- May 6, 2020
It’s Time Frats!
The first fraternity organizationcalled Phi Beta Kappa was founded in 1776. This Greek organizationthat started with five members has achieved numerous valuablecharacteristics over time. It encompasses rituals, leadership, a bondof friendship, and an urge to expand the fraternity’s network toother campuses. Today, “there are 123 fraternities recognized bythe North American Interfraternity Conference with approximately750,000 undergraduate members”(Heibutzki).However, some of the fraternities’ rituals have changed over timeas some Greek organizations have started to promote a culture ofdrinking on campuses. This behavior has resulted in the public havingnegative perception towards the fraternities. The purpose of thispaper is to inform colleges’ faculties and staffs, parents, andstudents about the misconception that fraternities are promoting manyvaluable characteristics in campuses. Instead, the Greekorganizations are encouraging numerous harmful behaviors such asbinge drinking, sexual assault, and college hazing rituals.
One major adverse consequencepromoted by fraternities is binge drinking. While the Greek lifeprovides detailed activities that benefit college students, itsmembers are also more likely to engage in alcohol abuse. According toa study conducted by Harvard University, “for every five members ofa fratenity four are binge drinkers”(Addiction Center).On the other hand, “only two out of five college students areregular binge drinkers” (AddictionCenter). According to Georgiana,another study found that 86%of members of fraternity houses drink binge compared to 45% of thenon-Greek college male students. Binge drinking serves an importantrole in membership to Greek houses. For instance, alcohol helps inthe bonding and socialization process within many fraternities.Besides, research shows that the majority of students who join Greekorganizations drink binge. There is also the argument that studentswho drink binge enroll to become members of a fraternity to have morepeople who have the same interest as them. Besides, binge drinking isa powerful tool for peer influence. As such, fraternity membershipincreases social pressure for students to drink to gain acceptanceamong fellow members (Georgiana).
Counterargument: fraternityshould not be banned because of the pivotal role they play incommunity servicing. It is a common culture for every Greek house inall institutions to sponsor a specific project. In the same light,according to the North-American Interfraternity Conference, in2012-2013, 372,090 students were enrolled in fraternity groups across800 campuses (Georgiana).These students offered 3.8 million hours of community service andhelped raise $20.3 million for philanthropy.
Another harmful behaviorspromoted by fraternities is sexual assault. According toValenti, several studieshave shown that the chances of fraternity men raping a female studentare three times higher compared to their non-fraternity counterparts.On the other hand, women in Sororities are 74% more likely to beraped compared to their counterparts who are not members of any Greekorganization (Valenti). Asnoted earlier, fraternity members drink more alcohol compared totheir counterparts who are not affiliated with any Greek house.Research on sexual assault on college campuses has identified alcoholconsumption as the leading cause of rape. Alcohol incapacitates thevictim rendering him/her defenseless. Additionally, alcohol crowds aperson’s judgment which means that he/she may end up agreeing intosexual intercourse unknowingly. Some perpetrators start byintoxicating their victims before sexually assaulting them. Forexample, Valentireports about an incident where several women were found with blackand red X marks on their hands. Upon close examination, these womenwere found to be suffering from memory lapse which pointed to thembeing intoxicated at a fraternity party. Besides, some male studentshave a negative perception towards women who drinks as they tend toview them as promiscuous hence do not feel guilty raping them. Menalso hold the perception that when a woman says no she means yes. Forexample, Valentireports that in 2011, at the Yale University, fraternity brothersmarched throughout the campus, shouting “No means yes” whileothers were yelling “yes means anal.” This perception contributesto the increased risk of sexual assault in college campuses.
Counterargument: Fraternityhelps its members to develop leadership skills. Fraternities providea unique experience where members can achieve personal developmentand nurture their leadership skill. Most Greek houses organize formentorship programs where accomplished individuals in the societyprovide advice and counsel to their members on how to excel in lifewithin and outside the college(Heibutzki). Besides, each fraternity holds elections for the various leadershippositions within the organization. The winners of these elections geta chance to practice their leadership skills. Besides, winning theelection helps students upon completing their college education bybuilding their résumé. Additionally, college leadership builds timemanagement, budgeting, organization, accountability, socializing, andpublic speaking skills(Heibutzki).
