Fraternities and sororities have been under much scrutiny from surrounding communities, university officials, and media. However, members of the greek system say the good they do outweighs to few instances of bad behavior.
Negative aspects include rape accusations and racial discrimination have been top headlines in the news in recent times.
In a BuzzFeed article written on Aug. 24 of 2015, Javier Moreno, discussed the trouble of University of Virgina’s Old Dominion University’s Sigma Nu chapter, which has been temporarily suspended. The chapter was suspended because members displayed large banners with sexually suggestive behaviors. These banners included sayings such as “Rowdy and fun, hope your baby girl is ready for a good time,” “Freshman daughter drop off,” and “Go ahead and drop off mom, too.”
The national office of Sigma Nu has since sent this chapter a notice that it was being suspended, “pending the outcome of an investigation.”
Other recent negative news involving greek life is hazing. At the University of Utah there is a zero tolerance policy. One student, Chun Hsein Deng who went by Michael, suffered a brain injury while being hazed and was taken to a hospital an hour later. In a BuzzFeed article on Sept. 14, 2015 written by Claudia Koerner, it states, “Police told reporters Deng was blindfolded and carrying a backpack weighing 30 pounds as a line of fraternity brother tackled him and threw him to the ground.”
Deng’s family is now suing against the fraternity for wrongful death. Deng family believes that even though the fraternity’s national office does not permit hazing, the family believes the fraternity knew the hazing ritual was being practiced in multiple locations.
Ambra Jackson, the Panhellenic Council president at the University of Utah, is strongly opposed to hazing.
“Hazing essentially demotes the value of our sisterhood and brotherhood. It also contradicts many of the values our organizations were founded on,” Jackson said. “Research has showed that there are numerous harmful effects on individuals as well.”
Financial concerns are also a negative aspect of fraternity and sorority life. McCall Davis, a former Delta Gamma member, had personal challenges with the financial components. “I dropped for a few reasons. I wasn’t close to a lot of girls, so that also made it financial because I wasn’t investing my time in the side events, like formals or date nights, so money became a problem.”
Lexie Maschoff, the president of Delta Gamma, commented on the reason why women or men drop from their organizations — if primarily they don’t enjoy being apart of their organization or if it is because of other reasons. Maschoff said, “Honestly people don’t usually drop because they don’t like it or it that is the reason they don’t tell me that. They’ll usually just say that they have financial reasons.”
Overall, the main reason as to why women and men drop from their organization is because of the financial issues.
On the contrary, being a part of fraternity and sorority life is gaining a large amount of networking opportunities. Matty Collett, an active member of Delta Gamma, said, “Being a part of Delta Gamma was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Not only have I found amazing friends, but I’ve also made amazing networking opportunities with new jobs and internships.”
Being a part of fraternity and sorority life also means that you are required participate and complete a certain number of hours. Ambra Jackson commented on community service saying,
“During the fall and winter, chapters will offer to rake leaves or shovel snow for their neighbors,” Jackson said. “Of course it is difficult to live next to college housing, essentially, but greeks are doing a better job of being more respectful of the area.”
In an informal survey of fraternity and sorority members, members were asked the following questions:
- Do you use your personal income to pay for your college tuition?
- How are your dues paid?
- Does your organization require service hours?
- How many service hours do you complete each semester?
- What outside organizations are you apart of on campus?
The 100 responses to this survey gave these results:
- 33% said that they use their own personal income to pay for college tuition.
- 47% said that they use their own personal income to pay for their organization’s dues.
- 93% said that their organization requires service hours and they complete those hours.
- 38% said that they complete over 15+ community service hours per semester.
- Outside organization involvement on campus includes:
- Student government
- U of U Cheer Team
- Air Force ROTC
- Entrepreneur Club
- One Love
- Ethics Club
- Business Scholars
- Honors College
- Global Business Brigades
- Bioengineering USAC
“I think the greek system at the University of Utah needs to continue to educate our members on the importance of diversity and conclusion,” Jackson said. “These conversations have been occurring in our community and I am excited to see how we continue to progress.”
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