Greek Ally Week will not take place at Duke this year.

David Pittman, interim director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, confirmed that the event would not be hosted this year—in part due to the transition the office is undergoing with him as the interim director.

Started in 2014, Greek Ally Week aims to raise awareness about LGBTQ+ issues and support LGBTQ+ members in Greek life. At the third iteration of the event last year, panel discussions included members of several Greek organizations—including the Panhellenic Association, the Interfraternity Council and the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

"Right now we are focusing on finishing out this year and also planning for a new year," Pittman wrote in an email.

OSFL will be thinking about Greek Ally Week as it prepares for next year, he noted.

Sophomore Max Bernell, one of two incoming presidents for LGBTQ+ student group Blue Devils United, forwarded The Chronicle a statement from their events and programming subcommittee.

In the statement, BDU apologized for not being able to set up the event this year, citing resource constraints as well as a lack of coordination between various groups.

"The events and programming subcommittee of Blue Devils United has regrettably been unable to allocate time and resources to collaborate in the organization of this year’s Greek Ally Week," the statement read. "With the rotation of our executive board and various illnesses, some major events were unable to come to fruition in both Fall and Spring semesters. As Greek Ally Week is a collaboration with affinity, identity and Greek groups, we apologize on our behalf for the neglect of interaction between all of the governing bodies."

Abby Larus and Tyler Nelson, both Trinity '16 and co-directors of Greek Ally Week 2016, noted that they are incredibly disappointed that the event will not happen this year.

"The event has traditionally been a collaboration between BDU and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life," they wrote in a statement to The Chronicle. "We, as alumni, are not sure what the barriers are this year. However, in the past, Greek Ally Week has required collective effort from both student groups, who are often unwilling to work together."

They explained that Greek Ally Week is meant to challenge the gender binary and heteronormative assumptions prevalent in fraternities and sororities.

"If the event does not take place, we’re incredibly sad on behalf of LGBTQ+ or questioning members of Greek life who will be missing this celebration of their identities," they wrote.

Bernell told The Chronicle that BDU is hard at work making sure the event happens next year so that this year's absence is just an anomaly. The statement added that BDU is applying "constant pressure" to the events and programming subcommittee to make sure that is the case.

Pittman similarly encouraged people to focus on the future direction of IFC, instead of one event not being hosted.

We have a new president of IFC, and I think there's more news in what [junior James Bradford, IFC’s president-elect] has in the planning versus one event we weren't able to make happen this year,” Pittman wrote.

Bradford did tell The Chronicle that IFC will “absolutely participate” in Greek Ally Week next year, and that his executive team is looking into improving fraternities' participation. For example, he said that he wanted to see more chapter-level engagement with the event.

“I can speak as a chapter president and a member of IFC last year, I was not always engaged with the IFC’s agenda and the things that the IFC as a body was putting on and promoting,” he said. “I was not pushed to do that, but I would like to push chapters and fraternity men as a whole to participate and engage more fully in Greek Ally Week.”

Among his main goals for next year include sexual assault prevention, promoting diversity and hosting events to connect IFC with the broader community. With regards to sexual assault prevention, he said his goal was to ensure that all incoming fraternity members undergo “Prevent. Act. Challenge. Teach.” training from the Women’s Center.

Bradford has also been working on a related project for the IFC sexual assault prevention team. He said he has been holding focus groups with newly inducted, PACT-trained members to “continue the conversation,” because he noted that one training session alone is insufficient to address sexual assault.

He was also cognizant of the lack of diversity in IFC, noting that the organization was not representative of the student body.

“We’re conscious of the fact that generally speaking, if you look at the diversity of Duke’s campus as a whole, the IFC is not representative of that diversity—racially, ethnically, socioeconomically," Bradford said.

To tackle this problem of a lack of diversity, Bradford said he wants to host events in the Fall for students to better interact and learn about Greek life. He suggested a forum-type event held in East Campus dorms allowing students to ask current Greek members “what it means to be Greek.”

He noted that although the majority of fraternity members might be white, not everyone is and everyone should be able to share their experiences.

Claire Ballentine contributed reporting.