I usually don’t like to do what I’m about to do, mostly because the students that write pieces like the one I’m about to share with you are doing so to get attention. It’s an opinion piece, too, and although some opinions stink worse than others, just like assholes, we all got ’em. Furthermore, writing for a school paper is a great place to get your feet wet. You’re immersed in the very culture you’re writing about, there aren’t a ton of eyes on your work yet, and you’re still an amateur, so it’s almost to be expected that a piece or two you publish will fall short. It’s great experience, and it’s a résumé builder.
However, we sometimes come across a piece that so egregiously misrepresents the truth that a response becomes dutiful. And when that misrepresentation is about Greek like, it becomes mandatory.
The column in question is from The Hatchet, an independent student newspaper from George Washington University. It has created a small buzz around campus, and I know this because our news tip line has been blowing up about it. The comments below the article are also rather lively and entertaining.
The column, “The sham friendships of Greek life,” is written from the jaded perspective of an independent GW student. In it, author Jarred Stancil claims that many of the friendships acquired by Greek members are forced, mandatory, and superficial. They’re “shams,” according to him. It seems clear to me that, somewhere along the way, young Jarred’s jimmies were rustled something serious, and this is his straw-grasping attempt to rustle back.
Let’s take a closer look and break down some excerpts from “The sham friendships of Greek life.”
As a transfer student, I can relate to incoming freshmen who want to find a community and close friends. But there are better ways to accomplish this than through Greek life.
No, there aren’t.
Because GW has about three times the number of student in Greek life than it did a decade ago, the problem is even more startling.
What problem? You haven’t addressed a single problem yet. And who’s startled? Startled about what? Startled about these so-called faux friendships you’re about to delve into?
Everyone wants to find a group where they fit in, and everyone wants to make good friends, but the number one priority should be finding people who like you because they want to, not because you belong to a collective where friendship and bonding is required.
Are you forgetting that rushees get to choose which house to join? It’s a mutual vetting process, and one with a really goddamn high success rate. To add, if the pledge decides — during the TEN WEEK “feeling out” process known as pledging — that he’s no longer digging the members, or his new “required” friends, he can cut bait and drop out whenever he wants. This isn’t a North Korean work camp, Jarred. Everyone who participates does so by choice.
Those who go Greek have an obligation to these people no matter what. Forget if you’d rather do something more productive on Friday night than a mixer – new members are often obligated to attend some group event. Sometimes, these are friendships based on obligation, and not on any real connection.
This paragraph makes it clear you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. None. How did you come to the conclusion that relationships among one’s chapter are obligations? Did you even speak to a single member of a fraternity or sorority? Post-pledgeship, members aren’t obligated to anyone.
When I was pledging, for example, I grew to loathe a certain pledge brother of mine. Just a total asshole, this guy. He rubbed me the wrong way from the jump. I even told him as much. Yeah, it happens — we don’t all get along. So, you know what I did about it? I didn’t hang out with that asshole. Problem solved. When we were at the same place, I let him do his thing while I did mine. Sure, I held a certain level of respect for him. After all, he was my pledge brother. I just didn’t like the asshole, and I treated him like the asshole he was.
Read a book, Jarred. It’s amazing how many college journalists willfully neglect to do research, even for opinion pieces, because they’re more interested in firing off an ill informed, biased rant that would be otherwise ruined by gaining some perspective. Jarred would like to present his audience with his opinion, but he would not like it to be an educated one. Fair enough, Jarred, hard work is hard. We get it. I bet you this guy dogs on Fox News for doing the exact same type of thing all the time. Pretty funny, really.
A better way to make friends on campus is by joining student organizations. Theater companies or multicultural student organizations, for example, allow for a sense of community while pursuing a shared passion. Members of student organizations are free to choose which other members they would like to be close with. These friendships are more likely to remain genuine because you get to pick them as opposed to having them chosen for you.
I’m going to save my spiel about all the benefits of joining a Greek organization. The list is long, and frankly, we’ve been there too many times before. But if you truly — I mean truly — believe one’s time in college would be better served in theater or “multicultural” student organizations over the lifestyle and endless benefits that a fraternity provides you, you’re not playing with a full deck of cards. And by the way, Jarred, you can be in a fraternity and STILL join those other organizations, or any other organization, if you so desire. Of course Jarred doesn’t acknowledge that, because, again, it’s not in line with his dogshit, biased argument.
Here comes the bet hedge, although he caps it off with his same made up nonsense.
In fairness, strong friendships can be forged through Greek life, and some people choose to join fraternities and sororities as a result of real connections made during the rush process. But any friendship that includes obligation to a group as a condition for inclusion insults the concept of friendship.
You’re an insult. Roasted.
The comments, as I mentioned before, are pretty entertaining. Jarred meets many dissenters, many of whom are aggressively pro-Greek and anti-Jarred.
There are a few on Jarred’s side, however. Here’s one that I actually loved:
I’m a little peeved now. I just wrote this whole rebuttal under the assumption that fraternity members at GW were normal dudes, and not a bunch of Martha’s Vineyard fruitcakes who wear bright blue Chubbies and jerk each other off every weekend. I can definitely see why Jarred, and others like him, didn’t want to be required to befriend these animals. Quite the curveball there. I might side with Jarred after this revelation.
The Hatchet, as aptly named as any publication ever was.
[via The Hatchet]