Boys will be (Frat) Boys or is it Time to End Greek Life on our Campuses?

128

March 23, 2015 by gregrabidoux2013

 

ok frat stop sign

Racism destroys us all.

“You can hang him from a tree, but he will never sign with me. There will never be a N****r in SAE (Sigma Alpha Epsilon).”

As if anyone of color or anyone with half a brain would want to be part of this SAE chapter but I don’t want to miss the real point here.

This “song” was sung by the University of Oklahoma SAE fraternity brothers Parker Rice and Levi Petit as they and their sorority sister dates were on a bus headed to a fraternity party. Unknown to these racist songbirds was the fact that one of those among them, called a “traitor” by the brothers, digitally recorded them. And the rest is a sordid, sorry and all too familiar story of racism, intolerance and alcohol-fueled offenses deep in the heart of Greek Life on campuses across America.

ok frat hazing

Clean, ritualistic fun?

 

Or, as Rush Limbaugh and William Kristol assert, this was nothing more than just innocent wordplay that if Kanye West did the same in one of his rap songs it would be a mega-hit. At its core, Mr. Kristol argues, it is rap music and its liberal (sorry, Bill) use of the “N” word and pervasive imagery of violence against women that is the real culprit here.

I’ll get to Messrs. Limbaugh and Kristol in a moment, though they may not be totally in left (again, sorry) field.

But first, let’s be honest. The real issue is not just about some racist idiots in a fraternity that has since been closed down in Oklahoma.

Nor, is it just the disgraceful story of Kappa Delta Rho, a Penn State fraternity that for over 8 months kept a private Facebook group for hundreds of subscribers. All of whom, apparently, enjoyed seeing an endless stream of naked and partially naked young women in vulnerable and embarrassing positions. These included many pictures of women drunk or unconscious while fraternity “boys” simulated rape, anal sex and other sexual acts with these women. Several pictures apparently weren’t simulated and some were of drug deals between brothers and violent hazing, at least some of which included photos of sodomy.

ok frat campus

Where things are not so OK.

 

Boy, that Kanye West is one bad dude.

Their fraternity chapter also was closed down in the wake of an outraged campus and public once the formerly private FB group became news. Of course, why it took nearly 8 months for fraternity folks to realize this was at its very core incredibly offensive, rude, and very probably illegal is beyond me.

The Fraternity leaders and alum who also partook of this hilarious FB page are now sorry. For what they all did or that they got caught. I’ll let you be the judge.

Neither is it solely about allegations of violent hazing and forced sodomy at the University of Houston fraternities nor about those fun-loving fraternity boys of Sigma Alpha Mu at the University of Michigan who went on a drunken rampage and caused over $300,000 dollars worth of damage at a ski lodge, including urinating on lobby furniture.

Boys will be (frat) boys, right?

Wrong.

Maybe it’s time to step away from the beer keg and face the facts-Greek Life, by its very nature is exclusive, judgmental, intolerant, divisive and maybe, just maybe, an outdated indulgence that higher education simply cannot afford to support any longer.

nj hazing guy paddle

Step right up and become a “man.”

 

Now, before anyone overage 25 waxes too nostalgic about all those memories of drunken bonding with their brothers and how they became a “man” after a good paddling by their older “brother,” let’s sip on a few sobering statistics about campus life today, circa 2015;

  • Nearly 60% of all female students on campus will experience sexual assault
  • 30% of female students will become victims of rape or attempted rape with 15% being multiple victims
  • 9 in every 10 rapes the victim will know the offender
  • Nearly 40% of all rapes will occur during a “date”
  • Nearly 70% of all sexual assaults and date-rapes will occur off-campus and most frequently at a fraternity house or setting
  • 90% of all sexual assaults will occur while the female victim is incapacitated by alcohol and/or has been drugged

In short, there seems to be no shortage of up close and highly personal pictures of female victims for more “men” of honor and value like the “boys” of Kappa Delta Rho to snap and upload.

What fun. All that plus secret handshakes, how could anyone with any sanity want to ever close them down?

Why indeed.

ok frat girls

Hey, don’t forget us, we can be just as self-destructive as those frat boys.

 

Look, I’ve heard the arguments for Greek Life. In fact, at times over the past few years I’ve even made them myself. I was an initial faculty sponsor to a fraternity chapter that was trying to be re-activated on campus. Several of the students were in classes of mine and I knew them to be generally “good” guys who wanted to restore a legacy they felt was worth restoring.

Over the course of the next two years I witnessed fairly up close many of those “stereotypes” non-Greeks hurl at campus Greeks everywhere. The good, the bad and the very ugly.

They and their fellow Greeks did and continue to provide much of the campus “life” on campus. They did and do engage in charitable service that many non-Greeks either simply don’t have time for or don’t make a priority. They continue many of the traditions that have simply faded away or been relegated to old yearbooks by non-Greek students. The secret initiations, pledge “hell” week, Magnolia Balls, the “Old South” debutante dances, the serenades to sister sororities.

But here’s the bigger issue. They also continue traditions and legacies that need to end. Now.

Back in December of 2014 (https://gregtheblogger.com/?s=fraternity+hazing) I wrote about the utter tragedy of Pi Delta Psi pledge Mike Deng, age 19, who died after being bludgeoned and beaten while blindfolded and in a sack by his loving fraternity “brothers” as part of a traditional, hazing process. Earlier this year I wrote about the hazing of young high school football players that was “inspired” by older fraternity brothers. And truth be be told, this hazing was forced sodomy and rape. Welcome to the team boys, now you are scarred for life. No need to thank us.

ok frat mike deng

Mike Deng a pledge who wanted to “fit in” and lost his life for it. He won’t be the last.

 

So, the question becomes, not whether Kanye West or rap music in general is to blame but can fraternities continue to exist without the traditions and rituals which in large part make a fraternity a fraternity? And without which I would argue would make them far less attractive and compelling for both male and female pledges of a certain mind-set and value-system to join.

I mean, have we ever heard of ritualistic sodomy and humiliation be a prerequisite to join and be inducted into a fraternity or sorority based solely on academic prowess?

bullying pic girls

Hazing is another word for bullying.

 

So, where do we go from here?

