Masculinity talks continue

An extension of an event from last school year addressed toxic masculinity issues in greek life.

Panelists (left to right) Keith Garcia, Lamar Hylton and Gavin Grivna speak on diversity and toxic masculinity at Fraser Hall on Thursday evening.

Melissa Scharf

Panelists (left to right) Keith Garcia, Lamar Hylton and Gavin Grivna speak on diversity and toxic masculinity at Fraser Hall on Thursday evening.

Keaton Schmitt

A greek chapter at the University of Minnesota is looking to upend the stereotype of the hyper-macho fraternity member.
 
Phi Beta Sigma fraternity hosted a panel discussion on Thursday about toxic masculinity in greek culture and how it could contribute to sexual assault and hazing, following up on conversations from last year. 
 
Toxic masculinity, a distorted and extreme view of what it means to be a man, often comes from the way men are socialized, said Lamar Hylton, a member of the panel and the school’s assistant vice provost for student life.
 
“I think sometimes we expect assimilation for these people. We expect them to become the stereotypical member of their chapter, and we should challenge that,” said Gavin Grivna, an assistant director for the Aurora Center and a member of the panel.
 
The panel, which was sponsored by a number of greek councils, featured three faculty members who answered prepared and student questions on the nature of inclusivity and toxic masculinity in greek life.
 
The panel members tied a rigid idea of what it means to be a man to hazing and discrimination in the greek community.
 
“Fraternities are by nature hyper-masculine spaces, because fraternities are all men,” said Keith Garcia, a member of the panel and a fraternity and sorority life adviser. “This can lead to bottled up toxic masculinity.” 
 
Panel members said toxic masculinity can lead to an extremely narrow view of masculinity and what it means to be a member of a greek organization.
 
Garcia said there’s a difference being inclusive and being diverse. 
 
Diverse organizations are made up of different groups of people, but inclusive ones allow space for different thinking.
 
“I hate to say this because I love my greek students,” Hylton said, “but sometimes we don’t do the best [at] challenging stereotypes and lenses [in the greek community], and sometimes we affirm them.”
 
Leaders are taking steps to move the greek community toward inclusivity and open up more varied ideas of what it means to be a man.
 
When joining an Interfraternity Council fraternity or Panhellenic Council sorority, new members are required to take bystander intervention workshops through the Aurora 
Center.
 
“Our community is very proactive in their approach to addressing issues,” Garcia said.
 
The push to educate the greek community on toxic masculinity is largely self-driven, said George Darvehn, the recruitment chair for Phi Beta Sigma and the event’s original initiator. 
 
“I thought to myself, ‘why aren’t we having these conversations?’ ” Darvehn said.