged to look at their own implicit biases and learn how to combat them.
Moreover, we are in the process of creating more opportunities for PNMs to engage in candid discussions with active members regarding recruitment and ISC, with particular attention towards highlighting the diverse experiences of individuals in ISC who hold marginalized identities.* We intend to create these safe spaces where PNMs and active members can converse transparently and freely about various ISC experiences—including asking and answering the hard questions—so that folks can access the support and information needed to make an informed decision on whether or not to undergo recruitment.
Lastly, we intend to make recruitment accessible to individuals who may have barriers to participating in this virtual format. We commit to providing adequate accommodations for any individual with special circumstances, whether it is a technology challenge or time zone obstacle.
As part of our commitment to accountability, we have created an accountability tracker (linked below). Additionally, as we continue to work towards creating a more inclusive recruitment process, we welcome ideas and constructive criticism (response form linked below as well).
Our biggest hope is that ISC will continue to work closely together to make recruitment a kinder and more welcoming process for the broader Stanford community, and that you, as potential new members, receive the care, connection, and consideration you all deserve. We greatly appreciate your patience and flexibility and anticipate, with optimism and conviction, the ways in which we will carry on growing as a community.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at: email@example.com
*We recognize that some folks with marginalized identities have suffered negative experiences within ISC organizations, which in some cases, has led to them leaving their chapters. We do not mean to discount these narratives and encourage PNMs to seek and understand experiences of other individuals from as many sources as possible.
The Inter-Sorority Council stands in solidarity with black lives, not just today but always.
The past weeks have been immensely difficult for so many of us in this country. There is a fount overflowing of digital messages, posts, and other statements of support for black lives and black folks across this country, and we are seeing many communities start to have discussions about the generations of institutional racism, anti-black or otherwise prejudiced, that underlie our systems. Greek life is, of course, no different; we come together to form new friendships and find community every spring under a set of organizations with a clear history of racism, elitism, and exclusion.
At this time, many of us not in the black community are faced with a juncture: whether to see this moment as just a passing news cycle phase, address it in the moment, and move on, or whether to take the opportunity to listen to narratives that have been silenced for too long and, most importantly, take action to make anti-racism a norm and a lifestyle that we choose to practice. I've seen a lot of folks from our inter-sorority communities choose to take action by donating to important causes, signing petitions to reform unjust laws, posting on their social media platforms in support of Black Lives Matter and black lives in general. I especially want to highlight the Justice 4 Black Lives Fund organized by our sisters in Alpha Kappa Alpha, and encourage anyone reading this to donate now. The work of many women in Greek life here at Stanford these past weeks has inspired and uplifted me. I am in awe of how many women are rallying their sisters towards important causes in support of black lives everywhere.
But there is one vital component of this fight that isn't always outward nor social media-friendly, and that is the process of introspection and accountability. In Greek life, we're not always confronted with our complicity in systems built on the principle of exclusion, whether it be by race or by socioeconomic status or even sexuality. These organizations largely emphasize community and social purpose, to unite women of different majors and other "diverse" backgrounds under one set of unifying principles of "sisterhood". Confronting racism or any other injustice isn't always baked into the fabric of these organizations' charters or rituals, nor does it seem second-nature to think of activism or advocacy in the same breath as non-multicultural Greek life. But that doesn't mean that racism is any less damaging in this system to its members and its leaders. As a dark-skinned woman of color, I've experienced racism in many shades through my organization; some of this racism is overt and likely would receive near-universal condemnation if it came to light publicly, but much of it is sinister and subtle, and less obvious. Whether you're thinking secretly about who your "token" dark-skinned minority, often black woman, is going to be in determining your next pledge class, or whether you're placing the burden of educating a mostly-white pledge class on racial issues exclusively on women of color, if you are engaging in those discussions at all, you're likely complicit in this kind of injustice as well. This recent article does a fantastic job of describing just some of the ways that our system is quietly complicit and inherently prejudiced against black women especially and women of color generally. I also know that I'm not alone in experiencing hurt, discomfort, and outrage at some parts of my sorority journey; in fact, I find fewer and fewer women of color remaining in our pledge classes over the years, often leaving because of hurt and frustration with the way this system and, at times, its members, have consistently devalued women of color.
If we really want to seize this moment and do more for black women and black folks across our organizations, we must take steps to personally, and unequivocally, commit ourselves to active allyship and anti-racism. What does that mean? It means doing more than just donating money or signing a petition; it means having frank, uncomfortable conversations with family members and friends and sisters about what it means to support black lives and to stand with them by calling ourselves and our communities out on their prejudices and working actively to change our behavior. I've seen far too many statements in past weeks that claim solidarity but fail to acknowledge the rot of racism within their own organizations. To that end I say that it is our job as sororities, as sisters, of women who are hurting right now to listen actively, educate ourselves on our own, and commit wholeheartedly to combating racism after the news cycle moves on and especially when this isn't a trending topic. This may be, and I sincerely hope it is, a time of empowerment for sisters of color or any sisters who have noticed racist behavior or practices in their own sororities to speak out and share their stories. What is owed to their bravery and vulnerability in sharing these stories is at least self-reflection and clear solidarity, if not definitive action to identify and work to change our own microaggressive behaviors and learned prejudices. If you know something, now is the time to say something to identify and clearly condemn racist behavior in your chapter.
