Advancing Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee Report
Delivered November 2021

At the close of the summer 2021, the Association’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Advisory Committee, led by co-chairs Dr. Kimberlee Monteaux DeFreitas (The Ohio State University) and Dr. Arthur Doctor (Claflin University), delivered their final report to the AFA Board of Directors. This report included recommendations in eight (8) key areas that can serve to enhance the culture around diversity, equity, inclusion, and access within AFA and the fraternity/sorority profession. The Board of Directors is incredibly grateful to the intellectual and emotional labor done by this group of committed AFA volunteers.

Those interested in the work of the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Advisory Committee can read their final report in its entirety here.

Committee Report

AFA’s Framework for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access
Delivered November 2021

During the Fall 2021, members of our Board of Directors and Central Office Team used the raw material provided within the committee’s report to respond the following difficult questions:

  1. How do we continue the important work of diversity, equity, inclusion, & access within our Association?
  2. What must we confront about access and equity in AFA that may hinder forward progress?
  3. How do we frame future efforts in a way that recognizes the work is not ‘something to be checked off a list’?
  4. How do we tap into our member’s skills, talents, and knowledge in key areas that could benefit the collective?

As the report was reviewed, there were four (4) theme areas that emerged that best capture the discovery done by the Advisory Committee, and most effectively capture the efforts needed to elevate the Association’s DEI efforts. These four (4) theme areas, as described below, will serve as a way to organize AFA’s continued work and to confront the historical narratives around equity work in our Association.

Why a Framework?

In examing the next steps as an Association in moving forward the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion, one item was clear: that this work cannot be only framed in the form of a ‘checklist of items’ to be accomplished. Building a more inclusive and equitable association requires continued effort and intention, and a framework best represents the opportunity to continue to advance this important work even after initial action items are completed.

What Initially Will We Do?

While a framework is important in understanding the larger context of the work ahead, initial, actionable items and progess measures are needed that help us to ‘tackle the work’ in a way that is intentional and helps us to know if we are making progress. Below you can find a detailing of the initial work that the Association will undertake as a result of adopting this new framework for DEI efforts.


  • AFA will develop a standard/statement regarding AFA’s Commitment to Access, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
    • Update: AFA crafted a new, board-cultivated position statement on diversity, equity, inclusion, and access that drives our commitment to DEIA work and its importance in the context of the sorority & fraternity profession, including operational definitions for the terms ‘diversity’, ‘equity’, ‘inclusion’, and ‘accessibility’.
  • AFA will review all governing documents (bylaws, Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), position statements, and bias response protocols) for inclusive language and practices.


  • AFA will review the Association’s Awards and Recognition process to build a more inclusive recognition system that celebrates a more inclusive profession.
  • AFA will review recruitment practices for Association and Foundation Directors and senior volunteer roles to strengthen diversity.
  • AFA will work to diversify publications and presentations to ensure that they are representative both in authorship and in content.


  • AFA will review volunteer solicitation processes and committee representation to ensure stronger diverse representation in committees.
  • AFA will identify the correct mechanism to introduce defined communities within the Association that support community based upon affinity/identity.
  • AFA will identify and work to diminish financial and structural barriers that may keep diverse voices and diverse members out of our spaces, and build resources that help diminish those barriers.


  • AFA will review with the intent to enhance all volunteer on-boarding, training and volunteer expectations (including Board of Directors training and education) to increase cultural sensitivity and recognize (with the intent to decrease) bias.
  • AFA will review (with the intent to enhance) all professional development programs to ensure all are inclusive of a diverse audience and diverse professional experiences.

How Will The Association Prioritize This Work?

QUARTERLY PRIORITIES. As this approach operates from a framework that focuses on continued work (as opposed to work that has a beginning, middle, and end), our AFA Board of Directors, in cooperation with our Central Office Team, will evaluate our progress and priorities on a quarterly basis. This allows the Association to remain nimble, agile, and responsive to larger social issues that may necessitate a more urgent need for work in a specific area of our framework.

FEEDBACK OPPORTUNITIES. Additionally, AFA is committed to quarterly opportunities for our members, partners, and other important stakeholders to share their feedback and perspective on how the climate in the Association is evolving and progressing in relation to diversity, equity, and inclusion. These opportunities will have a dramatic impact on how our Association prioritizes the needed work from quarter to quarter

MEMBER PROGRESS UPDATES. AFA will also provide informal reports back to our larger audience to communicate the work that has been done, who assisted us in that work, and what priorities have been identified for the future.

How Can AFA Members and Committed Partners Be Involved?

The work of creating a more inclusive and equity-minded Association will take the work of our collective community. While opportunities to contribute will grow and evolve as our investment in the work grows and evolves, below are some of the ways in which our community can be active participants in this work.

MICRO-VOLUNTEERING. AFA will need the work of committed members, volunteers, and subject matter experts across our professional community to tackle these initiatives. Within many of the action items listed above, there will be opportunities for focused groups of volunteers to assist our Central Office Team in providing feedback, perspective, and structure to conversations. AFA will cast a wide net when those opportunities arise to ensure that teams being formed to assist in this work are representative of the diversity of the fraternity/sorority profession. Additionally, this ‘micro-volunteer’ approach helps to share the responsibility across our association with the goal of unburdening those who historically assume the emotional labor of diversity, equity, and inclusion work.

ELEVATING YOUR VOICE. The continued work of diversity, equity, and inclusion will require members raising their voices in feedback and perspective to strengthen the impact of our efforts. Opportunities for our professional community to share their perspective on our progress will be critical in building an inclusive, equitable profession and Association.