The University of Montana Panhellenic and Interfraternity councils will receive no funding from the Associated Students of the University of Montana during the next fiscal academic year, since the student senate deemed both student groups too exclusive.
The decision came after the senate decided it would factor in inclusivity during the formal budgeting process to distribute over $100,000 among more than 150 student groups. ASUM announced its final student group budget Feb. 24.
The Panhellenic Council is the supervising body for all sororities, and the Interfraternity Council is the supervising body for all fraternities on campus. Last year, the councils received approximately $2,400 and $3,300, respectively. But this year, the senate considered how many students each group was reaching and whether the membership policies were inclusive. According to ASUM Business Manager Daniel Parsons, the two Greek student groups did not exhibit these qualities.
“During the final budgeting discussions, senators noted the exclusive nature of Greek Life, citing concerns over its significant costs to entry and its policies excluding graduate and nontraditional students,” Parsons said.
According to the National Panhellenic Conference Manual of Information, only traditional students are allowed to be members of Greek Life. In addition, the cost of a University of Montana fraternity or sorority membership ranges from $500 to $5,000 per year.
Morgan Corkish, an ASUM senator, voted not to offer the Panhellenic Council and the Interfraternity Council funding. She said since student groups are funded by the ASUM student fee, funding should go to groups that welcome as many students as possible.
“It was in no way trying to harm them… We just want everyone to access every student group, no matter what,” Corkish said.
The senate also deemed the Interfraternity and Panhellenic councils to be gender exclusive, according to Corkish. The Interfraternity Council only permits individuals who identify as men to join its fraternities; likewise, the Panhellenic council only permits individuals who identify as women to join its sororities. Membership for non-binary students depends on the fraternity or sorority, since Greek Life does not currently have one uniform policy. For these reasons, ASUM chose to give funding to other groups, Corkish said.
“I can’t just join [the Interfraternity Council]. It’s a student group I see my student dollars go to that I don’t have access to. And fundamentally, that is not fair in my eyes,” Corkish said.
The Panhellenic and Interfraternity councils as well as the Director of Sorority and Fraternity Involvement declined to comment.