In the wake of continued protests against police brutality and challenges to systemic racism, San Diego State’s Interfraternity Council added a new position to their executive board. RJ Hullum, a member of Sigma Chi fraternity, was named as the IFC’s Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion on July 8.
Hullum, a junior communications major, applied for the position because he saw it as an opportunity to bring change.
“It means a lot,” Hullum said. “It’s an opportunity to create something new, create something that’s going to last at SDSU and it’s a really neat impact on campus especially with COVID going on and the whole return to online classes.”
Abed said with the incorporation of the new position his goal is to have Hullum look at what IFC does through a lens of diversity and inclusion, and criticise IFC to make them better.
“I’m hoping we can break down barriers that I think are limiting people from joining Greek Life,” Abed said. “I think that we have a lot of issues that we need to tackle. It isn’t particularly easy to join the Greek System all that time and I think that by creating this position hopefully (we) will be able to open up some means of communication from groups that we traditionally don’t work with as well as opening up opportunities for everyone.”
Hullum said his position will impact several aspects of Greek Life, though his primary focus will be on celebrating diversity as a strength.
“Well as a whole there’s multiple areas where (this position) can make an impact,” Hullum said. ”I wish there was just one answer to put here to quantify the kind of impact it’s going to have but as far as diversity in Greek Life goes it’s our strength, it strengthens our chapters and that’s really what I want to put a focus on is celebrating that diversity as a strength.”
Hullum said with this new position he wants to raise awareness about discrimination within the Greek community.
“(The position) is going to be raising awareness on issues such as racial, sexual, and gender discrimination,” Hullum said. “There’s no definite gauge to what discrimination is but you know just being able to start there to take the first step to helping communities is a big step.”
Lee Abed, president of IFC said Hullum has qualities that will make him a good leader.
“RJ is extremely passionate and a very thoughtful leader. He is very dedicated and driven and he isn’t afraid to speak his mind, which I think is most important, especially when he sees injustice,” Abed said.
Associate Chief Diversity Officer for Student Engagement, Jessica Nare, said she hopes equity and inclusion will continue to be “modeled and upheld” in the community.
“I think that naming and communicating diversity and inclusion as a priority, a goal, a value is a really important step in creating space for people to have conversations about those issues,” Nare said.
Hullum also said he wants to help the communities that have been targets of hate crimes in the past.
“History shows that the Black Resource Center and other resource centers such as the Pride Center, Women’s Resource Center and Latinx Center are all targets of hate crimes,” Hullum said. “And I believe we are going to be taking the proper steps to action and this begins with changing our own accreditation and education programs to be more inclusive and more welcoming.”
Hullum said he plans to meet with IFC treasurers to discuss the possibility of making IFC more affordable, and to meet with recruitment officers to talk about anti-bias training. He said he thinks that these are common barriers for people joining.