Date Approved

2017

Date Posted

2017

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

Ronald Flowers, Chair

Committee Member

James Barott

Committee Member

Elizabeth Broughton

Committee Member

Robert Orange

Abstract

Social Greek-letter organizations have been exclusive since their inception in 1776. As an educator working with Greek-letter organizations at Eastern Michigan University, I was faced with a lack of information and needed strategies for assisting Greek-letter organizations on campus that expressed interest in being inclusive of students who identified as transgender. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the role and function of social Greek-letter organizations, specifically the nature of inclusivity and exclusivity of these organizations on college campuses. Given the unique nature of Eastern Michigan University as one of the most diverse college campuses in America, in this study, I focused on the development of social Greek-letter organizations on the EMU campus. In addition, I sought to place EMU in the context of Greek-letter organizations on American campuses. To accomplish this goal, I developed a contextual understanding of Greek-letter organizations in the United States. I had six research questions I sought to answer as a result of my research:

1. How did Greek-letter organizations begin?

2. What has been the place of Greek-letter organizations in higher education?

3. How have Greek-letter organizations evolved over time?

4. How did Greek-letter organizations emerge at Eastern Michigan University?

5. How have Greek-letter organizations at Eastern Michigan University evolved over time?

6. How are Greek-letter organizations organized?

I conducted a qualitative case study. The Eastern Michigan University Greek community was my unit of analysis. I used archival research and unobtrusive data. Data was organized chronologically as well as by themes. As a result of this research study, I believe Greek organizations are inherently exclusive. They were born out of the context of higher education in American, which was also created as an elite institution for White, Protestant men. As Greek organizations currently exist in America, I do not believe they are truly capable of being inclusive in nature.

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