The George Washington University Cracks Down On Greek Life

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The George Washington University, located in the nation’s capital, recently unveiled new statutes in an effort to crackdown on off campus parties and underage drinking. The problem with these new sanctions is that they do not apply to the student body at large, but rather, only members of the Greek community.

The university stated that they will collect the off campus address of every student belonging to a fraternity or a sorority and create an online complaint form for neighbors to report any disturbances. Rather than receive a noise complaint from the city’s metropolitan police, students will face university disciplinarian actions, despite living off campus. Additionally, GW is encouraging the Foggy Bottom community to record video footage of any student parties and hand the material over to school officials.

The university will hold mandatory meetings for members of Greek life in late August, as well as require said students to participate in online courses speaking to the new disciplinary changes. Students refusing to participate will have a hold placed on his or her account, preventing them from registering for classes.

GW stated that these new sanctions are in an effort to appease and work with the university’s neighbors, many of whom are older, working professionals. This claim, unfortunately, loses all credibility over the fact that not all students are being treated (and come fall, disciplined) equally.

The new rules are aimed solely at members of Greek life, falsely and offensively implying that students belonging to a fraternity or sorority are somehow degenerates who must be kept on a tighter disciplinary leash than students belonging to other organizations. To describe these sanctions as anything other than a witch-hunt would be a vast and an unacceptable minimization.

For years now, our lawmakers and university officials have attempted a widely swept crackdown on the Greek community. Movies such as Animal House and Old School offer humorous glimpses into the most outrageous and extreme spectrum of Greek life, yet outsiders run with these depictions, thinking no more of Greek life than keg parties and rowdy behavior. When in reality, this could not be further from the truth.

Yes, members of fraternities and sororities throw parties, but so do students who do not identify with any letters. At some point, however, someone decided that every collegiate problem stemmed from those identifying with Greek life, and colleges across the country ran with it.

It truly is unfortunate, this disdain that many outsiders seem to have for fraternities and sororities — unfortunate and unfair. Rarely, if ever, are stories of philanthropic events or successful fundraisers covered. The media doesn’t care that the GW chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha raised over $80,000 for burn victims last year during their annual ‘Fireman’s Challenge’ event, or that the Sigma Chi chapter raised a near equivalent for Children’s Miracle Network through their Derby Days events. It isn’t reported when members of Kappa Kappa Gamma go to inner-city elementary schools to mentor students, or that nearly thirty girls in the chapter participated in D.C.’s Walk MS in support of the father of one of the sisters who is currently battling the illness. But I suppose these stories don’t fit into the media’s idea of Greek life.

This anti-Greek epidemic is unacceptable, and it is tragic. These Draconian crackdowns enforced by colleges and universities nationwide will do nothing but prevent future members from joining, though that is arguably their goal.

From the outside looking in, Greek life cannot be understood, but that does not mean that it should be feared. Statistically speaking, 71% of members of sororities and fraternities will graduate from college, compared to only 50% of those who do not identify with an organization. Members of Greek life make up the largest group of volunteers in the country. All but two presidents have belonged to a fraternity. 76% of U.S. Senators were a member of a sorority or fraternity. And 85% of Fortune 500 CEOs belonged to Greek Organizations.

We’re not monsters, we’re not drunks, and we’re not criminals. We are leaders. We are upstanding citizens. We are not to be feared. Rather than alienate this community, colleges and universities should be embracing it. The time has come to stop tarnishing the reputation of the Greek community. Respect us, and we’ll respect you.

[via The GW Hatchet,]

Image via Bloomsberg Businessweek




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  1. 128
    ice cold frat

    “The university stated that they will collect the off campus address of every student belonging to a fraternity or a sorority and create an online complaint form for neighbors to report any disturbances. Rather than receive a noise complaint from the city’s metropolitan police, students will face university disciplinarian actions, despite living off campus.”

    Germany circa 1935?

    ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
  2. 53
    Colton H Chambers

    I will comment as I am VERY familiar with the situation. in the 2000’s GWU built school owned Greek housing. With this new housing they could control Greek life. The GWU “Police” aka security officers will walk through the house a number of times on weekends through common areas to ensure no party is going on. The main common area has tons of windows so people can see what is going on inside and they are not allowed to cover the window. Phi Sig has always refused to move into university owned housing, along with DTD, TKE and Beta. The Phi Sig house is the only house that is connected to University builidngs. I believe the NROTC building is next door and next to the NROTC building are a bunch of admin offices down the whole block. Phi Sig had the student body president and a very popular guy on campus who owns Foggy Bottom Grocery and Relaxed Spa. He had a very good relationship with the University President, Stephen Tractenberg. Tractenberg would let the greeks do whatever the fuck they wanted pretty much and he viewed their houses as private property.. After Tractenberg fucked up and was fired the school started cracking down on things like it hadn’t before. From what I understand they new guy does not view these independently owned houses as privately owned, he views them as school property, especially Phi Sig’s house. University police would always come and try to make noise complaints at these houses, especially Phi Sig, what did all these collective houses do? They would have recent grads show up and give the police their GW ID’s so no one would get into trouble for noise fines, as these guys were not students.

    What the current Admin fails to realize is that many of these fraternities have some powerful alumni, especially Phi Sig since they’ve been there since the 1800’s or something without getting kicked off campus, who work in government in DC including DHS, military, etc. The locals who complain about noise are mostly old rich widows and or really old men and women who live nearby and have NOTHING better to do.

    Parents also pay A LOT of money for their kids at GWU and will gladly stop sending their kids there if that is how the school will operate. This might bite them in the ass.

    This is from a close friend of mine who was a Phi Sig at GWU in the mid 2000’s but is active with their alumni association.

    ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
    • -1
      ice cold frat

      It’s a private school, they can do just about whatever they like in regards to organizations affiliated with them. It’s unfortunate and arguably discriminatory, yes. But illegal, sadly, no.

      ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
    • -9
      Jon M Fratsman

      I know what you’re saying, but if they take any federal funds, and I mean ANY, they still have to abide by Title IX rules for organizations. There’s a 0% chance this would hold in court.

      ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
  3. 15

    So GWU’s Greek students’ academics will be affected for actions done irrelevant to the school’s jurisdiction? Makes perfect sense…

    ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago
  4. 5

    Great article. Truly is an accurate article about how the media views Greek life. Last two paragraphs is what makes me damn proud to be Greek.

    ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 2 years ago

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