As soon as I came across this opinion piece in JMU’s student newspaper, I knew what it was all about. Its title is “Some Organizations Are Giving JMU A Bad Name.” Would anyone care to guess which organizations the author is referring to? Did you guess fraternities and sororities? If so, you are correct.
It’s the easy answer, really. Whenever GDIs talk about their schools’ problems, it seems as if they always blame the Greek community. I didn’t stop reading just because of the title, though. I stuck around and saw what the author had to say. She could have been on to something, right? No, not really. Not at all, actually.
She starts off with a bit of truth, which is good, considering the majority of her column is absolute bullshit.
When I think of JMU, I think of its overall emphasis on giving back to others, to the university and to the community.
Hell yeah. JMU is all about giving back to the community? Sounds good to me. Let’s keep reading.
However, as a senior on the cusp of graduation, I am worried about the future attitude portrayed by my fellow Dukes creating a negative legacy. I have recently been subject to the most shocking and rude behaviors I have ever encountered at JMU by those proudly representing their campus or Greek organizations etched onto their oversized sweatshirts and quarter-zips.
To be fair, she didn’t exclusively single out Greek organizations–but I think we can all agree the Greeks are exactly who she’s talking about. So, is she some anti-Greek activist or something? According to her, she’s far from that.
I have no problem with Greek organizations in general. In fact, to be clear, I have many friends in social sororities.
That’s an interesting way to establish rapport. I don’t necessarily buy it, but at least she’s not outright bashing us.
I think it’s great that each social Greek organization is heavily involved with its philanthropy, representing an amazing cause. I also recognize the importance of sisterhood and brotherhood within these organizations; without a college family how can you really enjoy the “best four years of your life?”
Hell, it almost sounds like she’s cool with us. Almost.
Many involved with these organizations, however, send devastatingly wrong messages to other students.
Damn it. Here we go–here comes the rant.
I have tried extremely hard not to allow my prejudices to blur my vision of many of the students on campus, but unfortunately, I find myself rolling my eyes, thinking “My God, they are clones of each other. Shallow clones.” It does not need to be this way though. The actions I have witnessed all four years at JMU have put me in this predicament.
Well, at least she tried not to let her prejudices get in the way of actual, sound judgment. Unfortunately, trying doesn’t always equal success, and the author certainly didn’t succeed. As a matter of fact, it seems as though all she has really done is make assumptions and come to conclusions based off the very prejudices she has tried to avoid during college.
Only days ago in Carrier Library I was studying in a designated quiet area. A group of Greek letter-clad female students spoke as if they were the only ones in the building. Politely, I went up to their conversation, which had been going on for a total of 45 minutes, and told them I was trying to study. Appalled that I had interrupted them, one replied with a snide, sour tone, “We’ll be done soon.”
Oh shit! It’s on now. They were loud in the quite zone! String ’em up and let ’em hang in the public square, guys. Seriously though, is that really such a big deal? Don’t get me wrong, it sounds like those girls were being assholes. I get that. I get that completely. But is it fair to judge Greek life, an entire institution, off the actions of a few jerks? Does the fact that those few individuals were loud in the study area mean that all Greeks are douchebags? Basic argumentative logic tells me no, but for some reason, I get the feeling that the author wasn’t using too much of that. It’s okay, though. We’re all guilty of letting our emotions get the best of us at times. Let’s keep chugging along here.
A similar instance caught me off guard while in line for food. A tall young man decorated in his social fraternity letters nudged me out of the way to see if his food was ready. No apology, no “Excuse me.” This person treated me as if I were invisible. I remember muttering under my breath, “Umm. I’m a person. I exist.”
Wow. That guy sounds like a tool–I agree with the author on that. Somebody make sure this kid has to pledge again so he can learn to be a gentleman. But again, I have to ask myself if it’s really fair to judge all Greek life, or even this guy’s chapter, just because of the actions of one person? I don’t think so. Why is the author so pissed off? Maybe she feels left out.
I feel this way often with those in Greek and other popular campus organizations. I feel that I don’t matter as a fellow Duke because I don’t have the right letters or logo mounted on my chest. I write about these two specific instances because they are the most fresh in my mind. Unfortunately however, I witness these instances constantly.
That’s a bummer. Unfortunately for the author, this kind of whining about feeling left out just makes her look like she’s bitter. I’m not trying to be disrespectful, ma’am. I’m just saying.
Well, she gave Greek life a bashing, but at least she didn’t say anything about hazing, right? Wait, she did? Fuck.
From time to time, I think about the conversation I witnessed last year, shortly after the chaos known as Rush was over.
While standing in line, minding my own business, two girls in front of me very audibly began speaking about the sorority they had recently joined; they were talking about hazing.
“I know JMU is super anti-hazing,” the girl on the left said. “But, oh my God, it definitely happens.”
To which the girl on the right replied, “Yeah, I was literally forced into the trunk of a car last night.”
Hazing doesn’t happen at JMU. I say again: all fraternities and sororities at JMU are non-hazing organizations. Forced into a trunk? Something like that would never happen. Again, all JMU Greek organizations have strict non-hazing policies. Every chapter sends its members to anti-hazing seminars and each chapter requires its members to sign an anti-hazing petition.
Even if someone was allegedly shoved in a trunk–the key word here being allegedly–that doesn’t mean the organization is all about hazing and forcing people into the trunks of cars. Like I said before, you can’t judge an entire organization based solely off the actions of a few individuals.
How can you even try to say JMU’s Greek life is giving the school a bad name? While Springfest was before the author’s time, let’s not forget that the rioting and destruction was mostly caused by people unaffiliated with Greek organizations. What about all the service and philanthropy? I can think of a few JMU chapters that have raised a shit ton of money for good causes. They have also raised awareness about key issues, and they have served those in need. And, of course, who could forget JMU Greek life’s most recent service to the school? JMU fraternities and sororities sent the folks from I’m Shmacked running–and if anything, they ought to receive a medal for that.
JMU is a friendly school, which, as the author states, is all about serving others and bettering the world in which we live. However, it seems as though some Dukes are not friendly. Some people, like the author, are extremely prejudiced. Who would have thought that today, we’d still have this kind of flagrant prejudice on our college campuses? Seriously, the author has decided that certain organizations at JMU, particularly fraternities and sororities, are giving the school a bad name solely because her interactions with a few individuals weren’t great. Riddle me this, people: in what other scenario would it be rational or reasonable to judge a huge group of people based on the actions of a few? I thought that we, as a society, are better than this kind of behavior. I guess not.
We shall overcome.
[via The Breeze]
Image via jmu.edu