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Student Senate Resolution Would Allow Historically Black Greek-Lettered Organizations to Receive Funding

Photo by Olivia Klassen | Assistant Photography Editor

Drake’s “Divine Nine” historically Black fraternities and sororities will have the ability to request annual funding from Drake’s student senate.

The student senate passed a resolution to allow these organizations to request annual funding on March 3, according to Connor Oetzmann, vice president of student life.

The student senate “understands the importance of honoring the rich traditions of this vibrant and impactful community,” the resolution says and “must take tangible action in the form of financial support.” The annual funding would support the eight chapters of the “Divine Nine” present on Drake’s campus, some of which include students from Iowa State University.

“This [will] maximize the programming capacity of the council, which inherently increases its visibility and leads to a greater understanding about our work within the Drake community,” Coleman said in an email. “The work of these Black greek-lettered organizations has been essential on this campus, and students should know that.”

The resolution notes a distinction between the National Panhellenic Council, Inc. (NPHC), which oversees the “Divine Nine,” and the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and Panhellenic Council, which oversee the seven social fraternities and five social sororities with houses on Greek street.

“The primary reason that bodies like IFC and the Panhellenic Council are precluded from receiving annual funding is because they receive some form of dues from either their affiliate chapters or membership,” Coleman said in the email. “However, the same does not apply to NPHC, making their programming capacity more difficult when many events involve funding.”

In a statement of support for the resolution, Coleman and Oetzmann, among other student senators, said the step demonstrates support for equity and inclusion on campus.

“NPHC will now, hopefully, have access to annual funding so they can hold numerous events, work on initiates and better reach and serve our campus and community,” Oetzmann said in an email. “All senators were in favor of this resolution/bylaw amendment, and many voiced their support during the meeting.”

Vice President of Drake NPHC Layana Sariah confirmed the support statement’s premise, saying in an email that the funding will allow the organization to expand the reach of its events.

“With the funding, we can put in more money to host these events at a greater magnitude,” Sariah said in an email. “Doing so will allow the Drake Community to be aware of our historical and cultural organizations. These events include Meet the Greeks and NPHC 101, where the Drake and Des Moines Community is invited to come and learn more information about the history and culture of our organizations.”

Another use of the funding, Sariah said, will involve once again sending members of the Drake “Divine Nine” chapters to the National Black Greek Leadership Conference which draws 3,750 participants from more than 200 campuses according to the conference’s website. The conference prides itself on being the “largest, most diverse gathering of fraternal stakeholders” in the U.S.

“The conference gives our members the opportunity to network and fellowship with other Divine Nine members,” Sariah said. “In addition, this conference hosts workshops that facilitate dialogue about issues that we as Black Greek members face on a predominately white campus and brings these discussions back to the Drake Community. These conversations will help NPHC members feel more welcomed and included in not only the FSL community but in Drake as a whole.”

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