Well, I don’t pretend to “get” all rap music. Okay, not even a little of it. And I will give Messrs. Limbaugh and Kristol this much-When you constantly rap about violence towards women and toss the “N” word around with seeming indifference all for big, fat profit, it’s tough to get too indignant when others do the same.

ok frat kanye west

Is it okay for him but not others?

 

On the other hand, the OK boys were pretty clear where they stood on lynching and racism. Tough for me to whip up any sympathy there.

At a time when higher education is desperately seeking enrollment and tuition and virtual or “schools without walls” are posing an ever-larger competitive threat the issue of Greek Life and its very real and perceived negative impact on campus cannot be ignored.

This isn’t some Hollywood fantasy version of what fraternity life is or ever was in its Animal House hey-day.

ok frat joe college

The iconic frat boy. 4 years after the movie he died of an overdose. That part’s not a myth.

 

No, this is about taking real and necessary steps to ensure all our students, female and male are safe and that the alarming numbers of campus sexual assault and rape go down, way down, if not become a vestige of the past.

The real question now is should Greek Life itself become a vestige of the past or does it deserve yet another chance to reinvent itself to be part of higher education circa 2015 and beyond?

Ipsa scientia potestas est.

bengal-tiger-why-matter_73410431.jpg

For more information on this important topic, check out:

http://www.aauw.org/resource/campus-sexual-assault-talking-points/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

128 thoughts on “Boys will be (Frat) Boys or is it Time to End Greek Life on our Campuses?

  1. Gentry says:

    I believe that if schools were to get rid of all frat life on campus then there would not be any heart or soul of the school. In many cases it is the greek life that show up to fundraisers, tailgates, and community service. However I do agree that many things could be changed about how to get into any chapter. Some traditions should be left in the past for the safety of the students both male and female. With this being said it would be outrageous to destroy all greek life. They bring many assets to the table including grades. Many fraternities and sororities have an overall high grade point average because to be a part of these programs one must maintain a certain GPA. In conclusion greek life can make changes for the safety of all the students but should still be given the chance to excel and help their school out.

  2. Michael W says:

    Schools Would lose a-lot of activities if Greek life were to be banned. Greek life is not only a tradition which has been centuries in the making, it also helps the campus in community outreach events such as relay for life. Therefor if Greek life were to be banned it would harm the campus more than it would do it any good what so ever. Greek life has also seen some of the most important people in this great nation in which we live. Such as many of our U.S. Presidents, and members of our congress.

  3. Caleigh M says:

    I do not believe they should completely get rid of greek life. Maybe there needs to be higher authority or the school should get involved when choosing a president or someone to represent the frat or sorority. Greek life brings many things to the table. they are very involved with charity events and campus events. But the hazing that goes on throughout these organizations should be considered. I like Greek life because it gives college students a chance to meet people of very similar interests. Some frats or sororities would say that it is just part of entering but bullying is definitely not the answer.

  4. B. Alston says:

    My distanced view of Greek life was one of rich heritage and the pride associated with being a part of an organization that was based on ideas and values that positively impacted society. The greek life was once glamourized and held on a pedestal of which only select few were privy to experience. For some it is a family tradition to pledge to the organization of one’s ancestors. It was expected. Presently, being a spectator from a distance, my view is wavering. I’m sure that the “dirty secrets” have always been present and that the mindset aligned, unexcused, with the times. Bud now the filthy laundry is surfacing for all to see. It is expected that organizations will encompass practices or rituals that define their makeup, but, as a parent, I would never knowingly send my child to a university where such behavior is alive and well and those charged with protecting the welfare of All students are joining in on the acts. No matter the behavior of others, the administrators are charged with protecting our students from such organized behaviors.

  5. Michelle E says:

    When I was an undergraduate, I did not attend a school that had greek life. In some what “typical” fashion, I felt that all fraternities were Animal House from the movie. Only after I married my husband did I change my opinion of fraternities. Fraternity life was a defining part of his college experience in a good way. He formed life long friendships with quality young men that challenged him to excel. Older brothers mentored him, and today remain some of his best sources of support and advice. Younger men are appreciative and respectful of the effort he took to assist in the rite of passage that is university. My husband was very committed to our sons having this kind of experience. As a parent, I found that my older son was pushed to excel in school by his fraternity, and pushed to be more involved in the community. Were there parties and foolery that, as a mom, I would not approve of? Of course. But, I don’t think for a minute that the extreme unacceptable behavior described in recent reports is typical or expected from young men in many of these chapters, and I don’t think that it should define the entire Greek system. Hopefully, the values we have instilled in our children will help them choose quality companions throughout their lives.

    • Lorraine D says:

      It great to know that there are great organizations out there that push students to operate in excellence. We need more organizations to be like mentors and train students on how to be a positive contributor to their community. I think some students need motivation in school and friends around them to keep them encouraged through the pressures of college. I just hope one doesn’t find himself looking to a group for identity and purpose. Student can want to have a family on campus so bad that they compromise their morals to be accepted. Yes, I believe is still peer pressure even in college.

  6. Matt R says:

    Any decision has both pros and cons. To completely rid campuses of greek life would most likely have several negative effects. But, likewise, there would also be positive effects. The question is, which would outweigh the other. Greek like is very important to many colleges, most especially the party schools. But, the importance of Greek life and all that it supports just does not seem to share the importance of the well-being of students, especially the victimized females. The well being of the students should be the number one concern of any college. If a fraternity or sorority was involved in any dangerous activities or participated in questionable behavior, I agree that particular fraternity or sorority should be shut down, period. But not all fraternities and sororities are the same. There are many that still uphold good standards. Like the famous comedian Ron White says, “you can’t fix stupid.” It doesn’t matter what you do and what measures you take, there will always be those rather stupid few that ruin everything. There is nothing wrong with having fun, but to take that “fun” to such stupid lengths as getting plastered drunk to the point where someone else is able to take advantage of you and to willingly participate in brutal beatings to become a part of a “brotherhood,” is just ridiculous and that is the definition of pure stupidity. Common sense just doesn’t seem to be so common anymore. It’s not the fault of the fraternities and sororities either. People need to learn to act responsibly and that alone is what it will take to eliminate the issues related to Greek life.

