Pro/Con: Should Greek Life be Accepted?

Pro/Con: Should Greek Life be Accepted?

Spencer Hardwick and Olivia Vigo, Social Media Coordinator and Staff Writer

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PRO:

The world of Greek life is without a doubt interesting, and for many high school seniors on the verge of making the transition to college, one question in the forefront of many minds is whether or not to explore this world. On one hand, there is the picture presented by the media and popular culture. Movies portray fraternities and sororities as a non-stop bender, debauchery after debauchery with little care for the academic aspects of college. The media often portrays Greek organizations as not only raucous partiers, but also as a place where hopeful members are hazed with techniques that could be called into question by the Geneva Convention on Human Rights.

Although neither of these portrayals accurately represent Greek life, there is truth in both of them. Yes there is partying, and yes there is sometimes hazing, but there are also several intangible and tangible benefits that come from joining a fraternity or sorority. It is really up to the individual to get what he or she wants from membership.

Friendship

One of the most daunting aspects of the college experience is making new friends. Being thrust into a new place, maybe even a new state, can be tough on anyone. Fraternities and sororities help ease the transition by bringing together people who have similar interests, since each organization will have different rules, support different charities, and attract different types of people. Prospective members can choose which group works best for them, and the struggles that come with joining can create bonds that will last a lot longer than those four years. There is a reason it is often called a brotherhood.

Some people may bring up acts of “hazing” towards younger members, that they claim cross moral and ethical lines. But more often than not these are simply rumors, with no evidence in their founding. Are pledges sometimes made to do extra tasks that older members are exempt from? Yes, but this is no different than having an entry level job at a company and having to perform menial labor. Often the extent of the “hazing” – its simply extra labor designed to bond younger members through a shared experience.

Leadership

One way in which being a member of a Greek organization can prepare you for real life is by offering the ability to hold a leadership position. These include President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Risk Manager, all positions that require a substantial amount of diligence and effort to succeed at. Holding one of these positions can offer a student valuable real world skills that cannot be taught in the classroom, like leadership, interpersonal skills, and balancing a budget.

Charity and Academics

One important aspect of fraternity and sorority life is volunteer work. One charity or several in particular are often picked for a fraternity or sorority to support, and they hold regular events to raise money for them. This can sometimes be in the range of $100,000, and charity events can be anything from a concert to even forgoing spring break to walk 160 miles for charity, like one Alpha Tau Omega chapter did. Furthermore, Greek organizations regularly graduate more members, and possess GPA’s that are on average higher than their non-Greek counterparts, and have been for the last 20 years at schools such as the University of Georgia. Some fraternities or sororities even require a minimum GPA for membership, and if they don’t then the school may require it of them. These GPA’s are often as high as 3.00.

In conclusion, there are a long list of benefits to going Greek in college. Academics, people skills, and charity are just among the bigger aspects. But what we must remember is that members get out what they put in. Choosing to pledge a fraternity where partying, hazing, and other negative aspects that are mentioned in my opponents article occur is up to the individual. Although these organizations are undoubtedly in the minority, they do exist. But that doesn’t mean we should demonize the entity of Greek life just because of the actions of the few. Rather the problem is with the individuals and our culture as a whole. Bullying, sexual assault, and under age drinking happen all over college campuses, not just in the big brick house with the greek letters. Furthermore, these aren’t just a college problem either, as their appearance in many other aspects of life – high school, the workplace, etc – demonstrates. Choosing to single out fraternities doesn’t solve this problem, it is simply ignoring the source, and in the process taking away the institutions that take no part in some of the morally ambiguous rumors my opponent bring up. It is up to each individual to decide what matters more to them – four years of fulfilling brotherhood that enhances your college experience beyond the norm, or four years of unsuccessfully trying to copy the plot of American Pie every weekend.

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CON:

For many college students, Greek life is a huge aspect of their social lives, but the constant negative headlines in the news of fraternity brothers and sorority sisters has turned away many newcomers for obvious reasons.

Pledging

The first week of the new college year is spent socially with dude flirting and social drinking at fraternities. Then, a group of guys are picked at each frat to pledge. These pledges undergo hazing that often crosses the line of ethically acceptable and even legally permissible. Each year pledges die due to hazing usually involving excessive drinking, drugs or other accidental causes. This is not something fraternities should be proud of. Why must brothers put these men through a semester of bullying that has no positive outcome. Reportedly at the University of Texas at Austin, a fraternity has an annual hazing night where they lock the pledges in a closet with a puppy and a handle of alcohol and tell the men to “kill one.” These illegal actions are so atrocious I don’t understand why anyone would want to be affiliated with Greek life.

Rape

In college many women and men are at a constant risk for rape and sexual assault, especially at Greek life events. Fraternities host massive date parties where they supply alcohol that tends to be drugged by individuals who are members of the fraternities. Recently at UC Berkeley five girls were unknowingly given a date rape drug at a date event and pressed charges against sexual assault.

School Over Social Life

During pledging, typically the first semester of your college career, pledges are forced to do as the brothers say or risk being kicked out and even more brutal hazing. During this time many of the social events happen in the late hours of the night or during class hours. Attendees of these social events feel pressured to participate and it forbids study times and hours that these students should be spending on school.

Exclusiveness

Greek life has been stereotyped as a popularity contest that has led to severe bullying and excluding of students. Most people are accepted into fraternities after rush based on how “cool” they are, where they came from, race, or physical attractiveness so they will represent the house well. Greek life is supposed to be an accepting philanthropic group that has been transformed into a community of snobs who only care about their social image. This is a negative life that is glorified for all the wrong reasons. At a sorority at the University of Arizona, girls are placed on top of running washing machine and sisters circle fat that appears on bodies of the girls. Then they tell them to lose that weight or they will be kicked out of the group. This harassment and bullying leads to mental illnesses such as anorexia and depression.