LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Greek life hurts, rather than helps, campus community

Last Friday, a good friend of mine, who rarely drinks, tagged along with friends to her first fraternity party.

While there, someone handed her a drink, then another, and another, until she ended up blacking out, requiring the help of several friends to make it back to her dorm.

The fraternity is not entirely at fault for what happened.

The carelessness of my friend is definitely also to blame.

But what is most to blame is the predatory culture within our society that allows for vulnerable individuals, especially women, to be disrespected, disgraced and taken advantage of.

Such disgusting behavior has occurred within my own cross country team as well as in other Allegheny athletic teams.

Still, it is upsetting to think that the people responsible for making my friend’s horrible night possible were representing an organization supposedly devoted to moral excellence and community service.

Greek members have to rethink this serious gap between their advertised morals and their actual behavior.

Changing the behavior at frat parties would be much easier if it was not so entrenched. Problems with fraternity and sorority parties occur at nearly every college and university that has them.

Even in the Ivy League, with such an esteemed student populace, members of Greek organizations participate in destructive and often illegal activities. Just months ago, Columbia University had five fraternity members arrested and three fraternity chapters suspended due to drug trafficking.

Alcohol consumption and drug use are not the only activities that Greek systems encourage.

Violent crimes as severe as rape and murder have been linked to Greek life for decades, and Allegheny is not immune to these more repulsive activities.

Certain progressive-minded colleges and universities have dismantled their Greek systems in the hopes of freeing their campus community from their abhorrent practices.

Many of these schools have found immense student support for removing Greek life and have seen their institutions prosper both socially and academically.

Evidence of this can be seen in a recent “U. S. News and World Report” analysis which showed that seven of the top ten most prestigious liberal arts schools in the country do not permit Greek organizations on campus.

The honor code and the college’s research on civility have painted Allegheny as a virtuous place.
It is time that Allegheny truly dedicates itself to ethical behavior and ban its Greek organizations.

Doing so will not be easy, as there are vocal Greek alumni, property rights issues over who owns the chapter houses and a resistant group of students who cling to the illusion of a moral Greek society.

It would be unfair to expect the college administration to start the movement given the small size of the school’s endowment and generous financial gifts coming from Greek alumni.

The unrest must come from the student body, the ones most affected. As Sam Finder wrote in an earlier column, “all that Greek life brings to campus [is] separation and division. The lines drawn by Greek life contribute nothing positive to our community.”

I have no doubt that a grassroots movement could be started at Allegheny. There is no reason students should continue to tolerate the disease that is Greek.

We deserve a safer environment and a more accepting social scene.