In an incredible act of civil rights activism, the National Panhellenic Conference has spoken up for one of the most underprivileged groups in America: the sorority women at the University of Virginia.
Taking action to combat the appalling, violative (month-long) ban on Greek activity levied by UVA president Teresa Sullivan in the wake of Rolling Stone's unending fiasco of a sexual assault exposé, the national Greek organization is all like:
We must take a stand. Our voice must also be heard, and the time is now.
I mean, word. The time is absolutely now. We must 100% stand up for the rights of imaginary UVA sorority women to hold chapter meetings in their empty, dilapidated mansions. (There aren't any real sorority women to hold the meetings because finals at UVA are already over and everyone's home for break; there isn't anything more exciting going on than a chapter meeting because srat houses are dry [offensive] and you can't throw "fundraisers" or date functions when, as previously stated, everyone is home for break.)
But I get it. UVA sorority chapter dues range from $800 to $1500 per semester—a financial toll I know personally as a former Virginia Pi Phi, shout out to my *~*angel sisters*~* and the closing shifts I worked at the bar every weekend to cover the cost of some t-shirts as well as (of course) eternal friendship—and one must get one's money's worth of rights. (No matter, again, that the ban on "Greek activity" will lift on January 9th, three days before both the beginning of UVA's spring semester and the kickoff of sorority rush, which will proceed as planned.)
Really, the National Panhellenic Conference's stump speech of a statement seems less like what it proposes to be (a call for the UVA ban to be lifted) and more like an opportunity for them to say how much they promise they are working on it.
We attended listening sessions conducted by the White House and Department of Education last winter, and we have talked about this topic in our monthly messages, blogs, and social media channels. We most recently have established a Student Safety and Sexual Assault Task Force that is charged with researching resources and brainstorming avenues for training and prevention. We have held conversations with other agencies and national organizations about where our teams can overlap our resources in unified efforts to reach and protect more women. And we have engaged in dialogue on sexual assault with our friends in the other umbrella fraternal organizations. It is absolutely a priority of the sorority community to ensure our campuses are safe for women.
"For anyone to assert that we are tone deaf to the issue of sexual assault is a false and simply unfair statement," says the NPC. Well, I guess. More "on key" with the issue of sexual assault, in my view, would be to hold fewer "conversations" and find practical means of asserting agency against and independence from the fraternities who still somehow get you to dress up like a Navahoe to their Cowboy Bro. But I never got very far on that one anyway. One more plea:
Hear our voices. Hear us when we say we are not tone deaf to sexual assault.
Okay, we hear you. Also, the ban will be over in just 21 short days of Charlottesville being a wintry ghost town. Also, you are sorority women, you're already loud as fuck, which I know because I'm one of you, and you are also (if you are at the University of Virginia) almost definitely white and almost definitely comfortable. Rest easy, your voices will literally always be heard.
Image via Bob Mical/Flickr