Finally, college-hazing ritualsare the most common negative consequence promoted by fraternities.Consequently, a large number of students have sustained minor andmajor injuries after engaging in the various college-hazing ritualsorganized by their Greek organizations. Apart from causing minor andmajor injuries, some college hazing rituals common in Greeks clubsresult in the death of students. According toGeorgiana,between 2005 and 2014, the Bloomberg News counted more that 60 deathsinvolving fraternity members. In some instances, fraternities haveinitiation ceremonies where they practice rituals that may belife-threatening to new members. The most common initializationrituals involve the use of alcohol where a student is forced to drinkto oblivion for him to be allowed to join a particular fraternity.For example, “Philip Dhanens, an eighteen-year-old college freshmandied from binge drinking after being locked in a room with 15 otherpledges as part of a hazing ritual by his fraternity leaders. Thegroup was told not to leave the room until they had drunk all thealcohol (Quigley).Other rituals start as endurance competitions and end in deaths orthe participants sustaining serious injuries. For example, accordingtoHirschlag,in 2008, one of the Tulane University fraternity groups name 10 PiKappa Alpha houses poured boiling water, cayenne pepper, and pepperspray down the backs of their pledges. The more time elapsed, thehotter the water became. In the end, the pledges that did not screamafter the hot water, cayenne pepper and pepper spray was poured ontheir backs got the worst burns(Hirschlag).
Counterargument Greekorganizations help their members to network and improve theiracademic performance. Studies show that students who are members offraternities perform better compared to their non-fraternity members.Georgianareports that the average GPA of fraternity students was 2.912 vs.2.8922 for all male students in 2012-2013. In some colleges, studentsmust achieve a certain GPA for them to remain a member of aparticular Greek house. This encourages students to achieve goodgrades to avoid losing their membership. Additionally, mostfraternities organize for programs aimed at supporting their membersto excel in their academic endeavors. In other Greek organizations,the members are given incentives to continue to perform well in theiracademic work(Heibutzki).For example, members who do not skip classes are awarded certificatesby their respective Greek house. Additionally, joining thefraternity gives members a sense of belonging as well as a system ofsupport that aids them to thrive in their academic and personalendeavors. Additionally, the fraternity helps students who wouldotherwise have dropped out of school to complete their studies.
In conclusion, it is clear thatfraternities expose students to the risk of binge drinking, sexualassault, and physical injuries or death. As compared to the generalstudent population, fraternity members engage in heavy alcoholdrinking. Additionally, members of Greek houses have higher chancesof raping female students. Besides, several students have died whileothers have sustained serious injuries after taking part in somecollege hazing rituals organized by the various Greek organizations.On the positive side, the Greek organization plays an important rolein nurturing their members’ leadership skills and helping themachieve higher GPA. To address the problems posed by thefraternities, there is a need for these organizations to set highstandards for their members. Also, all stakeholders such asprofessionals, members of Greek organizations and university/collegeadministrators need to discuss how to tame the problems associatedwith fraternities.
AddictionCenter "Drinking and Drug Abuse in Greek Life." AddictionCenter Comments.N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.
Georgiana,Martin. "Should College Get Rid of fraternities."The WallStreet Journal, September 15, 2015. Accessed on 18 Nov. 2016.
Heibutzki,Ralph. "Positive & Negative Effects of Greek Life inCollege." Education.N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.
Hirschlag,Ally. "These College Hazing Stories Will Make You Want to LetYour Kid Live in Your Basement Forever." SheKnows.N.p., 31 Aug. 2016. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.
Quigley,Rachel. "College Freshman, 18, Dies from Binge Drinking `afterBeing Locked in Room with 15 Other Pledges and Told Not to Come outuntil All Liquor Was Gone` ." MailOnline.Associated Newspapers, 10 Oct. 2012. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.
Valenti, Jessica. "FratBrothers Rape 300% more. One in 5 women is sexually assaulted onCampus. Should we ban frats?." the Guardian, 24 Sept. 2015.Accessed on November 18, 2016.