  7. Andrew N says:

    I am not sure that taking away Greek life altogether is the best answer to the problem. Being in a fraternity or a sorority can provide important skills that equip young people to succeed after graduation. One of those includes having to learn to work together with people you might not like which can be very beneficial in the real world. Also, most fraternities and sororities have a good networking base that can assist members after college. But, Greek life is not without its share of problems. A lot of the publicized incidents on campus involve a member of a fraternity, very few times a sorority, doing something stupid that can cost the organization their charter. I believe that alumnae and advisors should have more control over the operations of the chapters and monitor so that these types of events are less likely to occur. Leaving a bunch of college men to run a fraternity with hardly any supervision is a recipe for disaster. I think the benefits of having Greek life on campus outweigh the negatives. Many community services hours and other charitable acts are completed by fraternities and sororities, far more than the average college student.

  8. Kalan N. says:

    I am a member of a fraternity myself and I do not think it should be removed from college campuses.

    I am not familiar with the ideology of predominantly white fraternities and sororities, I can speak on the divine nine and vouch for those organizations. Divine nine organizations promote service within the community, social development skills while demanding academic excellence from their respective members.

    Looking back in history you have not heard of a divine nine organization engaging in racial chants or degrading intoxicated women via facebook.

    I think each individual chapter needs to have a conduct review board to ensure all rules and regulations established by the founders is upheld.

    • Lorraine D says:

      I agree with you when you say greek life should be closely monitored and should have a conduct review board. I do not believe this type of ill behavior is restricted to white fraternities. Although, a large percent of it may come from prodominately white greek life, there are people in the divine nine that may have participated in hazing. The issue is there are hundreds of greek organizations that go unmonitored and people never find out about the abuse taking place. I applaud you for not being one to partake in this illegal behavior and for making a positive difference in the community.

  9. David P says:

    Banning fraternities is not going to stop this. This is societal/cultural problem. Fraternities aren’t involved in Gamergate, or other similar problems. I was never a fraternity member and never wanted to be. But we shouldn’t let bad apples spoil the whole bunch, even if 80% of them are bad. We should hold the ones accountable that are causing problems and let others exist. And, like I said, even if they were banned you think birds of a feather wouldn’t flock together? It’s easy to point fingers at targets that aren’t really the problem. Sure, blame the fraternity, blame the police department, blame their religion, etc. No, blame the individual, hold them accountable. Accountability is severely lacking in our country today.

    • Thomas R. says:

      David,

      I agree completely that banning the fraternities will not change most of these behaviors. We see stories of sodomy and sever hazing conducted by other sports teams and social groups alike on a regular basis as well. Rape and other offenses continue to happen on a regular basis in this country and the fact that the majority of the sexual assaults occur between people who know each other removing fraternities will do nothing to change that fact. Should there be sever repercussions when fraternities fail to live up to the charter of the national organization, most certainly. However removing fraternities from college campuses will do little if anything positive for higher education in this country.

  10. cdknapp says:

    Greek life is part of the school experience and I believe it should remain, BUT, I think all houses/ groups should be closely monitored. Greek life is the soul of many universities, it is the idea of belonging to something bigger, long lasting. Without such organizations campus based education would take a big hit. Web based schools’ numbers would grow tremendously, leaving nothing behind but bricks and old books.

  11. Richard B. says:

    The undergraduate university that I attended did away with all fraternities and sororities some 30 years ago and they were not missed. Students join other service organizations that don’t have drinking/hazing/assault cultures. I think you can have all the socialization, fellowship, and service without any Greek life. Of course there is no way to stop fraternities from existing but they should loose the university’s imprimatur. I suppose the bigger question is: have university academic standards fallen so low that students have ample time to get into all this trouble because they are not challenged enough academically? Wouldn’t a rigorous academic schedule leave little time for organized bad behavior?

    • KFitz says:

      Your pondering about academic standards being too lax and scheduling is spot on. College should be fun, sure, but I think that many students matriculate without an understanding of how to manage their life postsecondary. They leave high school and then have all this “free time,” not realizing that they should be devoting most of that time to proper studying and ancillary activities such as eating well, exercising, and actually sleeping 8 hours per night. My son comes home from college and sleeps like there’s no tomorrow. These young adults need more guidance and oversight, especially those in frats and sororities. Greek life takes time, even if you’re doing things right. These little darlings need to understand that college is their “job” and that doing well is their pay. Reverting to immature behavior with weightier consequences should meet with severe punishment – as in ejection from school and not just the closing of your affiliation.

  12. Fransiska S says:

    I don’t think Greek Life is the issue at hand. The issue is the lack of ethics that American culture has developed. Women are walking around half naked. Men are drunk in public. Children are having children. Don’t get me wrong there are some great hard workers in America but American culture has changed so much and not for the best. Some call this change liberation. I call it stupidity. We need to train our kids what to do and what not to do. This horrible acts are not only happening within Greek Life. Go to YouTube and there are young and old adults completing stupid acts such as poring rubbing alcohol on there rear end and apply fire to it. This outrage of stupidity needs to stop. We need to enforce kids to read and write more so America as a nation can grow and prosper.

  13. Brandi S says:

    I think that Greek life can be a good think and a bad thing in some cases. The pros is that you become a life time member of brotherhood with your frat brothers. Also there are a lot of opportunities and resources available to you. The cons are what mainly concerns me. The hazing and making people do some unbearable things is just plain wrong. I would not want to be in a fraternity or sorority that made me do this type of stuff and if this was happening to me I would snitch quick. People have lost their lives to hazing to me it is another form of bullying and it needs to stop. I do not think that Greek life needs to stop I just think that hazing should no be a part of it and the fraternity that is caught hazing would be shut down as a consequence.

    • Lorraine D says:

      What I find is crazy is that student can consent to this type of ill treatment and abuse. I hate that hazing has become such a craze on campus and it should be punished severely because it is criminal. I agree with you when you say there are a lot of great benefits as there should be for any organization, it is just a shame that people have to deal with abuse in pursuit of networking and brotherhood.

      • Brandi S says:

        Thanks, It is crazy if it were me and I had to go through that just to get in a sorority I would just say no and go somewhere else because it is not worth the abuse.

