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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

OPINION: Men’s Basketball just won’t back down
Abigail Taylor, Contributing writer • February 27, 2024

The Marathon Continues

Wofford’s NPHC Working Group recently held a convocation via zoom, where students spoke with representatives from 8 of 9 NPHC organizations.
Wofford’s NPHC Working Group recently held a convocation via zoom, where students spoke with representatives from 8 of 9 NPHC organizations.

Wofford’s NPHC expansion efforts roll on

For the past five years, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL), led by Dean Matthew Hammett, has worked closely with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) to try and bring more of a National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) presence to campus. Despite frequent turnover in ODI, Hammett has continued his efforts since 2015, but to no avail thus far.

On Oct. 8, Hammett, along with Dean Taifha Alexander and the rest of Wofford’s NPHC Working Group held an NPHC Convocation, an event hosted on zoom where students heard from representatives of 8 of the 9 historically black fraternities and sororities within the NPHC.

Nicknamed the “Divine Nine,” NPHC fraternities and sororities, most of which were founded in the early 20th-century, are nationally recognized and lauded for their lifetime commitments among members as well as their presences in communities on the local, regional, state, national and international levels.

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The NPHC Working Group, as Hammett said, is “truly a campus-wide initiative to build, grow, and support our NPHC Community.” It consists of students, faculty and staff from athletics, admissions, modern languages, and a host of other departments across campus.

A similar event was held in person during the 2018-2019 school year and featured members of Wofford’s faculty including James Stukes of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Lee Smith of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and Tasha Smith-Tyus, Ph.D. of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. This year’s convocation included different panel- ists, but the result, according to Hammett, was the same: a success.

“The panelists captured well the mission, values, and purpose of their respective organizations,” Hammett said. “I imagine the interest for NPHC organizations at Wofford has only grown following the NPHC Convocation. President Samhat and Dean Bigger both shared their appreciation for the event. Special thanks to Dean Taifha and our NPHC Working Group for all they did to help make the event a success.”

The event featured a question and answer session in which students, who made up the majority of the nearly 100 participants, had the opportunity to ask questions to the panelists about a range of topics including membership criteria and collaborative efforts between NPHC and Interfraternity Council (IFC) organizations.

Hammett added that he plans to follow up with panelists to answer questions that were not answered during the session.

Hammett’s passion and commitment to working to expand Greek Life at Wofford comes from his own belief that a greater NPHC presence “enriches the fraternity and sorority community—it makes Wofford a better over-all community, and not by a little—but a lot.”

For years, students have been eager to see more representation on campus, and Hammett said that “we need this representation in our Greek-letter organizations; otherwise we are not fulfilling our mission the way in which we should.”

Hammett hopes that all students, even those who are already in Greek organizations, can recognize the importance and cultural significance of NPHC organizations and can support the mission of the Working Group.

Hammett and the rest of the NPHC Working Group are currently in conversation with a number of national organizations and are “pursuing the charter process, submitting letters of support, and setting up meetings to talk through processes to give our- selves the best opportunity for increased membership in our NPHC community.”

“We have many goals to complete,” Hammett said, “and our work is truly collaborative. Our Working Group is passionate about achieving our desired outcomes. This process is far from a ‘check the box’ operation. We want tangible outcomes that involve a greater NPHC presence both in our Wofford and fraternity/ sorority community

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