Are We Nearing the End of Greek Life?
Greek life is certainly prominent on Syracuse University’s campus. You can’t walk across campus without seeing girls decked out in letters and guys rocking their fratty tanks. Greek life is rooted in American tradition and forms lifelong bonds between friends, but recently, events across the nation have been tarnishing the reputations of sororities and fraternities. Could this bring an end to our beloved mansions on Walnut, or worse, intensely competitive themed parties?
One of the biggest PR crises among Greek life is the number of rape reports linked to late-night fraternity parties. Lately, the most famous and controversial is without a doubt the UVA gang rape story that’s has been plastered all over news outlets. In this case, a young woman claims she was assaulted while intoxicated at a Greek social event. Soon after the story was published, however, it became clear there had been some questionable reporting and the story was retracted. It is still unclear what exactly happened the night of the reported assault. Despite the question of legitimacy, though, the story was able to bring this very important issue back to the forefront of conversation about Greek life. Some universities have implemented harsh restrictions on Greek parties — Rutgers University, for example, just banned all sorority and fraternity parties for the rest of the semester after a slew of alcohol-related incidents.
Besides incidents at social events, other events continue to shed negative light on Greek life organizations. Brothers of the University of Oklahoma’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon were videotaped singing a racist chant, which was allegedly taught at a brotherhood leadership event. In another case, a Penn State fraternity’s brothers were suspended for posting photos of drunk, unconscious women on a Facebook page. It almost seems like once one scandal dies down, another immediately follows.
Thanks to the horrible events that continue to transpire, the question “Should Greek life even still exist?” is on the mind of many college administrators. Not only does it appear that Greek life parties are dangerous and alcohol-abusive, but also the idea of a discriminatory unisex organization strikes some people the wrong way. As gender identity becomes more of a gray area among college students, what will become of these strictly gender-based houses?
Various people and groups have been pushing for change in this regard — if colleges sit back and do nothing, while scandals continue to unfold on their campuses, outrage is inevitable. Colleges and universities are slowly restricting what sororities and fraternities can do, but it is unlikely that the Greeks will become a totally extinct species. Sororities and fraternities have lasted since their establishment in 1776 and are backed by a committed community of alumni committed to tradition, whatever those traditions may be. Although the future is impossible to predict, it will not be surprising if the Greek community is able to live on... But, only time will tell.
Photo by Adham Elsharkawi