Greek for Discrimination: An Adviser for Gay Fraternity Delta Lambda Phi-Recently Rejected for Membership at Kent State-Talks about Homophobia on Campus. (Behind the Headlines)

Article excerpt

It's no secret that the brotherly spirit of college fraternities rarely extends to gay members. On April 22, Kent State University's Inter-Fraternity Council, which oversees and sets policy for all fraternal organizations on the campus, voted to deny Delta Lambda Phi, a gay fraternity with 24 chapters nationwide, a seat on the council. The fraternity fell far short of the two-thirds majority needed for admission, with only four of the 15 members voting in favor. University officials surprised many on campus by directing the council to reconsider its vote, but a week later the group failed to gain additional votes. For a fraternity to be recognized at Kent State, ultimately it must have the council's endorsement. Now with its survival at stake, the fraternity plans to continue its efforts. Gay activist Eric Van Sant, who is the chapter's founder and current adviser, spoke with The Advocate about the setback and prospects for the fraternity's future.

What is Kent State's Delta Lambda Phi?

We're a fraternity of 18 gay students and alumni of Kent State University. Together we're a diverse group of young men with a common purpose: making Kent State a welcoming place for gays, bisexuals, and progressive men.

We came together as a fraternity about 18 months ago and have spent much of that time cultivating relationships with other fraternities in hopes of gaining full fraternal acceptance at the university.

Why is admission to the Inter-Fraternity Council important?

Well, first, Kent State requires that all fraternities join the council to be a recognized organization. Without the IFC endorsement, the university could pull its recognition of our charter. But most important, we hoped to gain the respect and the recognition of our brothers. We really want to put a human face to gays and make it comfortable for closeted gays in other fraternities to feel better about coming out. It is also an opportunity to help shape how gays are perceived and treated on campus. …