Sigma Delta Tau Goes to Washington!
Members of Sigma Delta Tau are working to ensure that matters impacting the collegiate sorority experience are being addressed by our country’s lawmakers in Washington, primarily by working through the Fraternal Government Relations Coalition (FGRC). The FGRC is comprised of the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC), National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) and the Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee (FSPAC).
For the past several years, SDT has participated in the FGRC’s Annual Visit to Capitol Hill, sending outstanding chapter members to advocate on key legislative issues. Along with alumnae, these student leaders meet with members of the House and Senate to discuss how proposed legislation will affect the Greek student experience on campuses in the Members’ districts.
Some of the key issues the FGRC are currently working on:
- The Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Actwould amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow for tax-deductible contributions to be made to our Housing Corporations and Foundations for projects which provide parity to the dormitories on campus in terms of facilities, safety, and services.
- Greeks house 250,000 students nationwide in $3 billion worth of properties. Currently, an alumnus can donate tax-free to a university for the purposes of building a dormitory facility, but cannot donate tax-free to install sprinkler systems, internet wiring, or any other maintenance project to their sorority or fraternity housing. Without this act and change in tax law, many of our facilities cannot afford the safety upgrades required by state law and local ordinances.
- Our Greek facilities are considerably older than most collegiate housing, and only 50% of them have sprinkler systems. Greek housing now averages three structural fires each week. The cost of sprinklering a facility after construction is approximately $40,000–48,000. According to the nation’s leading insurer of Greek housing, $300 million is needed to install these life-saving devices in Greek housing alone.
- The bill allows more not-for-profit entities to use tax-deductible charitable contributions to build, maintain and/or improve their not-for-profit student housing.
- Maintaining Single-Sex Association for fraternities and sororities.
- The Fraternity and Sorority PAC (FSPAC) is concerned about recent efforts to restrict college students from exercising their right to freedom of association and the rights codified in Title IX to be a member of a single-sex organization on campus.
- There are three fundamental freedom of association principles that form the healthy foundation of the partnership fraternities and sororities have with higher education:
- Students should have the choice to create or join single-sex organizations on campus.No school should be permitted to prohibit membership or retaliate against any student who chooses to join such an organization.
- Colleges and universities should comply with all provisions of Title IX, including honoring the specific language allowing the continued operation of fraternities and sororities as single-sex organizations.No school should be permitted to require a single-sex organization to become co-ed or be allowed to withdraw recognition to student organizations that remain single-sex.
- The operation of campus fraternity and sorority systems cannot be restricted in instances when members of one organization have violated the rules.A university does not suspend all of its sports teams when one football player violates a team rule or NCAA rule, and it should not suspend operations or activities of a fraternity/sorority system in instances where one chapter or members of one chapter have violated a campus rule.
- The FSPAC is supported by individuals and organizations who wish to defend the collegiate fraternal experience and preserve its value for future generations of college students. The FSPAC will pursue every judicial and legislative avenue available to hold colleges and universities accountable in instances in which a school violates the constitutional rights of students who wish to join and be active in fraternities and sororities.
How Can You Help?
- Like the Facebook page to stay up-to-date on what issues the FGRC is focused on in Washington.
- Donate at www.fspac.org. We need your financial assistance to ensure that Congressional leaders that are sensitive to our issues and willing supporters remain in Congress. The PAC supports a bipartisan slate of candidates, and in 2014 they supported dozens of Greek men and women running for the US House of Representatives and Senate.
- Write to your congressperson and senator in support of the above legislation
- Join Us on Capitol Hill! Collegiate members should watch out for information sent to their chapters about how to participate in the annual trip to Washington in April
- If you have a personal connection to a member of congress or are working in the lobbying field, we’d love your help. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.