"UVa Fraternities cultivate leaders, foster lifelong friendships, and provide an opportunity for individuals to become part of something bigger than themselves—to become part of a meaningful community"

Kyle Riopelle
President of the IFC

IFC STATEMENT IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE BLACK COMMUNITY

1 June 2020

In the past few weeks, our country has watched in sadness and anger as racist violence claimed the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Sean Reed, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, and many others. Tragically, these names are only the latest of a list which dates back to the inception of our country. Like every other organization at UVA, the Inter-Fraternity Council has been thinking about what our role is in this conversation. First and most importantly, our hearts go out to the Black community at UVA and beyond—most of us cannot imagine your pain, but we stand in solidarity with you now.

Additionally, the IFC would like to share a few remarks and action items.

The IFC recognizes that our space has been one in which Black and Brown people have often faced discrimination. There is no excuse for that, and we are sorry. Today, the IFC is beginning work on a diversity, inclusivity, and equity action plan which we hope to share soon and implement by the start of this fall semester. For now, we are calling on our own members to commit ourselves to go beyond awareness and into genuine allyship. It is not enough to personally abhor racist action and rhetoric—each of us must dedicate ourselves to combating racism wherever we see it. As author Ijeoma Oluo says, “Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself.” We must not tolerate racism in our organizations, our friends, or ourselves.

The IFC has been a Predominately White Institution for the entirety of its existence. Many of our members come from highly privileged backgrounds, and we have lots to learn, both as an organization and as individuals. Accordingly, we do not wish for our voice to be one of the louder ones in this conversation, but we do believe that we should use our platform to help the people engaged in the important work of fighting racial injustice As such, we will be matching donations to the Legal Aid Justice Center up to a total of $500. The Legal Aid Justice Center is a non-profit law firm in Charlottesville which is involved in advocacy work through their Civil Rights and Racial Justice program. If you wish to have your donation matched, please email your receipt to kyleriopelle@virginia.edu. Here is the link to donate; it only takes one minute.

Finally, we encourage everyone to take some time to review some of the following resources: MILE’s excellent statement and action guide; an article on anti-racist action from UVA student organizer and activist Zyahna Bryant; and a reading list from Ibram Kendi, professor and director of the Antiracist Center. This list is not exhaustive, and critically, it is our own job—not the job of Black and Brown people—to educate ourselves and hold ourselves accountable.

In Solidarity,

The Inter-Fraternity Council

IFC STATEMENT ON CORONAVIRUS

The following letter was sent to all active members of the IFC on Sunday, March 15, 2020:

Dear Members of the IFC Community,

I am writing to express a few thoughts about the IFC and COVID-19. First and foremost, I hope each and every one of you is healthy and safe, and that your families are as well. I hope you all are finding the resources necessary to manage this difficult time—this email will list some of those resources, and I encourage you to look into them if you need assistance.

Now, onto the primary purpose of this email: The IFC strongly encourages everyone to abide by the University’s recommendation to leave Charlottesville and return to your homes if it is within your means. We are facing a crisis unlike anything that any of us has seen in our lifetimes, and we all have the responsibility to follow the advice of medical experts: that means practicing social distancing, self-isolation, and certainly not engaging in large gatherings.

Why is this so important? Many students believe that because people our age aren’t often critically threatened even if they become infected with COVID-19, there is little danger to continue life as if nothing were different—this is categorically incorrect. If you contract COVID-19, you will almost certainly be okay, and you might not even show symptoms. But just as certainly, you will pass it on to others, and for many such as the elderly or immunocompromised, the danger is life-threatening. Now is the time to think of others more than ourselves.

A few practical measures: all IFC social events are prohibited indefinitely. We will be reassessing periodically in accordance with updates from the University. We will be enforcing this policy.

I know that this sucks, and that it isn’t fair. I particularly feel for fourth years who have had their final weeks unjustly stolen from them, and for international students and members of marginalized communities who may face heightened uncertainty and stress in the days ahead. In moments like these, the right thing to do is rarely the easy one; it would be much easier, and more fun, to return to Charlottesville and celebrate with each other, but I humbly request that you do the right thing instead.

All my best,

Kyle Riopelle

President of the UVa Inter-Fraternity Council