To women of color, especially black women, in these organizations: I know that historically, and perhaps even in the past weeks, majority-white sororities haven't always felt safe for expression, sharing, or finding solidarity. We join these sororities to find community and sisterhood, and that means having support and safety and truly stepping into community- I'm hopeful about the possibility of change, but acknowledge that it doesn't always come swiftly enough. We weren't able as an Executive Board to implement all of our planned reforms as a result of the circumstances of this year, but we cannot wait any longer to take action. As our leadership transitions to what I'm sure will be a continuation of our values of diversity as a norm and increased accessibility, I hope I can leave behind a seed of institutional support in the form of supporting a group of incredible women in forming our own Women of Color Collective for organizations under the ISC umbrella. I know that having a safe space to step into community with more women of color would have undoubtedly changed my experience in Greek life, and I hope it can grow to do that for others who are in our organizations and who are going to join them in the future.
With that being said, I remain immensely thankful for all the women in our organizations who are showing up massively for black lives and expressing their solidarity, not to mention doing the difficult work of self-improvement and speaking out. I also want to recognize the countless women of color and black women especially who have til now been burdened with the task of carrying this fight on their shoulders; I see you, I hear you, and I am so proud to be in community with you. Together, I hope we can do more to amplify these voices and continue to actively fight racism within our institutions going forward.
-Adithi Iyer, ISC President 2019-2020
Resources you can use and contribute to:
Women of Color Collective Sign-Ups
Justice 4 Black Lives Fund and Alpha Kappa Alpha campaign updates
Starter links for self-education:
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the Stanford Inter-Sorority Council, under advisement from health authorities and Stanford administration, has decided to postpone our Formal Recruitment process to Fall 2020. We believe this is the best course of action for students on both sides of the process.
We understand the anxiety and emotions surrounding the uncertainty of the situation on campus. Our operations are currently focused on prioritizing safety and planning for a safe, successful recruitment at a later time. We ask for your patience while we determine logistical details as we receive more information on the status of COVID-19 over the coming months.
Finally, we wish to commend the incredible dedication and work from our organizations’ members and community partners over these past few months, and the understanding and solidarity in forging a responsible and positive way forward.
- ISC Executive Board and Chapter Presidents
The ISC Executive Board is proud to be organizing our Recruitment process this year. We operate on shared values and a belief in compassionate leadership and design, and in that light we have been working on changes to Recruitment that we believe will make the overall experience more comfortable and more focused on quality conversation over superficiality and image. We wish to support all our PNMs and Greek women alike in these changes, and hope to address some of the most common misconceptions about our revamped Recruitment process. Here are a few:
1. Why is Recruitment so Early this year?
We've moved our Recruitment this year to the weekend of Week 1 (Orientation is Monday, March 30!) because of a number of conflicts. Firstly, the weekend of Week 2, when we have historically hosted Recruitment, is Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Secondly, the Jewish holiday of Passover falls in that window, beginning Wednesday, April 8 and lasting through Thursday, April 16. In consideration of these religious holidays and those who observe them, we are making the conscious decision to shift our dates around.
2. Wait, we're in Tents?
We are indeed in tents this year. The growing size of our chapters and the nature of our parties, as well as the timing of Recruitment, is such that this is the most feasible option for hosting our parties. These tents will be insulated and operate as standalone rooms, complete with walls and doors, while also having a divider space that provides each chapter with a space to keep their items and sit if needed. These tents are also larger than many of the rooms we've used in the past; tents can fit up to 200 comfortably and will have more ventilation, not to mention sunlight, than our past spaces. Temperature concerns? Recruitment falls during the day for our tent events, meaning sunshine, fresh air, and ventilation (not to mention lunch breaks!). Worried about decorations? We can confirm that free-standing decor will be allowed in the tents, and are working right now on whether we can tape items to walls. Finally, we're accounting for adequate lighting, sustainability/waste stations, flooring, and accessibility concerns for our tent setups.
3. What can we wear/not wear?
If you're an active member participating in Recruitment, your chapter decides the dress codes for Recruitment parties as they do every year. Decor, rally, and any self-expression is allowed and encouraged! If you're a potential new member (PNM) and interested in joining Recruitment, we will provide you with a shirt that all PNMs will be wearing for the first day. The third night will be open to any attire of your choosing on both ends.
4. I have more questions!
If you have more questions about the process, please email our Recruitment Officers:
Hannah Marshall: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cristina Teran: email@example.com
Thanks everyone- we can't wait to welcome our new members this Spring!
-ISC Executive Board
Interested in joining a sorority on campus? Wondering how the system works? Join us in attending our Sorority Interest Panel, featuring our seven Panhellenic sororities, on February 20th at 370-370, 8 PM. We'll be discussing a range of topics and taking audience questions so bring any you have or submit questions ahead of time here. We look forward to seeing you there!