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The Voice of the Black Community

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JCSU first HBCU to admit Latino frat
Lambda Theta Phi earns charter
 
Published Wednesday, April 30, 2014 10:27 am
by Herbert L. White

Johnson C. Smith University has its first Latino fraternity.

COURTESY JOHNSON C. SMITH UNIVERSITY
Founding members of Lambda Theta Phi fraternity at Johnson C. Smith University (from left) Omar Cossio, Yerisson Cardenas,  Francisco Cerrillo, Sergio Montesdeoca, Luis Bryan Dominguez and Juan Carlos Hernandez Campillo. JCSU is the first historically black college to admit a Latino Greek-letter organization.

Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity launched a chapter at JCSU, making it the first historically black college to host a Latino Greek-letter organization. Lambda Theta Phi, founded in 1975 at Kean University in Union, N.J., has chapters on 127 campuses nationwide and four in North Carolina.

The six founding members at JCSU are: Omar Cossio, Yerrison Cardenas, Francisco Cerrillo, Sergio Montesdeoca, Luis Bryan Dominguez and Juan Carlos Hernandez Campillo.

The fraternity is another chapter in JCSU’s growing diversity initiative. The university has aggressively recruited Latinos in recent years under President Ronald Carter and students started the process of adding a fraternity three years ago.

JCSU’s enrollment of 1,331 students is 6 percent Latino.

“Because of the blooming Latino community, we felt we needed an organization that could connect us under a common bond of culture and pride in our Latino heritage,” said Cerrillo, an information systems engineering major. “Although we are a new and relatively small Greek organization on this campus, we are dedicated to making positive change on the campus of JCSU and passionate about helping the surrounding Charlotte community. We hope to continue paving the way for future members to break down negative stereotypes about Latinos and minorities as a whole.”

Membership in Lambda Theta Phi, the first Latino fraternity to be recognized by the North-American Inter-Fraternity Conference, is open to all college men.

 “This is by no means an exclusionary organization,” Cerillo said. “Anyone is welcome to join if they meet the GPA and program requirements for the interest group and maintain strength and resolve during the subsequent induction process. Within the North Carolina Sector of Lambda Theta Phi, we have members of Jamaican, Pakistani, French and mixed-race origin, just to name a few.”

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