The article appeared in the Wall Street Journal and was titled "Shutter Fraternities for Young Women's Good" and basically implies that fraternity men are the cause of all problems on college campuses.
The final paragraph of the article states:
If you want to improve women's lives on campus, if you want to give them a fair shot at living and learning as freely as men, the first thing you could do is close down the fraternities.Now I'm not sure what your experience is with Greek Life on a college campus. Maybe you were in a fraternity or a sorority, and maybe you weren't. Maybe you despised Greek organizations. Maybe you didn't understand them. I'm not here to judge, but I think it's unfortunate that you didn't have an opportunity to experience Greek Life the way I did.
Yes, I was in a sorority. When I was a freshman and was looking to fit in, I met a group of women who made me feel at home. They made me feel comfortable in my skin, they understood my jokes and my concerns and my sarcasm, and they were truly my sisters. My sorority has been a major defining point in my life, for the good and the bad.
You see, like most experiences in life, there are some not-so-wonderful aspects to Greek Life. It's a big time commitment. Socials, philanthropies, sisterhoods. They take time. You might not like all your brothers and sisters. But you know, that happens with real life families too.
|My sisters are some of the greatest women I know... at least most of them (haha).|
The Greeks I know do amazing things. They make differences on their campuses and in their communities. Food and clothing drives and fundraisers are part of Greek Life too. I just wrote a story on a chapter of my international sorority, and they raised more than $17,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. That's just one chapter in one sorority.
But wait... this article is about fraternities. Should they be banned? Are they a danger to women?
I say no.
Sure, an organized group of men could be a threat. But this is true whether they are in a fraternity or not. The men I know in fraternities are men of character. True gentlemen. As a whole, they are outstanding men who do their part in the Greek community. They also have fun. Some of them make bad decisions. And yes, some of those bad decisions reflect poorly on the entire community.
I know that my sorority sisters could tell you about a group or two that have not made a positive impression on them. They have had awful, rotten experiences. But I can tell you that those same sisters would also probably say that some of their best times have come with fraternity men.
The unfortunate part of fraternities and sororities? The bad seeds. Every group has at least one. My sorority even had them. People who never showed up to things, pawned off their responsibilities because they didn't feel like doing their part, and people who really thought that being part of the Greek community was all parties and drinking. It's not. If you know a Greek organization that is solely interested in parties and drinking, you're only getting to know the type of organization that is portrayed on TV and in movies.
I have to agree with the article rebuttal on Jezebel: Banning Fraternities Won't Fix the Problem.
TJ Sullivan says that if you're going to fill your fraternity house, fill it with good brothers. It's true for both fraternities and sororities. Don't just fill to quota. Pick the best people. Pick good character. Pick people who are genuinely interested in what your group stands for (for example, my sorority believes in the 5 S's: self, service, social, scholarship, sisterhood). If someone is enthusiastic, make sure they are enthusiastic for the right reasons, not the parties or the drinking.
Education also needs to happen. At my alma mater, they have a program called No Zebras. Essentially, you may be a bystander but that doesn't mean you're not empowered to be part of a situation where someone looks like they are in trouble. Don't just stand by and let something happen; inject yourself into a potentially problematic situation and help prevent it. Stop it before it starts. Be part of the solution.
There will always be men (and women) who are part of the problem. There will be folks who are the cause of the problem. Realize that they give your group (your sisters, your brothers) a bad name. Don't let them drag you down. Don't let them give us all a bad reputation.
Fraternities as a whole are not the problem. Individuals who make extremely poor choices are, and should be punished or prosecuted accordingly.
How can Greek organizations change the perceptions and misconceptions people have about them?
I'm not sure what the answer is, but banning Greek organizations is not it.