According to ASUSF Senate’s mission statement, their responsibility as an associated student body is to represent and support students. With 13 elected representatives in the legislative body, Senate has never opened a position for a Greek representative to account for the small population of students in social fraternities and sororities on campus.
For some, there is a valid reason. “What would a Greek representative do?” said Ramsey Hanna, president of Greek Council and Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity. “[We] need to think of things that they can do.”
Although Greek Council is an ASUSF-sponsored organization governed by members of USF’s fraternities and sororities, Hanna said he doesn’t know what purpose a Greek representative on Senate would serve to the Greek community since there is already a Greek Council set in place to cater to their needs.
Darren Pierre, adviser of Greek Council, said that the idea of introducing a Greek representative was brought up to Senate in 2007 by then-Vice President of Public Relations Chris Culkin. Culkin was also President of Greek Council at the time, and felt “there was a need for there to be a voice among students who were members of social fraternities and sororities,” according to Pierre, who said that Senate responded with mixed opinions.
Hanna served as the Off-Campus Representative when the issue arose. “The argument was that we only [made up] about 1 percent of the USF population, and other senators [represented groups that made up] at least 10 or 15 percent of the population.”
During the next Senate election, the ballot included a yes or no vote to have a Greek Representative, which did not receive enough votes in favor to make the position official. In terms of still not having a Greek Representative, “I’m indifferent. But if we had one, it would be good for recognition,” Hanna said.
Aalisha Abdallah-Richardson, Vice- President of Greek Council, said she is unsure of whether a representative would be “super necessary,” because it is still unknown whether a Greek Representative can do something that Greek Council can’t do.
Regardless, Abdallah-Richardson said having a position in Senate “could market to campus about Greek life.”
“Our school isn’t that big and considering our size, we have control and impact on student life. A representative would be beneficial and would get the majority of our voice out there,” she said.
USF Greeks currently account for only 2.4 percent of the student population, which still does not come close to the percentage of students that current Senate representatives cover.
Kimberly Kane, VP of Programs of Delta Zeta Sorority, said a percentage should not determine whether a group should have a representative on Senate. Including a Greek rep “would be a big step in bridging a gap between the Greek community and the rest of USF,” she said. “I know that Senate this year is trying to be inclusive, and I think the best way to do that is to make sure that all communities on campus are represented.”
Adriana Ponce-Jimenez, President of Lambda Theta Nu Sorority Inc., shared the same perspective concerning percentage as an insignificant factor. “If anything, having a representative and involving Greeks in senate discussions might increase that percentage, just because right now USF has a developing Greek life,” she said. “I know it’s something [we] want to grow and promote, and a lot of [non-Greek] students might be interested if they were more aware of it.”
Pierre said, “If the 97.6 percent knew what Greek life had to offer, they would maybe want to be a part of it.” As Greek Council’s advisor, he said he foresees Greek Council as a potential for growth. Despite the low population, it “doesn’t mean we’re a bad 2.4 percent, but we can be an excellent 2.4 percent,” he said.
As for going without a Greek representative, Pierre said, “whether you have a representative on Senate or not, all students have the opportunity to go to Senate meetings. If they want their voices heard by Senate, they have the right as a student to take part in conversation.”
For now, Pierre said, “Time will tell, and the continued growth within this Greek community will give a better perspective of whether there’s a need for a Greek representative on Senate.”