  14. Lorraine D says:

    I am not the biggest fan of greek life and I do not think it is necessary on college campuses where students should learn to mix and mingle with individuals of diverse background and not have to a apart of a social club to do so. However, I believe students have the right to join greek life if they please. It only becomes a problem when foolish people defame their own organization by participating in lude behavior and violating other individuals. Im in college so I understand how fun parties are, but the use of drugs and sexual violence should never be on someones list of festivities. Students should have the common sense to know what is honorable behavior and what is dishonorable behavior. I believe students who participate in hazing should face harsh punishment. There are too many lives lost due to this absurd practice of bullying people into a social group. Fraternities and sororities should be focused on blessing the community with charitable work, helping to build great citizens, academic excellence, and having fun. It seems as though the foundation of many organizations have been distorted or perverted for the practices of evil and selfish indulgences. I am not saying that all greek life is foolish but I am saying that there needs to be an immediate end to nonsense and criminal behavior. People should have a sense of pride for the organizations they are involved in, there should be a clear difference between a gang and a frat. There also should be some close monitoring towards greek life in the week of their rush to ensure people do not get hurt. If they are able to practice on college campuses they should have to abide by strict campus rules or be closed down.

  15. Chris R says:

    I would not say that the actions of some fraternities merits closing down all Greek systems of a university. The actions of fraternities as of recently do build a strong case for a particular chapters demise though. The amount of bad PR for campuses they are creating is rapidly overcoming the amount of good they do for the campus.

    Having attended college on campus and now working at a university, I think that the arguments about the social activities on campus and attendance at university events relying heavily on Greek life is a weak argument. They make up a presence on campus, but my experience is that there are a lot of campus organizations which are functioning fine without members of Greek Organizations. Many time freshmen RA are responsible for having their cohorts attend campus events and help to set them up in organizations. I also easily had opportunities to create important friendships and interact socially outside of class without even considering the Greek system.

    For myself, fraternities and to a lesser extent sororities, are a result of their circumstances. Remove the rape culture on campuses, the partying, and other stigmas that the Greek system entails and you have a recipe for disaster from its foundation. Fraternities and sororities are a collection of minors living alone for the first time with upperclassmen who carve a idea of what college and to an extent the world is like. This view of the world and college are a product of what the upper class-men provided for them and is typically recreated, hence the “traditions.” From there you add in partying, cultural issues regarding sex, race and gender and the lack of maturity to act responsibly and you invite opportunities for very bad things to happen. To say that these people do not know better is a “get out of jail free” card they do not in any way deserve. If you are admitted to college, there should be an understanding of a baseline of morals. However, when people experiencing freedom at the level an incoming freshmen is and is surrounded by like minded people and supplied with alcohol, instead of diversifying undergrads will herd in mentality.

    I understand that this is not the case for every single fraternity, but it is prevalent enough to merit the stereotypes. There is not a year that goes by without there being multiple scandals. Ending Greek societies may or may not fix this because the larger problem is the lack of maturity and responsibility during this time while people are still extremely impressionable.

    • Brandi S says:

      Hello I love your post. I do not think that ending greek societies would fix the problem because hazing is not just in the fraternities and sororities anymore, Robert Champion was in the band and he died because of this abuse.

      • Thomas R. says:

        Brandi,

        I think you listed one of the best reasons to not prosecute fraternities and sororities as a whole over a few national news stories of poor behavior. We all know of people being mistreated in many facets of life from the group of mean girls or boys in grade school to the work place clique culture that occurs to us all in one form or another. What we must focus on is the criminal in nature behavior not on the organizations as a group that it has occurred in. The Florida A&M band hazing incident resulted in the temporary disbanding of this organization and the criminal prosecution of the most guilty offenders. This is a proper response to hazing and illegal activity. Not to call for the elimination of all colligate bands due to the Hazing at a few programs.

  16. callen m says:

    As an alumnus of a sorority I cannot agree with shutting down Greek life completely if the chapters act like the adults they are and follow the rules. I think being a member in the Greek community can add a lot to a student’s college years if they so choose to go that route. I do however not condone hazing in any sense of the term. I believe that the national organizations need to keep a tighter reign on the chapters of their organizations at each school. During my junior year of college our national office heard of an event that we held each year that they deemed inappropriate even though all parties involved were not injured and entered the competition on their own accord. Because it went against national rules our chapter was put on probation for an entire year. National officers need to be involved in the chapters and make sure that rules are being followed long before another student tragically looses his or her life at the hands of a “brother or sister.” These stories make me so sad because I know how much I loved being a member of a sorority and it is sad that some chapters do not understand common ethical and moral behaviors.

  17. wjwood says:

    Fraternities can and do a lot of good but I am not sure being Greek is the badge of honor and success that it may have once been. I was the only pledge in a small class mind you at a directional state university that made it thru hell week- so I don’t necessarily go back for reunions still keep with some members though. Maybe the best days of the fraternities were back during Mad Men or so it seems. However, I still think its a good social and networking opportunity at bigger schools. Millenials don’t seem to be joiners- they would have sucked at being Yuppies!

  18. Thomas R says:

    I think like everything there needs to be regulations. You hate to turn on the news and see where some frat initiation went wrong and someone ends up seriously hurt or worse than that for that matter. I think student organizations such as fraternities and sororities are a good thing and provide college campuses with a certain amount of pride and leadership. Just like everything if not ran properly or regulated in the right way things can go bad. I think each college and university with Greek life needs to sit down and review their rules and regulations to make sure nothing dangerous or damaging to certain individuals are taking place. This could be step #1 to make sure they are providing a safe organization for students to be a part of.

  19. Sheldon G says:

    I do not believe that schools should get rid Greek life although there have been instances of hazing brought into question throughout the years. Greek life is an essential part to campuses and the way students interact with each other, build bonds, and find out about some events. Greek life is not just males, but also has females as well. Although we do not here much about female hazing incidents that do not mean that they are not taking place. In order to be a part of these organizations you must meet certain requirements, some dealing with academics and some dealing with community service. I am one to believe in the way some organizations help the community and each other, but I do not support the hazing tactics that may be associated with joining an organization.

