Look at us as a country, right now. Just breezing through civil rights movements like it’s our job. Because it kind of is.
Fraternities have a bit of an unfortunate reputation for being the worst people in the world. The media would generally have you believe that inclusion in these groups makes you a misogynistic, homophobic, backwards, unaccepting bigot. But Sigma Phi Epsilon is coming in hot proving the media wrong. It began with a discussion, initiated by Sig Ep’s CEO Brian C. Warren, according to the national organization’s chapter minutes.
CEO Warren provided an update on the staff’s work since the previous meeting to better understand transgender student policies across higher education. After Warren completed his update, the Directors held a conference call with Volunteer Services Director Archie Messermith and Social Justice and Diversity Consultant Facilitator Jessica Pettit.
Ms. Pettit began by applauding SigEp’s efforts to openly discuss transgender membership and the different policies higher education is adopting across the country. Pettit emphasized that many of the organizations that have discussed or produced updated non-discrimination clauses on gender identity have gone under the radar.
Pettit finished her presentation by clarifying that she has met with roughly 18 Greek organizations via phone and 12 in-person to produce written policy statements. In regards to NIC Fraternities, Jessica has been working with six of these organizations but could not name them for privacy purposes.
Grand President Cox thanked Ms. Pettit for sharing her time and expertise and encouraged the Directors to continue the conversation to get an understanding of where each member stood on the issue. He called on CEO Warren to present the policy provided by General Counsel Douglas M. Nabhan and his firm Williams Mullen.
Grand Secretary Richard W. Bennet III emphasized the need for chapters to be leaders and to take an individual stance on the issue. He encouraged the Headquarters staff to play a supporting role by helping chapters understand the issues and create a welcoming environment.
Following the discussion, the following policy was voted into place in an 8-0 decision by the board of directors with three abstentions:
“Sigma Phi Epsilon is a national Fraternity built on the brotherhood and fellowship of men. Any individual who identifies as a man is welcome to seek membership in the Fraternity. This policy is intended to uphold the mission of Sigma Phi Epsilon as a fellowship of men and should not be interpreted as changing the all-male character of the Fraternity or as a waiver of the Fraternity’s exempt status under Title IX.”
Nice job, Sig Ep. Your move, everyone else..