Silicon Valley Sociological Review


Existing literature has examined the manifestation of race-based treatment in non-Jesuit higher education Greek Life Organizations (GLOs). These studies found that the history of white male-only spaces such as GLOs made for an exclusive campus environment even after minority groups gained access to higher education. This paper seeks to understand whether these same exclusive tendencies manifest in Jesuit institutions that cherish inclusivity such as Santa Clara University. Thus, it asks: How does race impact college students’ experiences in Greek Life? This study utilizes 6 interviews conducted with white and non-white racially identifying members of Santa Clara University GLOs. Additionally, it analyzes 6 hours' worth of digital observations on media affiliated with or in relation to Greek Life. The data found that an inductee's racial identity was most significant during the rushing process. If and when an inductee was accepted into a GLO, race was no longer critical to the nature of their experiences. However, the data also indicated the significance of numerous non-identity measures to one’s experience which were: the importance of self-presentation, rationalization of the individual benefits, and idealized reforms to be made within the GLO. These findings suggest that one’s experience in GLOs is dictated by more than their racial identity. More importantly, in cultivating a harmonious environment within this prevalent social culture in many higher education institutions, GLOs need to do more than diversify their membership and reconcile with their racialized past.



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