  20. Timothy C says:

    I must first admit that although I wanted to join a fraternity, I was unable to marshal sufficient resources to be able to afford the pledge/ membership fees. I believe I’m no worse for wear having not received the opportunity and experiences the affiliation would have offered me. Although there are those young men who are clearly out of line and need censure and sanction, many fraternity members regularly demonstrate their commitment to the missions and values their fraternity purport to stand for. Due to the fact every fraternity does not display the behaviors mentioned in the blog, it is difficult for me to call for their disbanding. Instead, I believe these organizations should begin to move toward transparency and away from the cult mentality that appears to permeate many of these institutions. I honestly have no idea what this transparency would look like or to whom it would be demonstrated, but as with other programs operating on public and private college campuses, there need to be standards of conduct and clear accountability.

  21. amceagle11 says:

    With the frat and sexual assault issue, I think you have two core issues and questions here. Banning frats is classic baby and bathwater. That’s not going to resolve anything and will just tick off alumni and perhaps affect the two key “e’ments” of higher education -enrollment and/or endowment. The assault issue is one that is often handled poorly by colleges, mainly due to inappropriate initial handling. Simply referring all matters at initial point of contact to the local law enforcement agency (City policy, Sheriff, etc) is the first step. These internal policing entities (campus security, student conduct council, etc) are just redundant, unnecessary and give off the appearance of white-washing and hiding incidents.

  22. Cenetta B says:

    I am Greek. A member of Zeta Phi Beta since 2009. I think that is important to remember that these happenings aren’t always the org, but the people we have to pick from to join the org. To put it how some of my sisters (and fellow Greeks) “You make the letters, the letters don’t make you.” I find it telling that the “N-Word in SAE” happened at all. There is an SAE chapter at VSU, who’s parties I certainly never wanted to attend, mainly because they hang a Confederate flag over the door. To be honest, this just proved to me that SAE, while a Greek org, and Zeta could not be more different.
    The same rings true for most Greek Life. We differ so much, that wiping us completely off campus would be unfair. I just feel that the schools should pay more attention to the culture of the chapters. These boys learned that chant from their big brothers, the girls were taught that behavior was okay by their big sisters. Had the campus intervened earlier, perhaps these issues would not have happened.

  23. autron01 says:

    I do not think that getting rid of Greek life is the answer .The main issue here is character. this cannot be bought or gotten off the shelf at Target. I think that no matter what, you are going to have these issues.When you do have these issues the only thing that colleges can do is as soon as issues arise schools will just have to handle them.As far as hazing is concerned it should be handled by the schools and by the students themselves.The final issue is character.

  24. Jon M says:

    While in my undergraduate and playing college soccer, my roommate and several of my teammates were in our college’s respective frats. I also knew quite a few of the sorority girls. Typically they are not bad, individually I do not feel that most of the Greek Life students are truly out to cause so many problems, but a lot of who I would consider the weaker willed, the followers typically (and this is from my viewpoint from the perspective of growing up right off of Florida State’s campus and knowing several people who pledged/joined a frat/soro) join up the frats that are controlled by a few leaders that don’t typically fit in elsewhere. Not saying that is necessarily bad but it is what happens. I have had to “not” hear some of what has gone on. Fortunately the ones that ran the fraternity that I went to were also athletes at the small college so that came first and most of the time I was there I think none of the typical frat pledge stuff actually played out like it does at most.

    I think Greek Life should be disbanded completely, who in their right minds actually wants to pay for friends/”brothers”, but they would argue that if you do that you have to get rid of other similar groups like BCM or Wes House which has better standards than Greek Life. So I feel like we may have to live with it for a bit longer until something truly horrifying on a large scale happens unfortunately.

  25. Dalton C says:

    This isn’t a fraternity issue alone, its an organizational issue that is pinned on the easiest target available, which in this case is a bunch of college students that are incapable of really defending themselves. Things like this seem to have attention drawn to them by people that are so bored or unhappy with themselves that the feel the need to bring another person/group of people down for an issue that doesn’t directly affect them at all. But, since its been addressed, I guess I’ll address it too. My issue with the SAE situation is that people are pretending like these racist tendencies are ONLY the result of these men’s fraternity experience, and that surely they were racially inclusive before joining such a terrible organization. WRONG. Surely a group of men with non-racist opinions wouldn’t have tolerated such a cheer within their beloved fraternity after joining with such tolerant minds. Clearly these racial views existed before their joining, and if they didn’t settle well with any new members of the fraternity, they could’ve just quit. But they didn’t (don’t tell me quitting wasn’t an option, I am a Pi Kappa Phi that helped found the chapter at Mississippi State University. I have four years of fraternity experience, which turned out to be the best years of my life thus far). Blaming fraternity culture for this incident itself is characteristic of those who are ignorant of fraternity/sorority culture on campuses altogether. There are other instances of hazing in other organizations (like the Miami Dolphins a few years back), and it is not characteristic to greek letter fraternities. I think that people without experience with greek letter fraternities are best off keeping their opinions to themselves, as they are often those who feel socially excluded, whether it be from being accepted into one or lacking the financial ability to do so, or those who are socially awkward and do not enjoy attending social events with others.

  26. Lisa says:

    I don’t think ending greek life is the solution to the deep-seated problem of violence. If it were that easy, we’d have to get rid of greek life, athletics, and even a number of academic groups who “get riled up” around alcohol. Higher education actually has an opportunity in its current climate to rise above the mess and teach student communities about integrity, honor, and respect amidst diversity. Many universities are establishing integrity committees to lead the way in education initiatives, forums, and policy changes. They are also setting up anonymous hotlines for tips and reporting. And these are just a few examples.

  27. Chelsea L says:

    I agree that the negative impact of Greek life on campuses can not and should not be ignored and I say this because I believe that these instances will serve as motives for change in the Greek community. At the same time, we also must not ignore the positive impact that Greek organizations have on their campus. As a member of a sorority, so my response may be somewhat bias but I can attest to countless opportunities afforded to me by my organization that include networking, volunteering, programming, and leading. When done correctly, Greek life not only benefits the individual but the campus as well. Greek life provides an opportunity for students to find a home away from home. The goal isn’t to exclude prospective members, but rather to form partnerships with like-minded individuals who are driven and desire to influence positive change on campus and in the community. Now, I understand that the idea of organizing like-minded individuals may actually be the root of Greek life’s problem. Individuals may find themselves drawn to an organization because of its segregated history or its traditions for hazing. That is where the need for adequate supervision and advising come in. Hazing is unacceptable and threatens the mental and physical well-being of students. It’s practiced more and more on campuses across the country and that itself is a tragedy. The complete eradication of Greek life would be a disgrace to the founders of these organizations who overcame trying circumstances in order to bring forth their vision. I suggest holding the national offices for these organizations responsible for thorough investigations of each chapter’s intake process maintaining clear communication with the campus leader that supervises the Greek community. Faculty advisors must also take their role very seriously and be aware of the common practices of fraternities and sororities. With the right leadership and standards in place, Greek life will no longer be viewed as a detrimental aspect of college life but a positive and rewarding one.

