It's time for sororities and fraternities on campus to go.

@bagarad (12852)
Paso Robles, California
September 13, 2011 3:09pm CST
I'm not sure when sororities, fraternities, and other secret and exclusive clubs became part of college, university, and even some high schools, but I think as they exist today they are detrimental to education. Student pledges today go through ordeals our government might consider torture if used against our enemies in interrogation. I just read through another discussion on hazing where people have lost their lives in horrible ways because of these practices, while others only suffered beatings that left them unable to get their pants off by themselves because of the bruising. If the things that go on in fraternity and sorority houses happened at home, protective services would step in to remove the child from the home, and some of these freshman are still under 18 when they leave home to go to school. Even if they are 19, does that make it acceptable to be cruel and abusive? Should extreme peer pressure to be accepted into one of these organization be allowed to pressure someone to drink until it kills him, as happened not long ago at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo? When I was at UCLA 40 years ago fraternities were known for encouraging and abusing alcohol use before the legal drinking age had been reached. The adminstrations make a lot of noise about disapproving, but only act decisively after an extreme case like student deaths. I think these "Greek" organizations have outlived whatever usefulness they may have had. They helped new students away from home for the first time to live in a sort of "family" setting where their brothers and sisters and housemothers were supposed to help them socially and academically to succeed. This is no longer necessary. Campuses now have dorms that serve the purpose with their own social activities, and tutoring is also available to students who need it at most colleges. These are services available to students of any race, culture, religion, or social background. The "Greek" houses are open only to those who have been accepted by the entire group and anyone can blackball them for any reason. (If this is no longer true, please correct me.) In the United States discrimination in organizations such as the Boy Scouts is not legal. Why should it be allowed in "Greek" organizations? I'm all for small groups and protected living arrangements for students. College dorms now provide that. They also provide social events for each floor or other unit of the dorm where students can socialize and get to know other students. They provide meals and a place to eat with your dorm friends. The campus itself has a number of interest based organizations where students can meet others. I came to UCLA not knowing a soul, but that condition didn't last long when I got into the dorm setting. I later joined a campus organization and had all the social life I could have desired. In the dorm I met people from countries all over the world -- people I would not have met in a sorority. I did not have to subject myself to cruelty to do this, nor was I expected to be cruel to others when I was a senior. I think it's past the day for these "Greek" groups to dominate campus life. They could get rid of discriminitory policies and hazing and organize around interests if they want to remain relevant. If they won't do that, they ought to be banned from campus. What do you think? My experience is limited to the United States and what I saw on campus in the 1960's and read in the papers. Your experience may be different, and you can enlighten me. Maybe all this has changed in some places, but it's been only a year or two since the young man at Cal Poly was killed by alcohol poisoning at the hands of his fraternity "brothers." For those in other countries: I call these "Greek" groups because they have Greek alphabet letters as their names. They are not composed of Greek students.
3 people like this
8 responses
@carmelanirel (20979)
• United States
13 Sep 11
I haven't been exposed to this, but have heard horrible stories and I am with you, it needs to stop. If I am not mistaken, this hazing is illegal, and if caught, the students are charged, but like anything else that people think they can get away with, it will continue, but many times, this goes on and no one knows but whoever was there..
@bagarad (12852)
• Paso Robles, California
13 Sep 11
Hatley, I am so sorry you lost your friend in such a senseless and cruel way. It kind of makes you wonder about those sorority sisters who looked on and did nothing. I guess some people want so badly to be in the "right" group that they are willing to subject themselves to anything. Have you ever thought of what you'd done if you had gotten in and been there when this happened to your friend?
1 person likes this
• United States
14 Sep 11
Oh Hatley, I am terribly sorry, I can't imagine losing a friend so young.
@drannhh (15246)
• United States
15 Sep 11
I never belonged to such a group in college but knew many people who did and I just never could figure out what motivated them to want to belong. One example that I remember of behavior that I thought demeaned the girls as well as their victims was when pledges were ordered to go flirt up some unsophisticated boys just for sport. They would make dates they had to intention of keeping and had to meet a goal of say 50 boys to dump. Later as a college teacher some of my students who were involved with these organizations talked about issues that some of them were having involving the frats cheating on tests and that sort of undesirable activity, plus a LOT of substance abuse. On the other hand, there were service sororities on campus with lovely members who performed many good deeds and were polite and respectful students who got good grades and were in all ways assets to the college community.
