There’s been a lot of talk about fraternities, rape and Greek solidarity. I think much of this discussion has been misguided and confused by the actions of the administration and certain activist group(s).
First off, the administration missed the point entirely by placing a moratorium on Greek social activities. What indication is there to suggest that it is something about Greek parties in particular that is conducive to rape or getting dangerously drunk as opposed to parties in general? Why not put a moratorium on all campus parties? We could get a better grasp on the actual situation by comparing data of instances of rape, or alcohol poisoning, or whatever ensuing from Greek parties with that of non-Greek parties, but nobody has thought to do that. Now, if the data did suggest that Greek parties resulted in more undesirable consequences than non-Greek parties, the next step would be to specify which Greek organizations, and then to find out why.
This brings me to my second complaint – that the administration punished the entire Greek system rather than just the offending organizations. There is a big difference in saying that there is a problem in something about Greek life in general as opposed to something about a particular Greek organization. If our goal is to identify a problem and then to resolve it, then we can’t ignore this distinction.
My third objection is that it is wrong, or at least questionable, to associate the actions of one member with the entire organization. A person’s fraternity or sorority is only one part of that person’s life. The fraternity/sorority does not dictate one’s actions. Sure, you could say that there was influence – that something in the Greek system or in the habits of one particular organization perpetuates and encourages certain activities – but nothing like that has been shown, only assumed.
Now the confusion that I was talking about earlier arises out of the actions of the administration and the implicit messages such actions expressed. The posters put up by activist groups putting the blame on the Greek system helped too. The product of said confusion was a call for “Greek solidarity.” But Greek solidarity against what; for what? At least in one sense, isn’t Greek solidarity in this context a defense of rape and alcoholism? Instead of calling for Greek solidarity, Greek organizations should have been criticizing the poor judgment of the administration. Don’t pretend as if nothing has gone wrong, even if you are in some sense a victim.
The administrative ban on Greek activities only obscured what was really at issue here: that there are cases of rape occurring on campus and that this is a serious problem. Nothing proactive was done. What resulted was a temporary ban (and people found other places to party in the meantime, so really nothing was accomplished) and a misguided call for Greek solidarity. What all this shows is that the administration is at a loss as to what course of action they should take in response to the recent events. Finding a convenient scapegoat, though, is a temporary solution at best.
Class of 2010