The University of Iowa has been working hard to establish a progressive attitude on its campus towards gays and it seems only logical that one step in the process would be to create a gay fraternity. So, that’s exactly what the school is considering doing.
“Current Greeks have talked about it and supportive,” said Kelly Jo Karnes, associate director of the university’s Center for Student Involvement & Leadership. “We have been feeling out other students who might be interested, and they have been really excited about the idea.”
Although the fraternity will not have a house on campus, it will serve as a way for gays on campus to get to know each other and form friendships in a niche community.
The University of Iowa has a long history of supporting its gay students. In 1970, the school established itself as one of the first schools to officially recognize gay student groups. Later this month, the school’s president, Sally Mason, will speak at a celebration of the fifth anniversary of the school’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center. However, the school has not had a gay Greek organization before, which puts it behind its sister school, Iowa State University. ISU established its first gay fraternity, Delta Lambda Phi, five years ago.
Now, the University of Iowa is considering starting a chapter of the same fraternity. According to its website, Delta Lambda Phi “has offered gay, bisexual, and progressive men across the nation the opportunity to grow in the true spirit of brotherhood – one that embraces diversity and respects the value of all.”
Chris Celania is a junior at ISU and is also the president of the school’s chapter of Delta Lambda Phi.
“I’d always been kind of interested in fraternities but was concerned that, as a gay individual, others wouldn’t be accepting,” Celania said. “Delta Lambda Phi is a safe environment.”
By adding a gay fraternity to the list of fraternities offered at the University of Iowa, the school would be increasing the number of diverse Greek organizations it offers for students.
There are currently Greek organizations offered for various racial groups, in addition to the traditional Greek organizations. For many students, these Greek organizations are sources of great personal fulfillment where they make lasting friendships and learn valuable lessons. In my opinion, establishing a fraternity that will allow gay students to have this type of experience is a great idea.