4 Questions For The North American Inter-Fraternity Conference (NIC)

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No one would suggest that I am the first or most relevant person to voice concerns with the NIC, its policies, or its practices, but perhaps I am one of the few to consistently, publicly question the organization and to push for principle-based alternatives. Naturally, my suggestions (from opening the NIC to women’s organizations [1], to suggesting that better action could be taken to prevent hazing [2]) occasionally cause friction with those who disagree.

After this year’s NIC meeting, when the members passed a resolution banning hard-alcohol in chapter facilities [3], I sent four questions to an NIC representative after we discussed my feeling comfortable with sharing any thoughts or questions before writing about them on the blog.

It has been a month with no response, and so now seems like the right time to encourage any and all of you with similar curiosities (even for reasons with which I have little interest in) to respectfully reach out via Facebook, Twitter, Email, whatever, and politely ask any or all of the questions below:

  1. Has there been any discussion or plans to share proposals being discussed/voted on at member meetings on the nicindy.org website or through member organizations?
  2. Do you know of any fraternities which inform their members or voting delegates of NIC proposals prior to the meeting? (I’d be interested to learn more about how they do that)
  3. Is there any discussion or plans around a student advocacy board or any sort of direct, democratic engagement of IFC officers in any NIC efforts? I don’t see it in any NIC 2.0 notes, but I know there is a lot going on behind the scenes so I may have just missed something. 
  4. Does the NIC publish or intend to publish the member dues structure? It is referenced a few times in the Constitution/Bylaws, but I haven’t been able to find a breakdown of how the dues are assessed (the only dollar amount mentioned is the $500 application fee). I understand if you cannot share that information with me. 

Would receiving answers have changed my expectations of the NIC? It’s unlikely. Would an answer (even, as written, “[We] cannot share that information with [you]”) have been better than leaving me and others to speculate? Yes.

Would any answer have led to continued conversation? Hopefully.

Would that conversation have allowed for us to organize a sensible private or public discussion on the matter? I’m not sure – but the impression I get is that if you want an answer from our umbrella association your best bet is to be an uninformed news media personality disparaging the association on live television.

The NIC account tweeted this today:

I recently posted some tips on advising [4], and the final point made was “Do What You Say You Will Do” or “DWYSYWD” (pronounced doo-we-see-wid). The NIC is our compass and our captain. Unfortunately, the crew (the students) may never come to learn how to operate the ship, let alone where it is going until it has already gotten there. It is impossible to speak on behalf of people to which you refuse to listen.

I don’t need or deserve an answer to the questions – I was simply trying to make good on a commitment I made with NIC staff to give them a chance to speak for themselves before I post a critique, but I now wonder if that invitation was genuine. I may not deserve an answer, but students certainly do.

So, if you are a student, recognize that you are the captain of your fraternity experience. And if those 4 questions piqued your curiosity – I urge you to ask them of the NIC or your national office.

2 Responses

  1. Tess Ailshire

    “Piqued” one’s curiosity, not “peaked”.

    Good questions

Questions or Thoughts?