Hispanic students hope for Greek acceptance

By Jordan Duncan

After searching for a fraternity to join, a group of students decided to begin forming a new Greek organization.

Fuerza Integridad A Todos, which translates from Spanish to “The Strong Integrity of Everyone,” or the FIAT Club, was approved as a Registered Student Organization at the Sept. 23 Undergraduate Student Government meeting. The group plans to become a fraternity by the year’s end. The club would be the third Hispanic fraternity recognized by the university.

Julio Hernandez, a junior from Wheeling studying electrical engineering and treasurer of the FIAT Club, said he had trouble finding a fraternity he liked. Cris Duran, a senior from Chicago studying recreational therapy and vice president of the club, said members had difficulty connecting with other Hispanic students because there are fewer organizations for those students on campus.

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“I don’t feel we have as many options as an African American student or a Caucasian student,” Duran said.

He said he hoped the group would help build the Hispanic community at the university.

Andy Morgan, acting associate dean of students, said FIAT Club needs to follow the guidelines to be accepted into the Multicultural Greek Council. He said the club must obtain a letter of support from its RSO advisor as well as a letter from the national organization.

The MGC is a sub-council of the Inter-Greek Council and serves as a governing body for culturally based fraternities and sororities, according to its webpage.

The national organization for FIAT Club is the Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity Inc., the oldest Hispanic Fraternity in existence, according to its website.

Morgan said after obtaining these letters, it must pay an application fee of $50 and await a vote from the council.

He also said because it can only apply to be part of MGC in the first four weeks of the semester, the club must wait until next spring. Then the members must maintain an average 2.5 GPA and pay dues every semester, or face removal from the council for a year, which would postpone its official status longer.

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Juan Andres Corral, a sophomore from Chicago in paralegal studies and president of the organization, said it plans to have higher standards for its members than what is required. These standards include a 3.0 minimum GPA for all FIAT Club members, compared to the 2.5 minimum GPA the Multicultural Greek Council set.

“We don’t want to say that we’re about something and then the reality is that, when the statistics come out, we’re on the bottom,” he said.

Duran said he supports the GPA minimum as a personal goal because he takes pride in earning higher grades. He said the club’s short-term goals are to get recognized, do community service and begin fundraising.

“We’re here for good,” he said. “We’re not here to make Greek life any worse.”

Hernandez said his inspiration for founding a fraternity was to give back to the Hispanic community as well as inspire his younger brother to work hard when he came to SIU.

“Starting a new fraternity takes a lot and requires a lot of will and strength,” he said. “I think that me showing him I could be a founder of a fraternity could definitely set an example for my brother.”

Corral said the RSO has 15 members and welcomes more. The RSO plans to meet Thursday and offer opportunities for community service hours.

Jordan Bartolini, a junior from Chicago studying international studies and criminology, and president of the Inter-Greek Council said once a Greek organization officially has a charter, it is held to a higher standard. She also said the council is excited to welcome new additions to the university.

USG senator Joshua Brandon, a sophomore from Buffalo Grove studying psychology, said the group’s eagerness to serve the community will show the positive effects of a Greek organization.

“They seem like really motivated guys and, in my opinion, they would be an asset to the Greek community,” he said. “SIU is a university that supports groups of people who want to get together and have organizations that help spread positivity throughout their community.”

Jordan A. Duncan can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @jordanduncanDE

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