Blaming Greeks For Your Campus Problems Is The Easy And Cheap Way Out

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At the end of last November, the entire Greek system at California State University, Chico was suspended indefinitely. Since the start of the spring semester this year, each chapter has worked tirelessly to earn their spots back on campus.

Being a leader in my chapter, I can attest to the work that has been done. We have completed paperwork, presentations, community service, all while not having the privileges of social functions or philanthropy events. We have given it all we have and thus far have gotten nothing in return from the school administration. Unless you count continued scrutiny.

Greeks are held to a higher standard at every college campus. But truthfully, the circumstances under which this suspension occurred are outrageous. A Sigma Pi pledge went out for his 21st birthday, drank too much at a bar and ended up in the hospital. He was induced into a coma and tragically died days later. It was tragic, but he was drinking legally, he was not at a Greek-sponsored event, and he was with members of various sports teams on campus for most of the night, not Greeks. He was also a member of a campus sports team, who received no punishment for this event. Days later the Greek Wide suspension was announced and every Greek member on this campus has been negatively affected by it.

This was not enough to stop all Greeks from trying to regain their previous standing. After all the hard work, the Greek system has just suffered another setback. Just this week, the administration announced that Pike will be suspended for THREE years for “hosting” an around-the-world themed event, attended by various community members including non-Greeks. Sigma Chi will be suspended for two years for “allegedly” brewing beer in their house, and Gamma Phi Beta is suspended for one year for “allegedly” holding an unsanctioned social event.

The extent of the sanctions is unprecedented and uncalled for. The administration seems like it will stop at nothing to bring the whole Greek system down. Here’s a heads up: It is not going to work. I know that there are plenty of other Greek systems in this country going through the same types of issues. I would like to ask those administrations to question what is the benefit of this?

In case you didn’t notice, nobody even talked about the fact that someone actually died once you suspended each and every Greek organization on campus. All anyone talked about was how rash and uncalled for the decision was.

The fact is the administration is self-serving. The school has gotten publicity for this event and how it has been handled. It’s easier, frankly, to blame the Greeks than to address any broader or more deep-seeded issues.

I recently took a Business Dynamics course on campus. A lesson in my textbook by John D. Sterman referred to the “counterintuitive behavior of complex systems”. Meaning that attempts to stabilize a system may actually destabilize it, and that policies can have unintended side effects, effectively leading to the exact opposite of the initial goal.

Here is a prime example. Walking out of the BMU when the suspension was announced, I heard countless people saying “fuck this, lets go drink” right after that guy had died from drinking. I would encourage the school administration to educate itself on the policy resistance created and the many past examples that illustrate this point and its consequences.

I don’t understand why school administrations are trying to push out the Greeks. Not only does Greek life increase your networking skills, and provide leadership opportunities for college students, it poises you to be successful in life. It pushes students to go beyond themselves, and be a representative of something bigger. David Stollman, Cofounder of CAMPUSSPEAK has said “I really see that there’s a great correlation between those skills being developed and the ability to be successful in any endeavor,” he said. “Not necessarily just famous-successful, like a president or CEO, but successful as a community leader or as a small business owner.”

But don’t worry, being Greek does poise you to be more successful than a GDI running for President or CEO. According to a USA Today article, 85% of Fortune 500 executives were part of Greek life and all but three U.S. Presidents since 1825 have been fraternity members. Of course, these are things that we as Greeks already know, and something administrations like the one at Chico State refuse to acknowledge. If you look at how the handled the death that brought us here, it is evident they aren’t big fans of “facts.”

Being an active member in my Greek organization has turned my college town into my home. It’s where I have found my best friends and grown as a leader and a person. Not only within my chapter but beyond to other campus organizations.

The amount of blame Greeks receive without any recognition for our amazing accomplishments is unacceptable. As a whole we are organized and high-achieving members of our campus community. The amount of blame that the sports teams and non-affiliated students receive for events they have contributed to is seemingly non-existent.

University administrations need to realize that imposing sanctions on Greek organizations has not changed the fact that each year people die from alcohol-related causes, not just college students, and not just sorority and fraternity members. According to an article from The Chronicle of Higher Education “after the American College Health Association surveyed officials at four-year colleges enrolling more than 1.3 million students in 2009-10, the data showed a significant gap, with college students having a lower mortality rate than do their peers not in college. The survey also found that students died more from suicide and less from automobile accidents and alcohol-related injuries than was previously thought.”

Is it possible there’s more to these troubling deaths than can be solved by sanctioning Greek organizations? Maybe there are other causes that could be investigated and other preventative measures that could be taken outside of the Greek system?

Schools should not be inhibiting future leaders from developing skills that will help them be successful. The school has asked us to “read our charters” and examine core values, and we have. I would like to ask that they examine theirs too, consider if blaming the Greeks is really solving the real issues with alcohol. It’s about time school administrations rose to the occasion and addressed the real issues and not just perpetuate stereotypes that they have seen proven false firsthand, in order to appease the media. Let’s be honest, that’s all a cowardly administration like Chico State is doing, appeasing the media. They should be ashamed of themselves.

I would say the Greeks will rise again, but we’ve always been at the top and regardless of what is thrown at us next, and that is where we are going to stay.




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  1. 108

    Good work. Nice to see people from the school in question giving a first-hand account of the issue and showing that this problem is being caused by the administration, not chapters and their members.