1 person likes this
@bagarad (12852)
• Paso Robles, California
15 Sep 11
I guess I don't understand why the service sororities can't just act as service clubs so they don't get a bad rap by association. .
1 person likes this
@drannhh (15246)
• United States
15 Sep 11
That is a good solution bagarad. Once a frat boy told me he could not hand in his assignment because his housemates/"brothers" kidnapped him (took him to a casino and got him drunk all weekend). I said "Fine, show me the police report." He looked confused. I said, "You did have them arrested, did you not, as kidnapping is a crime." He said "No, of course not." I said, "Then it was not kidnapping so you get an F."
@urbandekay (18312)
13 Sep 11
As a Brit looking at this custom it is weird, a little sadistic and gay all the best urban
1 person likes this
@bagarad (12852)
• Paso Robles, California
13 Sep 11
I thought the Brits also had these organizations. You don't ?
@urbandekay (18312)
14 Sep 11
No, I can't imagine it happening here all the best urban
@tech2d (338)
• United States
14 Sep 11
Well when I was in college, (it's been quite some time ago), they tried to get me to join and I said NO!! I did not feel I needed to belong to an organization that had to beat the crap out of me to join. Thanks but no thanks. My son joined one while he was in college and from what I understand from him, they beat the crap out of him. I will never understand that. He however, loves his "frat brothers". Go figure.
@bagarad (12852)
• Paso Robles, California
14 Sep 11
Maybe they love each other because they suffered so much with each other.
@GardenGerty (104149)
• United States
14 Sep 11
I agree with you on this one. I am not fond of any kind of secret society. If they have to keep what they do a secret, it seems to me it cannot be good. I went to a small Christian College and we do not believe in any kind of "secret society" so we certainly did not have exclusive student organizations. Hazing would not have been allowed.
@bagarad (12852)
• Paso Robles, California
14 Sep 11
Hazing and exclusive organizations would seem out of place in a Christian college, though, I'm afraid they still exist in colleges that started out as Christian colleges and lost their way as the generations went by.
@GreenMoo (11842)
13 Sep 11
I never really understood the sorority /fraternity thing. Neither why they were necessary or why people joined them.
1 person likes this
@bagarad (12852)
• Paso Robles, California
13 Sep 11
I think people join them because they are a loyal tightly-knit the group and this is valuable for business connections later on. People often come to campus as their first experience living away from home. Especially on large campuses, freshmen can get lost in the crowd and find it difficult to make friends. They want to have a ready group of friends that are socially compatible, will help them find dates, and learn the ropes of campus life. They do meet this need for people who are insecure and think they can't make the right friends on their own. Some people may be pressured by their parents to join the group they had been in. I know my mom was disappointed that I didn't "rush" a sorority, but everything about joining a sorority went against my grain. I'm an independent type.
@Masihi (4227)
• Canada
13 Sep 11
I agree that they should be banned as well, and I'm actually glad I never went to college or university anyway. I think a lot of that stuff you mention still goes on, probably underground type thing. Why should activities that are unhealthy on a physical and mental level be allowed in educational institutions? It doesn't make any sense at all, to me.
@bagarad (12852)
• Paso Robles, California
13 Sep 11
The hazing still goes on, I'm sure, at least in some of these groups. They may have gone back to the stuff they did in my mom's day, like the seniors making new pledges their slaves for a certain period of time or dressing in a ridiculous way, instead of being forced to do something harmful physically. It strikes me as odd that a country that prohibits "hate" speech will still tolerate this. Part of the problem is that the pledges are afraid to report these violations because then they would be kicked out of the group they want to join so badly that they will accept this demeaning behavior.
@secretbear (19464)
• Philippines
15 Sep 11
Hi Barb! Here in our country there have been many cases of deaths because of hazing and I think there will still be cases of this because these fraternities still exist. This hazing process is really terrible. I have a friend who went through this and I've seen her bruises in her legs back when we were in college. Thank goodness nothing bad happened to her. I don't think that these fraternities are all bad though. They teach people brotherhood, camaraderie, they give people a sense of belonging, they teach people how to help the community. The bad part of this is the hazing part. I don't really get the point of hazing, what it teaches the would-be members because this only inflict physical pain and nothing else. And unfortunately, this would only make the would-be member vengeful because once he became a member, he will get even to the next batch of applicants by hurting them, too during the hazing process. I think what should be abolished is the hazing part of the application process in these fraternities. Universities and schools should make sure that these fraternities and organizations are not doing any hazing process since they should take care of their students.