opinion   |  column

COLUMN: IU should abolish greek life



EDITORS' NOTE: This column originally incorrectly stated a member of Phi Delta Theta was arrested earlier this year for the rape of a student at a party. IU police investigated an alleged rape at the fraternity, but no one was arrested. The IDS attempts to be as fair and balanced in its reporting as possible – even in opinion columns. We apologize for this mistake. 

For a feeranging from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand dollars per semester, students can proudly wear the letters of a greek house. The cost to campus as a whole, however, is far greater than this. 

Under the guise of brotherhood and sisterhood, college greek life is a classist system that puts both members and nongreek students at risk. Indiana University should abolish it.

One of the biggest risks associated with greek life is the alleged hazing that comes along with recruitment.

In a poll conducted by StopHazing, a hazing research and prevention organization, 73 percent of students involved in fraternities or sororities have experienced at least one hazing behavior. 

Hazing, as defined by Webster Dictionary, is an initiation process involving harassment. 

In college, hazing is better reflected as a slew of ridiculous tasks and heavy drinking meant to indoctrinate a recruit into his or her greek house. While sometimes harmless fun, the majority of hazing involves dangerous activities that put people at risk. 

The list of accidents and deaths due to alleged hazing incidents is staggering. It seems at least once a year, a college is under fire for someone dying during the initiation process of rushing. 

This past year, Penn State sophomore Tim Piazza was killed after being forced to drink excessively. He fell down a set of stairs, and when one brother tried to call for help, he was stopped. Piazza bled internally for 12 hours before emergency services were contacted.

If rushing greek life is obviously dangerous and allegedly encourages predatory behavior, we need to abolish it, instead of giving it seemingly infinite second chances. 

Two years ago, the IU chapter of Alpha Tau Omega was shut down because a viral video depicted an activity in which new pledges were allegedly forced to perform sexual acts in front of their brothers and other pledges. 

Only months ago, another fraternity was also suspended for related activity. 

The IU chapter of Delta Tau Delta was shut down by its governing body this past January for “hazing-related incidents.” This was after a member of the fraternity was prosecuted for allegedly sexually assaulting someone at a party. 

Kicking a few fraternities off campus has done little to solve the larger cultural problems in greek life.  

Sororities are not exempt from this problem either. This spring, the IU chapter of Delta Delta Delta had its charter revoked for “probationary violations and hazing.”

Hazing aside, sororities and fraternities across hundreds of college campuses have been involved in alleged cases of sexual assault, battery and rape. 

These instances of dangerous and reckless behavior affect everyone on campus, regardless of whether or not someone is a member of a greek house – so just eradicate the problem. 

Greek life is not a way to make friends. It is not a philanthropic organization.

These expressions are excuses to cover up why people want to wear the letters – it establishes class. Those who have the monetary capability to join a house can view themselves as a member of the upper echelon of a financial hierarchy.

If you need information about where to volunteer for real philanthropy, Bloomington is overflowing with it. If you are concerned about making friends, IU offers endless clubs for various interests and goals. 

Greek life has never been about building a supportive community, and it never will be. 

It is about partying and reckless behavior – typically to the detriment of nongreek students and members alike. When cancer is killing the body, we remove it. Greek life should be treated the same. 

anneande@indiana.edu

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