  28. Anika J says:

    When I saw this story on the news, I was not surprised. College campuses are a “snapshot” of the community and exemplify the collective of people who make up our society at present. The students who attend hold values and moral that are rooted in the beliefs in which they have been raised. This incident is just one of many that occurred in our country to further support the fact that racism and segregation are still problems in our country. Although I was not a part of a sorority, I have read about their historical significance and heard of the activities that they participate in. I think the original ideas that the Greek organizations were founded on have been distorted and since have become another example of segregation. For this reason, I think the Greek orgs should no longer be able to operate on campuses, especially those that receive state and federal funding.

  29. Ambreshia says:

    I do not totally agree that the greek organizations should be banned from the campus. I do not feel as if ending the greek experience for those students that choose to partake will completely delete campus violence from taking place. There are numerous of things that would have to take place to completely deplete the student body’s interaction among one another. I feel the main issue is the upbringing, morals and temperament that should be put into the spotlight. Everyone that decides to take part in pledging and greek activities have their personal reasons as to why they are doing so. Removing an extracurricular activity from a campus is not going to dislodge what has been implanted and incorporated into someone’s upbringing. I feel as if the issues that are brought to light in the above blog are not exhibited by all organizations and for that they all should not be punished. Just as with any incident, as of the example of the young man that lost his life attempting to pledge, if not handled in the proper manner it can become susceptible to escalating and getting way out of hand.

  30. Kelvin B. says:

    Greek organizations are an important part of the collegiate experience as well as post collegiate as it relates to predominately African American Greek organizations. However, racism is racism. The chant that this fraternity chanted resembled that of what racists people used against those in the past. Eluding to hangings of black people and keeping them separate from “their” elite organization fully embodies what racism is. So for media jocks like Rush Limbaugh or William Kristol suggests that these words were just innocent wordplay is despicable. It can safely assume that what was portrayed by the men who chanted the chant portrays a culture that is being taught within that particular fraternity. Another example of issues that occur within fraternities is the post on facebook suggesting that parents drop their daughters off at their fraternity house and their mothers could be dropped off too possibly suggesting that sexual acts will performed on their daughters. This is sickening and must stop. The culture of Greek Organizations must change and promote social awareness as well as the values that each respective organization represents. I don’t agree in shutting them down, but I strongly believe in the overhaul of them and for the increase of oversight that the universities have over them.

  31. Kendria S says:

    The question was asked: Can fraternities continue to exist without the traditions and rituals which in large part make a fraternity a fraternity? I believe the answer is no. Without traditions and rituals, these organizations would just be on-campus clubs. Legacy and history is a part of what draws individuals “into the fold” of pursuing membership. At times, the “idea” of these organizations help students make up there minds about attending a particular college. I made the decision to join a sorority. I have seen the good and the bad as well as the ups and the downs. I too have had the opportunity to be an on campus advisor. I have also had the opportunity to be a graduate chapter advisor to the undergraduate chapter from which I became a member. At this present time, I am not active for several reasons, but from my different roles of experience, I can say that it’s not for everyone. The need for inclusion strikes everyone at some point in their life, but I believe individuals should stick to their moral fibers and not do anything that degrades themselves. No inclusion is worth bodily harm or humiliation. It’s just not worth it.

    The subtle undertone of racism is alive and well, not just here in the South (Georgia). While, I know these boys don’t speak for everyone, I know that a great part of these demonstrations are from their upbringing. Kids learn racism from their parents and carry those perspectives into adulthood. It’s not right. The influence that Greek letter organizations have is tremendous. Instead of using it to lord “power” over non-members, those trying to become members and individuals of other races, they should redirect the influence to make a difference and help change the culture of the campus for the good.

  32. hlwaits says:

    Some of the points you made are very very true. I do think that Greek life should be mentored and should have a academic advisor to watch over them.. closely. Greek life is just like anything other organization, they should not all be judged by the select few that make it look bad. Just like what happen on VSU’s campus back in April, I do not think that students should not enroll in our university just because of one situation that happen on campus and made the news. That does not make VSU less of a wonderful school or make my experience here any less great. I was a member of a sorority at Valdosta State, I felt that being a part of this organization helped me grow into a better leader, helped me stay on track with my studies, helped me connect with others, kept me involved in the community and actually helped me do more of the RIGHT thing than the wrong. I understand the stereotypes of Greek life and I understand that it is viewed as paying for friends, paying to get drunk or paying to sleep with girls/guys but that is not always the case. I feel that they build life long relationships and it helped me understand how to handle other people that were not like me.I was involved in other organizations on campus and did more community service than just Greek life but I do think it helped me be a better person and stay involved on campus.

  33. cmdarden says:

    Having been an active member in a sorority for 4 years while I was in college I can honestly say that there are pros and cons to Greek Life. But, for many college campuses Greek Life IS what actually makes the college and without it, the school, it’s student life and students would suck. Not because there wouldn’t be anything fun to do or parties and etc., but because Greek Life is the heart and soul of the student life on some campuses. Now I am not saying this is true for all schools but, I think it is for smaller universities especially in the south. Sororities and Fraternities are not all the same, especially at different schools in different states. When one makes a mistake people cannot assume that every single sorority or fraternity makes those poor choices and says those awful words. It is very easy for people to stereotype sororities and fraternities especially when they have not been apart of one or know someone who has been apart of one. The thing is people do not honestly know or understand the traditions, the relationships and the bonds that are formed in Greek Life. Its easy to downgrade Greek Life when they do something wrong but, the said thing is the media and the public do not always hear about the good that Greek Life does. Sororities and fraternities raise awareness about their philanthropies and raise crazy amounts of money to donate locally and nationally. So, my point it do not knock them all for the mistakes that a few make and don’t assume that’s its all about the sex and parities.

