The ongoing debate involving bringing Greek Life back to SOU has sparked lots of discussion from different points of view. This is an opinion piece from a concerned SOU student.
I’m writing to express my concerns regarding The Siskiyou’s recent article: My Big Fat Greek Article. Some of the views expressed neglect the exclusionary nature of greek organizations as well as associated horrors.
One of SOU’s huge draws for me was the lack of Greek life. I associate fraternities and sororities with exclusion, lack of supervision, hazing, sexual assault, intoxication and noise. My associations aren’t unfounded. They have a strict basis in reality.
Just a year ago, men in the University of Oklahoma fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon were caught chanting “There will never be a n***** in SAE.” Pennsylvania State University’s fraternity Kappa Delta Rho was found to possess a secret Facebook page for pictures of drugs and unconscious women. Alpha Tau Omega at North Carolina State University was found to be dealing cocaine, ecstasy and acid. A woman was sexually assaulted in their fraternity house, too. University of Michigan’s Sigma Alpha Mu was permanently disbanded after they refused to take responsibility for trashing a ski resort. UW-Madison had to shut down Chi Phi when their hazing of freshman included forcing them to sleep in attics with pillow cases over their head, receive concussions and eat discarded food.
One might argue these are isolated media incidents that can’t speak for Greek life as a whole, but the issues don’t end with news stories.
According to a study in the Journal Sex Roles, sorority women are more likely to have body image issues and disordered eating. According to the U.S. Department of education, 75% of fraternity men participate in heavy drinking, but only 49% of non-fraternity men in the same age group do the same. Fraternity men are also at a slightly higher risk for sexually assaulting others, while sorority women are more likely to be sexually assaulted than other women on campus. The journal Addiction found that students in Greek housing abuse prescription stimulants more than their peers. Some houses still paddle. Lethal blows to the head have resulted in death.
Of personal concern to me, fraternity houses contribute to rape culture on campuses. Sex Roles found that fraternity men are more likely to have sexually objectifying imagery of women in their rooms, more likely to support rape and non-consensual sex, and more likely to believe that women who act like they don’t want sex actually want to be treated roughly. Rape culture terrifies me on a daily basis, and rape hits close to home in my personal experience. I don’t want the culture on my campus to get worse.
Fraternities are for boys. Sororities are for girls. There are even sororities meant for black students only. The exclusion is in direct conflict with SOU’s mission statement and commitment to diversity and inclusion. Frarority is a nice concept, but there’s no need for it. Our entire campus should be a space of camaraderie for people of all genders.
The risks Greek life could pose to the SOU campus are not worth the camaraderie that may arise. Camaraderie can be found in clubs and organizations on campus already. Volunteer work and service opportunities are available across our area.
The way I see it, if a group wants to hang out together and pledge to a certain code, they don’t need a house to do it. Especially not a house that could elevate all kinds of risks for our campus. I would encourage those who support the arrival of Kappa Sigma to consider what safe things the house would offer them that SOU doesn’t already provide. If there are holes, we shouldn’t fill them with these potential dangers.
Honors College, Political Science Major
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