In October of 2014, the Dartmouth College student newspaper, conveniently called simply “The Dartmouth,” ran a front-page editorial titled “Verbum Ultimum: Abolish the Greek System.” That may be a little heavy-handed here at Drexel University, and the Editorial Board is not of the opinion that the Greek System at Drexel ought to be abolished. However, it goes to show that at other universities, Greek life has gotten completely out of hand.
Seemingly every year, there is an incident reported about hazing going wrong (if there is such a thing as a hazing going “right”), and someone is severely injured or killed. Or someone is date-raped at a party. Or some fraternity is caught dealing hard drugs. And so on.
Most recently, a video has surfaced of Sigma Alpha Epsilon brothers at University of Oklahoma singing an old, racist song. As a result, the chapter has been disowned by SAE, and the university has expelled two students. Justice, it seems, has been served, at least in this instance.
It’s essential for national fraternity chapters to keep tabs on their local university chapters. While SAE was quick to shut down their wayward chapter and condemn their actions, the culture that developed there should never have been allowed to exist in the first place.
Here at Drexel, we’re privileged to have Greek Life, which in general isn’t guilty of extreme hazing, racism or Geneva Convention violations that plague other universities. We hope that it stays that way. We also have to say to those considering Greek life that if you experience hazing, discrimination, or behavior that otherwise makes you feel uncomfortable, report it, and if that doesn’t work, find a way out. It’s not the end-all-be-all to join a fraternity or sorority at Drexel; there are other options and other student organizations to join.
Student organizations ought to take pride in treating their members with respect and dignity. While they should understand that they do not have all of the same aspects that a fraternity would, they have one thing in common: students. We must respect all of these students so that they can grow to become great, respectable leaders of the organizations that we will entrust them with.
It’s important to remember that we are not only training students to be leaders of an organization but also to be leaders in business, academia and government. As such, Greek or not, all organizations need to remain conscious of the values they instill in their members.