Academic Integrity Forum reveals Greek Life stereotypes

Several Greek students spoke out about feeling “targeted” as dishonest students in the classroom during a recent Academic Integrity Forum.

On Wednesday Feb. 22, WCU Greek Life’s Order of Omega honors fraternity sponsored a Greek Academic Integrity Forum that addressed Greek student concerns about academic integrity and identified some stereotyping issues between Greek students and some faculty members.

Guest speakers from The Department of Student Community Ethics were invited to hold a discussion with the students and enlighten them about the severity of cheating. The guest speakers did not expect a lesson in return, but received one after many Greek students complained of feeling stereotyped by their teachers that seemed to treat them differently because of their social organization involvement.

The Department of Student Community Ethics was aware of some of Greek Life’s concerns, and said that was part of the reason they wanted to host a panel discussion for Greeks.

“It became clear that some Greeks feel targeted by faculty and staff members and we wanted to try to hear some of those concerns as well as clear up any misconceptions out there about the Academic Integrity Policy,” said Assistant Director of Student Community Ethics, Holly Taylor who was also a guest speaker for the panel.

What Taylor and the rest of the speakers didn’t know was the severity of which Greek Life stereotyping affects Greek students in the everyday classroom.

Taylor assured Greek Life that their department handled all disciplinary cases completely unaware of Greek involvement, but Greek students were quick to respond with complaints that teachers make assumptions when Greeks wear their stitched letters to class.

Since Greek Life encourages that all organizations wear their stitched letters to represent their chapters, these assumptions that teachers make can negatively affect Greek Students.

“Many people don’t know how badly some teachers can be unfair to Greeks. You only notice it when you are Greek,” said Briana Valenti, a sorority member and an active leader in WCU Greek Life. “Some teachers are making negative assumptions and that needs to change because Greek Life as whole does many amazing things for this campus, and for the community that no one recognizes.”

Taylor and the other guest speakers seemed surprised when they heard several outcries from the audience during the forum. It became obvious from the Greek audience’s response that stereotyping is a significant issue.

“Assuming and stereotyping does not benefit anyone,” said Taylor when asked about Greek stereotyping. “Those particular faculty members have maybe in the past, seen academic dishonesty in their classrooms by Greek students and just stereotype everyone else. There is definitely miscommunication on both sides of the fence regarding stereotyping the other group, in this case Greeks vs. Faculty/Administration.”

Taylor said that she would love to work with Order of Omega again and any other Greek organizations in order to get the truth out about the Academic Integrity policy. She recommends that Greek Life should speak out about the issue, claiming communication could possibly reduce stereotyping.

Perhaps more Greek Life forums and panel discussions will be hosted in the future to help communicate to WCU that it’s unfair for a few more Greeks to be judged because they have letters on their chest.