Opinion: Greek Life should be restructured
Hazing in Greek Life often involves alcohol in sometimes fatal amounts. Penn State student Timothy Piazza died earlier this year after participating in a hazing ritual called "the guantlet," which involved heavy drinking.
When coming to college, establishing yourself is immanent. To do so, one must create social ties among others at the university. This can include meeting hall mates in your dorm, talking to unfamiliar faces in new classes and even joining Greek Life.
Out of all of the options many students choose to participate in Greek life, which for guys means joining a fraternity and for girls a sorority. When choosing to pledge to an organization, one must keep in mind its goals and aspirations. Joining them can generate new relationships and opportunities both in and out of college.
However, the reputation of Greek life has been tarnished over the last decade. With occurrences of rape, negative emails and hazing, frats and sororities have been under heavy scrutiny over their actions across universities around the nation. Greek life was thrown into the negative spotlight nationally again once the Pennsylvania State story of Timothy Piazza was brought to surface.
Piazza was a pledge for Beta Theta Pi this year when he was “handed a bottle of vodka to chug.” Afterward, he was unconscious for up to 12 hours until fellow frat members decided to call an ambulance, according to the New York Times. Piazza died before any help could reach him. In his autopsy report Piazza’s blood alcohol level was listed at four times the legal limit for driving.
Another case was reported at Georgia Tech where Phi Kappa Tau, a fraternity, was under investigation for sending out an email to its members containing guidelines on how to sexually take advantage of women at a party.
Neither of these incidents are unique. Instead they are both regular occurrences going on in these groups. Acts like these are bound to happen in the party scene in Greek life. With specific rules banning sororities from giving out alcohol at events, frats take the role of providing the sauce.
At some specific events, not only are pledges required to participate in drinking games, but they also have to obey what their elder members tell them. According to a study conducted by Jerry Tatum and J.T. Newberry in 2007, frat members are three times more likely to commit rape than other males in college.
It’s no secret that the best party scene on campus is typically run by an organization under Greek life. Only Greek life members are to be included in the activities, leaving non-Greek members to the curb. This type of behavior can result in a culture where elitism is created among the Greek.
It needs to be stopped. As a student here at the UA, I have experienced firsthand the discrimination of not being able to socialize with a larger group of people because I’m not Greek.
From all the stories that come out of Greek life, one must think that Greek life actually turns nice people into egotistical discriminators. Establishing new rules and new guidelines could potentially help the fumbling status of Greek chapters at campuses across the nation.
These organizations that claim to be built on brotherhood and sisterhood have been fabricated under scandals that nullify their morals. Providing these opportunities shouldn’t be abolished, but should be changed to cease a growing sensation of discrimination among Greek life and non-Greek members.
Follow Miles Schuk Ehler on Twitter