  34. Mynisha C says:

    Honestly, I’m so tired of rappers and any Black person being blamed or scapegoated whenever the N@#$ word is used by another race or its said to insult or demeaning context against Blacks as an excuse for their behavior. Truth be told African Americans didn’t create the word Ni%%er nor any other words to describe their difference in color.We just recently since the 60’s accepted being called Black when James Brown said it first with his “I’m Black and I’m Proud”. So lets stop there cant tell you how long Blacks will use the word to reclaim it to own it when communicating with other blacks side from it ugliness. However if another person within my community calls me the N word it will upset me and they will get a mouth full but if someone outside my race was to refer to me by that name just from its existence and past demonizing roots they will get it way more and will be a racist by all counts.

    On to the topic of Greek life. No I don’t think that it should be whipped out completely from college cultural entirely. One because its somewhat is college culture to be apart of Greek life or to even experience Greek life. They are to be not just the party but the leaders on campus in guiding the student body in the community that they reside in and becoming apart of that community. These are the things that they have abandoned throughout the years to become the bullies on college campuses. Terrorizing students alike. It is the responsibility of the faculty and alumni to get these students in line of higher standard and remind them that once they get those letters of affiliation they no longer represent themselves but the organization.

  35. bmweese says:

    Being a Student Affairs professional myself, I’ve seen both the good and the bad sides of college life. I’ve also performed Title IX investigations on college campuses and have encountered the following: rapes where the victim was under the influence, gang rapes, relationship violence, sexual harassment, stalking and more. The kicker- the institution didn’t have Greek Life. My point is that this in not just a Greek problem, it is college wide. Independents are just as likely to face the same issues. Greek Life however makes it “organized” or “sanctioned” because there is a bigger institution behind the offense. If a student violates another student a crime is committed. If the offender is non-Greek then it’s a crime of one student against another. However, if the offender is Greek it suddenly becomes an entire fraternity that committed the crime.

    I belonged to a fraternity and even held several offices. I PRACTICED what it meant to be a leader and a manger while my non-Greek classmates studied it in a book. Some of the valuable business lessons I learned: (Pledging) Assimilating into an organization, learning the ropes, working through the ranks of an organization; (Elections) Building consensus, rallying others to a cause, overcoming/accepting rejection, building rapport with the opposition; (Budgeting) Paying dues, collecting dues, utilizing resources effectively, resource allocation, fundraising, philanthropy; (Mentoring) Onboarding new recruits, talent development, delegation; (Risk Management) Interventions, crisis response and management, liability, insurance; (Succession Planning) talent development, leadership transitions, managing change, letting go, delegating. All of these are just theories in a management textbook but I was able to put them into practice beginning at age 18. Very powerful lessons and a lot of hard-knocks along the way. However, when I became a manager after graduation, I had a much easier transition because I had experienced many of the same situations as a Greek.

    I challenge the statistic “Nearly 70% of all sexual assaults and date-rapes will occur off-campus and most frequently at a fraternity house or setting”. Possibly the same study that this quote came from (Campus Sexual Assault Survey, 2007) states that “Over a quarter of incapacitated sexual assault victims reported that the assailant was a fraternity member at the time of the incident”. Which means that 75% of the assailants were non-Greek. Since the majority of college students live off campus, it would stand to reason that the majority of assaults would happen off campus. Additionally, the atmosphere where sexual assaults are likely to occur (parties with drugs and alcohol present, are much more likely to happen off campus away from university sanctions).

    I don’t think the blame lies completely in the lap of Greek Life. I do believe part of the solution could though. Many if not all Greek organizations have mandatory drug, alcohol and sexual assault training. This is administered on top of the college mandated trainings like AlcoholEDU and Haven trainings that are now administered to all students at a growing number of schools. If anything, Greeks should be more aware of these issues. With the right leadership and collaboration with school administration, Greeks could be part of the solution to the problem.

  36. Julie H says:

    Racial segregation still exists within Greek life. On paper, sororities and fraternities have established policies against racism, but the way they function in practice reinforces segregation. There are some fraternities that have integrated, but they are a rare occurrence.
    While pursuing my undergraduate degree I noticed that fraternity and sorority members had a tendency to skip class, make below average grades, come to class with hangovers, not finish school, and generally not take college academics seriously. A few were the exception, but the majority was the rule. There were a few individuals who were the exceptions, but the majority of them were not the exception.
    I believe racism in the United States is still present, especially in the South. Many people display something similar to the Bradley Effect in our society. They are racist, but they conceal it because they are afraid of being judged. When they are amongst their own race and people who they know share the same viewpoint, they display their true feelings. One can argue that because the majority of sororities and fraternities are not integrated the situation results in an atmosphere that is conducive for racism to transpire.
    The word N**** is a disrespectful term for an African American person. Its origins in the United States historically carry with it much of the hatred and disgust toward Black Africans and African Americans. It is beyond my understanding as to why countless African American people say the “N” word to each other and often use it songs.
    Personally, I think it is sad that people are so desperate for friendship that they pay an extravagant amount of money, and go through hazing, which is sometimes involves homosexual themes. These young men and women are attending college to attain an education- I feel that joining most fraternities and sororities will result in a lower chance of graduating and a lower gpa.

  37. Julie H says:

    Racial segregation still exists within Greek life. On paper, sororities and fraternities have established policies against racism, but the way they function in practice reinforces segregation. There are some fraternities that have integrated, but they are a rare occurrence.
    While pursuing my undergraduate degree I noticed that fraternity and sorority members had a tendency to skip class, make below average grades, come to class with hangovers, not finish school, and generally not take college academics seriously. A few were the exception, but the majority was the rule. There were a few individuals who were the exceptions, but the majority of them were not the exception.

    I believe racism in the United States is still present, especially in the South. Many people display something similar to the Bradley Effect in our society. They are racist, but they conceal it because they are afraid of being judged. When they are amongst their own race and people who they know share the same viewpoint, they display their true feelings. One can argue that because the majority of sororities and fraternities are not integrated the situation results in an atmosphere that is conducive for racism to transpire.

