Campus / Greek Life / News / May 14, 2009

Gentlemen of Quality embraces unique view on multiculturalism

Gentlemen of Quality has existed as a campus organization since fall term of the 2007-2008 school year and are now well on their way to becoming the latest nationally affiliated campus fraternity.

“We sat down as a group, when the 13 gentlemen first started off,” GQ president sophomore D’Angelo Smith said. “We sat down as a group and said, ‘What we do want?’ We could be a club, but we looked around at the different fraternities on campus, and we did not see the vision that we wanted. And we were a group of men, so we said, ‘With this, do we want to be a fraternity?’ and everyone said ‘yes.’”

Starting with 13 signing members of their Alpha document, GQ has poised itself to be focused on three main goals.

“It’s in the mission statement, the Alpha Document, it’s multiculturalism, academics, community service,” Treasurer and Community Service Chair junior Percy Bromby said. “Those are the three things that we stress. I think [Community Service] is alongside of multiculturalism. I think it embodies multiculturalism because we’re getting out there as individuals. We come across a lot of different kids who are minorities of different cultures, and we have a chance to interact with them.”

Multiculturalism, as defined by GQ, does not focus as much on different skin colors as it does the different communities and regions that its members come from.

“We have Percy and myself. We’re both from Chicago. We’re both African-American men. But my family is from Ghana, so I have a different experience than he has,” said Smith.

The definition of multicultural is even extended to those of differing sexual orientations. Smith is part of the LGBTQ community and brings these experiences into GQ so the colony can aid the community.

In seeking to join a national organization, GQ is picking those that have the same principles as they do.

“Of the five we’re looking at, I believe [three] were founded […] purely as multicultural fraternities,” GQ Vice President junior Maurice McDavid said. “Two of them that we are looking at were historically ‘black’ fraternities that have now made the transition, in bylaws and constitution, to become multicultural fraternities.”

Given the history of some of the organizations GQ seeks to join and some of the practices the group has adopted, members have had to answer accusations of wanting to become a ‘black’ fraternity.

“Our bylaws, our Alpha document, our constitution,” McDavid said, “all make mention of multiculturalism and makes no mention of ‘black’ or ‘African American.”

The stressing of multiculturalism outside of as well as within the group is the main focus of their plans for the future.

“That will come with our programming and our philanthropy projects and things like that,” Smith said. “If we stand on this, it means that everything we do has to coincide with our mission. Some things may not, but with the mission that we have, almost everything can.”

Some have also questioned if a fraternity is the right way to accomplish GQ’s multi-faceted goals.

“I feel that within the LGBTQ community,” Smith said, “there’s this stigma of ‘Oh, a fraternity and sorority […] no no, wait a minute, they’re not for my rights […] I feel they’re against me.’ But, in a sense, they’re not against you if you find the right group of brothers and sisters that will allow that not to coincide with what they believe. And I believe that GQ don’t coincide with that, they don’t allow that to happen.”

Whatever organization they chose to join, the leadership of GQ hopes to provide a strong foundation for whatever the future brings.

“I don’t see that we can predict how we can structure our recruitment as being, in a sense,” Smith said, “multicultural in a way that other people look at it, but multicultural in the way that GQ looks at it, as being different cultures all together.”

Andrew Polk

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