Why no one should care about Greek life

College students represent their fraternities and sororities at Bradley Univeristy in Peoria, Illinois.

Photo Courtesy of Bradely.edu

College students represent their fraternities and sororities at Bradley Univeristy in Peoria, Illinois.

Will Salaverry, Copy Editor

For those with college in their future, I would like to argue that, aside from a few exceptions, no one’s plan should include joining a Greek organization.

The most common reason I hear for why people rushing a fraternity or sorority is that it immediately gives you a community to rely on throughout your college experience. This is true. Greek life does give incoming students a sense of community. Guess what, so does any organization that you join.

Colleges typically pull people from all different backgrounds. If you’re passionate about something, there is almost certainly a community for you. Whether it’s a group of awesome, like-minded people anywhere from club sports teams to college newsrooms to entrepreneurial societies. If you want to find a place where you fit in the college ecosystem, it’s important to remember that Greek life is just one of usually hundreds of options.

The second most common reason I hear is that people want to be able to party in college. Totally understandable, rock on, but what is stopping you? All you need is people you want to be around. I recognize that going to a frat party, for many people, is part of their ideal college experience.

But you don’t have to join a frat to get in. Just show up with a six pack and a good attitude.
I’ve covered the minimal upsides of being part of Greek life. Now, let’s cover the many downsides.

The first drawback, and to many the most obvious, is hazing. It seems like every week a new school is in the news for having to shut down their frats. Sometimes the punishment is for something tamer like streaking or vandalism.

However, all too often it’s serious injuries, sexual assault and harassment, or hate crimes related to pledging to the frat or hazing new members. Just this year, a frat at Vanderbilt University was shut down because the pledges were forced to shove sizable rocks up their butts. In 2011, at Yale University, pledges had to march to freshmen girl dormitories and shout “No means yes, yes means anal.”

In 2013 at Harris College sorority sisters were made to stand on washing machines during the spin cycle, and for each part of their bodies that jiggled they were cruelly ridiculed.

These stories are only drops in the bucket compared to the horrible things that have happened to people as a result of Greek hazing.

Sometimes it’s death. In 2011, at Cornell University, sophomore George Desdunes was zip tied to a couch and force fed with vodka, Pixy Stix, hot sauce, chocolate powder, and dish soap. He died the next morning from dehydration due to vomiting. Amazingly, this was one of the less graphic examples that I came across.

On top of the very real risk of severe bodily harm or death, they just cost too much. According to Campus Life News in January, the most recent data shows that the average new sorority member will pay $1,280 per semester and the average fraternity member will pay $605 per semester, not including room and board at the chapter house. It isn’t lost on any of us that college already costs an exorbitant amount of money. Footing a rather high bill for Greek fees is one of the worst uses of money for a college student.
I don’t condemn anyone for their choices, if you want to go Greek that’s your prerogative. I will ask, however, that you seriously consider the pros and cons of that choice.

And if you ever find yourself being asked to do something unspeakable to a barnyard animal and pay $1,500 for social connections, I’m sure there is a group of goat enthusiasts out there who don’t charge anything at all.