    The word N**** is a disrespectful term for an African American person. Its origins in the United States historically carry with it much of the hatred and disgust toward Black Africans and African Americans. It is beyond my understanding as to why countless African American people say the “N” word to each other and often use it songs.
    Personally, I think it is sad that people are so desperate for friendship that they pay an extravagant amount of money, and go through hazing, which is sometimes involves homosexual themes. These young men and women are attending college to attain an education- I feel that joining most fraternities and sororities will result in a lower chance of graduating and a lower gpa.

  38. ryanharris242 says:

    “Greek Life, by its very nature is exclusive, judgmental, intolerant, divisive and maybe, just maybe, an outdated indulgence that higher education simply cannot afford to support any longer.” You might have hammered a current nail on the head. Although I look at this as few bad apples shouldn’t ruin the bunch, but case after case, photo after photo, you have to question the integrity of the whole system. I would like to see a re-vamp on their part, maybe get away from the dances where you get drunk for fun and the bidding process, where you are judged like cattle in some cases and move it back to re values, doing good by the community, increasing diversity, and not filming yourself making racist chants. These groups are easy target as opposed to as someone who might be classified as a “GDI” able to do and say whatever because he or she answers to themselves, when ao frat boy does bad, the whole group is punished. For these groups to thrive it will be an uphill battle into today’s “everyone has the right to get offended” so they are already walking on thin ice by their nature… I mean across some campus these frats and sororities are modern forms of segregation, “if you smart, you go here, ugly you go there, fat you go there, white you go there” So like most things, adapt or die.

  39. Sarah K says:

    I have no experience with Greek life as I have always been a non-traditional student doing the majority of my classes online, so my opinion here is completely from the outside looking in. I definitely think the Greek life has a reputation of partying. I also know that they can be known for charitable contributions to the college and society. Personally I don’t understand why one has to join the Greek life to have a group of friends or to be a part of community involvement. Can’t these things be done without joining a labeled group? But, I can see where joining the Greek life could give an individual a sense of belonging. So my answer is no I don’t believe we should get rid of Greek life. I think the solution is just to ensure they are regulated and inspected more thoroughly and more often to ensure this heinous behavior doesn’t continue.

    • lexislloyd says:

      Great response, Sarah. I completely agree with your point of view on this subject. It is crazy that people are being labeled in order to “fit in.” You made some really strong points in your response. I think some people crave that sense of belonging and look for other people to give them attention. There are some good things that can transpire from Greek life, however as you mentioned, the organizations should be regulated better. The case in Oklahoma University should be the last straw. I hope that other Fraternity houses are not acting out like this. We can only hope for the best.

  40. lexislloyd says:

    I remember when this was first aired on the news. I was baffled at the time. It is alarming that racism still exists in today’s world. At my undergrad, our university did not allow Fraternity and Sorority organizations to form on campus. With that being said, I can only speak on this topic as an outsider looking in. I believe that a lot of the Fraternity houses are established mainly to party and showoff how much money their parents make. In the mist of everything, there are a ton of hazing acts that begin to transpire. No one should be punished or humiliated in order to join an organization. I think Fraternities have gotten way out of hand. The case in Oklahoma was horrible. It is never acceptable to speak like that or use such foul language. However, I watched a great documentary on ESPN in regards to the Oklahoma University’s football team after that video hit social media. As the school began to divide, the football players stood up for diversity. The song and video allowed the football players to become even closer as a family. The team is integrated and made up of different races. Shortly after the video went viral, the football players took the field to play against one of their rivals. However, when the team hit the field, their formation was different. They each linked arms with one another and walked across the field. Each player was standing next to someone of a different race, and they were proud to be each other’s brother. I found this to be such an awesome way to stand up against discrimination. Even when times are bad, you can still find something good. I think that the fraternity houses need to be reevaluated. They should be closely monitored in order to avoid any situations like this in the future.

  41. Emily L says:

    I have never associated or been apart of any sorority or fraternity, however, I think if the leadership throughout the organizations could get them back to the traditions and moral standards they were once held to, many of these issues would begin to decrease. As a police officer in an area where many University of South Carolina students reside, I am able to say that I have observed these individuals aiding elderly in neighborhoods and creating a “community garden” for the area as part of their community service hours. I have also seen the bad, where students are highly intoxicated in the roadway, creating neighborhood disturbances, and creating a poor image for the university. This particular fraternity was “kicked off” campus, however, as some previous comments have mentioned, they still party as if they are part of a fraternity, even though they have been suspended. Long story short, they should be more closely monitored.

  42. valdostaphil says:

    Ending Greek life on major university campuses (aside from having to be accomplished at the state level in all 50 states) might be akin to throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Frats aren’t the cause of all this ignorant behavior, but rather a symptom of it. Large groups egging on individuals within the collective doesn’t help, but again, not the cause. 18-22 year olds still don’t have fully functioning frontal lobes. That occurs at more like 25 years old on average. The short version is: the age of adulthood should be more like 22-25, so we’re dealing with children here, not adults, and they should be viewed more like children than purely rational people just making bad decisions. They don’t have complete and perfect information and can’t appreciate the consequences of half of what they do. It’s youthful invincibility complex.

    Taking away their clubs is liable to chase the ignorance into dark corners where it’s more difficult to address and identify. The best answer is to use the blossoming PC culture and educational efforts to appropriate or re-purpose Greek life to make it a force for good, which it already is in a lot of ways. Eliminating Greek letters on campus isn’t going to change the predominant behavior of 18-22 year olds and we’ll still have the same problems as before only a lot of time will have been wasted.

    See the most recent season of South Park. A serious comeback for that show in the social commentary department after a recent several season slump.

    • valdostaphil says:

      Follow up: I realize my previous post here was very generalized. I was mostly addressing partying and hazing. But when it comes to respect for woman and sexual assault, our entire society has a systemic problem that needs addressed in everything from advertising to a gross lack of respect for women in our culture. But campus Greeks are just an easy soft target on that one. It doesn’t make some of the aberrant behavior on their part any less despicable, but our entire culture is guilty of some of this stuff, so holding 18 year old children responsible for it is kind of like blaming a five year old for dropping an F-bomb in church.

      Our society should absolutely be having a much more serious conversation about sexual assault, consent, and all other concerns surrounding it, but I don’t know that fraternities and sororities are the best mirror for an entire society to look into on that one. Let adults lead the way and then the children can follow suit.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: