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For any collection of red-blooded Greek 18-to-22-year-old degenerates, there comes a point in your fraternity’s life span when you will have pushed nationals and your university’s Greek life directors to the edge. You’ve already used every “get out of jail free” card within sight, and no amount of alumni donations are going to cover up the fact that one of your actives decided to use his Chem 101 lab as the locale in which to showcase his own personal one-man staging of Breaking Bad (not the part where they make the meth, but the part when Jesse has a drug/sex marathon in his bachelor pad/crack den).
Eventually, every chapter will encounter the one thing that makes The Usual Suspects interrogations look like a 7th grade career day Q&A: a membership review, also known as “a purge.”
Membership reviews have been sweeping across campuses as of late, with Greek life directors hoping to keep their cushy jobs that involve them doing their best 1930s Mussolini impression and nationals trying to save face in the midst of unprecedented outside pressures. In the face of outrage by local media or butthurt campus liberals maddened by your chapter’s “Fish Taco Tuesdays for Vaginal UTI Awareness” philanthropy, nationals have no choice but to roll into town and throw out brothers faster than you can say “innocent until proven guilty.” With that in mind, here are some things to consider.
1. Some of you are fucked
There’s no easy way to say this. Nationals officials aren’t traveling away from their couches and episodes of Castle/families only to arrive on your doorstep, take a peek around, and pull a Nick Saban with his defensive players.
“Welp, everything looks good here! No sign of anything that could be morally or legally a problem for me! Shit, Jones, get that girl an ice pack or a bag of peas for that eye.”
Heads are going to roll, and oftentimes its going to be the heads of the brothers that caused whatever shitshow that brought the nationals guys in to begin with. However shitty this might sound, it’s something that is inevitable.
2. Some of you are going to want to save as many lives as you can
Doing your best Sarah McLachlan, some of you will do whatever you can to embellish, cover up, or lie about your buddies’ past indiscretions in an effort to retain as many guys as possible. It’s a noble and respectful position, but it comes at a cost. On the off chance your nationals guys have done their homework, they already know which brothers are the ones who have been a positive influence on the chapter and which ones are still banned from the local Mexican restaurant after last Cinco de Mayo when they tried to drunkenly “retake the Alamo.” While you might be able to convince them that they were just trying to remember their history, too much bending of the truth can put you in danger of being kicked out as well.
3. Some of you are going to want to watch the world burn
With two or three years of exchanges and semis under your belt, some of you might decide it’s better to ride off into the sunset — and take the whole fraternity down with you. You think that nationals has sold out, your Greek life director has had a 48-month-straight period that she won’t ever shake, and that it’s better to be the one to light the match than watch the chapter limp on like some poor, diseased puppy (cue Sarah McLachlan music). You’ve seen Old Yeller; you know the score. Time to put this thing out of its misery.
But this attitude is the utter worst. Unless nationals plans on kicking out virtually everyone, which would be as counter-productive as a shotgun shell to the groin, you’re pretty much egging them on to kick out just enough guys to cause the very “diseased puppy” status you wanted to avoid. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. This mindset is the fraternal equivalent of a cult leader wanting his followers to drink the cyanide-laced Kool-Aid. Better to voluntarily walk away than to take everyone with you. Plus, what’s to stop the 10-15 guys that were kicked out from chilling at every party and tagging along on every late night pizza run? “Nothing” is the answer you’re looking for.
4. Some of you won’t even show up for the review
Pretty much a guarantee you’re gone.
Membership reviews are the worst — no doubt about it. However, they can and should be looked at as an opportunity for change. Whatever got your chapter to the brink of extinction clearly cant be going on moving forward, regardless of how funny it was. Change, however painful, is oftentimes needed.
Membership reviews are like prostate exams: you can either have the awkward one finger, or you can have the whole damn fist. One can all but ensure long-term survival of your chapter in both nationals’ and the university’s eyes, and the other will just leave the chapter bloody, bruised, and gaping. Your choice….