Acknowledging Our Past:
As a Greek organization, we, the members of Alpha Phi, believe it is important to acknowledge the systemic discrimination that has been prevalent throughout our history. Alpha Phi was founded in 1872, and while there was no segregation clause in the founding bylaws, our organization was influenced by the social dynamics of the time. As a result, the earliest Alpha Phi members were predominantly white, Anglosaxon, cisgendered women. Even as college campuses diversified, the legacy policy, expensive dues, and general culture of Greek life perpetuated the exclusion of certain groups from Alpha Phi. These issues continue to affect most Alpha Phi chapters across the country, including Beta Delta.
In 2015, our chapter hosted a “Kanye Western” themed event, where some of our members wore outfits appropriating Black culture. Other members attempted to portray “gold diggers” by smearing coal on their faces. Their ignorance prevented them from realizing this depicted blackface. The members involved were terminated, and the entire chapter went through cultural appropriation and bystander intervention workshops. While the chapter apologized to the UCLA community, we understand the irreparable harm caused by this event. No current Alpha Phis were present when this event took place, but the fact that it occurred so recently in our history serves as an indication of our chapter’s need for reform.
In 2020, our chapter renewed our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion by formalizing a DEI department. Under this department, we formed an Action Committee aimed at giving our members a space to learn, discuss, and take action on various social justice initiatives. One of the first events held by the Action Committee was our 24 Hours of Action, which was held in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The event involved fundraising for various organizations, writing to officials, and signing petitions. Since then, the DEI department and Action Committee has continued to facilitate conversations about social justice among our members and hold regular programming meetings about DEI-related topics. We are also committed to reducing barriers to joining Alpha Phi by eliminating legacy preference in recruitment, offering scholarships, and working with Panhellenic to make recruitment more accessible. While these initiatives are long overdue, we understand the gravity of these issues and are committed to continuing to make Greek life a more inclusive and equitable space.