Is Greek life a danger or positive part of college life?

By Makenzie Plusnik

Opinion Editor

Photo of Mackenzie Plusnick

Greek life has received an increasing amount of scrutiny due to recent events involving hazing. In 2017 alone, there were four deaths involving fraternity events and alcohol, according to USA Today.

A lot of discussion surrounds these incidents, begging the question: Is Greek life a danger or a positive part of college life? This question is answered many ways by many different people.

Some believe Greek life does more damage than good. Hazing, underage drinking, partying and ostracism are just a few concerns people have regarding sorority and fraternity life. Hazing results in harming, embarrassment, and ridiculing future members. Fraternities are also known for parties and furnishing alcohol to minors.  What is brotherly about that?

The advocates for Greek life tell a different story. Greek life helped them find a home away from home, gave them friends for life and networking connections for the future. It requires members to keep grades up, holds them accountable for their actions and gives them a support system while at college.

I believe both sides have truths to them, and that there is more good than bad within Greek life. However, I also think it is time to start holding Greek life to higher standards, especially fraternities. Sororities are typically held to very high standards. Sorority women are not allowed to wear letters while drinking or around alcohol. They are sent to a judicial board if they are found to be doing something against the organization’s beliefs. They also have a GPA requirement to be in good standing in the organization. However, sororities can also be a cold environment for some members. Women going through recruitment feel as if there are cliques and they do not belong, and in extreme cases, this can be damaging to mental health.

Fraternities tend to be more welcoming to all their members. They take their brotherhood seriously and stand up for their fraternity brothers whenever possible. Though Tarleton has become stricter on fraternities by imposing a rule restricting where they may hold events, there are still unofficial parties being thrown by fraternities often, where the men celebrate their brotherhood by binge drinking and supplying alcohol to their underage members and others in attendance. Hazing often takes place during their new member processes and initiation, though it is illegal, and the fraternities will firmly deny it.

I have seen articles, tweets, and Facebook posts defending Greek life. Instead of using the recent tragedies to say that we are better than those organizations, why do we not, as a whole, show everyone that this is not true Greek life? We are more than parties and drinking. Many members even choose to abstain from these activities altogether. It is time to hold ourselves and each other to higher standards. If we see something dangerous, we need to say something. It is our responsibility to make Greek life respected and positive community.

We are required to take alcohol safety courses while entering college and entering Greek life, but how much difference does a few hours of something we do not want to be taking actually make? The real difference will be made when we start standing up for what is right and safe and what Greek life is meant to be. As members of Greek life, we now to have to step up even more to show that Greek life is important and valuable. 

Personally, I do not want to be a part of a community known for hazing and hurting the people we call our ‘brothers and sisters.’

Mackenzie Plusnick is a member of Delta Phi Epslion.

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