    ^ ThisTake a lapLog in or sign up to reply. • 3 years ago
    • 2
      Jon M Fratsman

      ^ A better idea, as FS1855 mentioned above, is for every chapter to threaten to declare independence and disaffiliate from the school while operating normally as far as nationals, etc. goes.

      The school may not need 1 house’s alumni support, or even 2 houses’, but they’ll sit up and pay the fuck attention if 26 threaten to go rogue.

      Honestly, if your houses are off-campus and owned by your alumni, you don’t need the school at all.

      ^ ThisTake a lapLog in or sign up to reply. • 3 years ago
    • -3
      Hoosier Fratter

      ^ While that might be a step in the right direction, the school would call your bluff on a transfer for sure. They know losing thousands of students would hurt them, but they know not even 10% of those students would actually follow through, if that.

      ^ ThisTake a lapLog in or sign up to reply. • 3 years ago
    • -4

      Drastic actions deserve drastic responses. Organize a petition and get every Greek to agree to transfer out of the school if the administration does not make steps towards a reconciliation. With thousands of people agreeing to leave the school will not have a choice.

      ^ ThisTake a lapLog in or sign up to reply. • 3 years ago
  2. 38

    Is the entire fucking Administration Geeds? If they aren’t, Nationals should fucking take their letters since they already got rid of their dignity for them.

    ^ ThisTake a lapLog in or sign up to reply. • 3 years ago
  3. 19

    Considering all of the free labor and community service hours that Greek Life puts into every campus, administrators continue to pile on Fed-like regulations on Greeks. Most of the BS has absolutely nothing to do with alcohol, just power grabs by the administrators.

    ^ ThisTake a lapLog in or sign up to reply. • 3 years ago
  4. 19

    You’re in luck since you go to a public school. Public universities are held to a higher due process standard and that means they can’t take away your right to assembly (aka joining a fraternity). Only private colleges can totally ban greek orgs. Better contact some good lawyers, I would suggest either FIRE or the ACLU.

    ^ ThisTake a lapLog in or sign up to reply. • 3 years ago
  5. 10

    Are your alumni not donating money? If all fraternity alumni and collective alumni boards pulled their yearly donations you bet your ass that cock sucker dean wouldn’t suspend anyone at my school.

    ^ ThisTake a lapLog in or sign up to reply. • 3 years ago
  6. 8

    At my university, Greek Life has a pretty large presence on campus. Out of about 12,000 undergraduate students, nearly 22% are Greek. Out of students that live on campus, about 45% are Greek. Being Greek myself, I know all the wonderful things these organizations do, and we too, have found ourselves in several situations where fraternities and sororities are scrutinized because of several tragic events that have occurred over the past few years. There are several cases of students being severely injured, and in a few cases there are students that have died, all due to alcohol related incidents.

    There is a local TV news station that just LOVES to blame the Greeks on my campus. Anytime there is a story relating to Greek Life, they get biased opinions and interviews from students that are not even Greek, and just bash on us. Many of my friends were upset, much like yourself, about the fact that the media gives Greeks much more grief for negative events, rather than applause for their positive contributions to the community.

    However, I disagree with that idea.

    When did it become okay to behave inappropriately, and try and use our good deeds as a cushion? “Well we just donated x amount of money to this organization and completed x amount of service hours, so it’s ok to break the rules!” What?! I agree, Greeks do NOT get enough credit for the amount of good they do, and the amount of amazing leaders that come from these organizations, but these alcohol related incidents are separate from the positive things we do. Just because we do one good thing, doesn’t mean it cancels out something negative. Greeks need to take responsibility.

    Greeks are held to a higher standard everywhere, because being Greek means holding yourself to a higher standard! Not everyone gets the opportunity to be Greek, we are prestigious organizations that only accept the best. Whatever happened to invisible letters? It doesn’t matter if you are drinking legally, at a Greek event, or part of another group on campus, you are ALWAYS wearing your letters, and always representing the chapter you are affiliated with. Breaking rules, such as having alcohol in a chapter house, having socials that include alcohol, these are all things that are definitely not allowed! Alcohol is NEVER allowed on sorority property, and having “wet” functions is a big no-no. Do people get away with this stuff all the time? Absolutely. But that still doesn’t make it right. Perhaps we face bigger punishments as Greeks, because as Greeks, we have higher standards that other organizations do not. And if we are not going to live up to these standards, then why would any campus want to keep us around?

    I served as Chapter President in 2012, so I was ALWAYS looking at our manuals and ritual book. And even though our mottos and ritual are all different, it basically boils down to something very similar. We are here to make a positive impact on the world. To serve others, to be selfless, and to do the right thing. Yes, these events that happen with alcohol are horrible, and a lot could have been done to prevent them, and I agree with you when you say there is more that can be done to prevent these incidents than just shut down Greek chapters. Drinking is something that affects ALL students, not just Greeks. However, as Greeks, we have a responsibility to take action, to make sure things like alcohol poisoning don’t affect our membership. We have the opportunity to have programming events to educate our members on these types of things, so that we can go out into the world educated and fully-able to be a contributing member of society. Greek organizations are top-notch and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, but we all need to remember what it really means to be Greek.

    Sorry for the novel, my campus has just been dealing with almost the exact same thing, so it hits close to home. Good luck with all your efforts, I hope everything works out for all of the chapters on your campus.

    ^ ThisTake a lapLog in or sign up to reply. • 3 years ago

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