If you told me a week ago the University of Connecticut would appear on TotalFratMove twice in one week, I would have called you a liar without hesitation. So far this week, the university’s Kappa Kappa Gamma and Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapters have been suspended indefinitely, and it doesn’t appear the university is done making news just yet.
Yesterday, the Daily Campus–an independent student newspaper at the University of Connecticut–posted an opinion piece regarding the operation of fraternities and sororities, and how they need to be reformed. The writer, Gregory Koch, spent most of his article comparing fraternities and sororities to cults, based off of generic cult descriptions provided by the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) website.
In his article, Koch uses broad comparisons derived from famous historical cults. He attempts to generalize and punish Greek life as a whole based on the recent actions of a few. His illogical arguments range from what he perceives to be a lack of free thought to his disapproval of separate Greek housing. Most of his article seems to be laced with jealousy, and even a sense of vengeance.
Throughout the article, Koch proves he lacks a general understanding of the daily inner workings of a Greek organization. This discredits him severely, and leaves me questioning whether or not he is in any position to lay accusations against anyone in the Greek system. His lack of even a basic knowledge regarding Greek staples, such as independent housing and the process of initiation, leaves much to be desired. In fact, most of his arguments seem to be nothing more than grasping at straws, hoping to find something that is valid enough to support the weight of the rest of his illogical statements and comparisons.
I’m not going to dissect the entire article. However, I will highlight several quotes from the piece that exemplify his general misunderstanding of the Greek system, and therefore his lack of credibility in crucifying something of which he has no knowledge.
Although most Greek organizations have more than one leader, their orders are almost invariably followed without question out of fear of rejection or worse. Indeed, the ICSA reports that another quality of a cult is that “questioning, doubt and dissent are discouraged or even punished.”
The day I obey every order of my chapter’s president is the day I become an inactive member. There is not one Greek organization I am aware of in which fear and complacency are so dominant, their leaders are untouchable. Nobody–especially men in their early 20s–would allow someone to walk all over him or her without any consequences.
Furthermore, the very idea of calling people in an organization your “brothers” and “sisters” is eerily reminiscent of Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, which most sources refer to as a cult.
When Greek organizations copy the practice, it sends a message that loyalty and obedience to the fraternity is at least as important as loyalty and obedience to your family.
I may be an initiated member of a fraternity, but I am still a freethinking individual. I have not been brainwashed, and I am very much aware of who holds priority in my life. I love my brothers, but we all understand family comes first. That will never change. This is yet another example of the writer’s complete misunderstanding of the Greeks.
One more quality of cults is that “members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.” Many fraternities and sororities at UConn have their own residence halls in Husky Village, and most of the ones that do definitely encourage or even require members to live there, rather than in traditional residence halls with friends from outside the organization.
The fact Koch even tries to argue the reasoning behind Greek houses, while using completely inaccurate “facts” regarding Greek housing requirements, is astounding. There is not one Greek organization I am aware of that requires new members to live in the house immediately. I’m honestly not even sure that is legal. Living in the house is done so through one’s free will, and it is not a part of Greek life that everyone is interested in participating in. If he is going to criticize Greeks for their desire to loiter in areas where the majority of their friends gather, he must criticize everyone on campus–every student would be guilty.
This article is a very tough read for anyone who is familiar with Greek life. Thankfully, the commenters of the Daily Campus have already denounced almost every argument stated in the article.
Hopefully the backlash will provide a lesson for Koch that will teach him to leave the stereotypes behind, and to actually attempt to understand a way of life before striving to tear it apart.
For those of you interested in reading his entire article, please click the link below.
[via Daily Campus]
Image via UConnWelcomeMat