On September 14th 2015, a grand jury recommended murder charges for 5 people involved in the hazing death of a fraternity pledge. The pledge was allegedly knocked unconscious during a hazing ritual and denied immediate medical attention. In light of this and other controversies surrounding the Greek System, some have called for its outright ban.
So, why do we still have fraternities and sororities? Well, the “Greek System” is a uniquely American trend across many college campuses, dating back to the American Revolution. Some students formed secretive, highly selective clubs to discuss controversial topics. The first Greek-letter-fraternity Phi Beta Kappa, was founded in 1776 at the College
Of William and Mary in Virginia. The letters stood for its motto “Love of learning is the guide of life,” and soon after new chapters spawned around the country. Most carried on the tradition of using Greek letters to represent their secretive nature. The first women’s’ clubs, called sororities, were established in the late 1800s.
Currently there are more than 100 fraternities and sororities, with thousands of chapters nationwide, and millions of members overall. Not all colleges have “greek life,” but many of the largest and most prestigious universities do. Some even have ‘chapter houses’ near or on campus where members can rent rooms.
Membership in a fraternity or sorority is completely voluntary, and fees for joining can range from several hundred to thousands of dollars per year. But many believe it is worth the cost. The greek system has been immortalized in pop culture as an essential part of the American college experience.
Fraternities and sororities are often associated with parties, community involvement, and lots of alcohol. However, this reputation, and numerous scandals in recent years have caused many to question whether fraternities and sororities are ultimately beneficial. Greek organizations are commonly called elitist, and many are accused of racism, sexism, and excluding minorities.
In 2010, pledges for a frat at Yale university were recorded yelling a misogynistic chant. In 2015, an Oklahoma frat was similarly videotaped singing a racist song. There have also been multiple accounts of sexual violence directed at women during parties and hazing deaths.
But despite the drawbacks, there are many beneficial aspects of greek life. Perhaps the most important benefit is the access to a family-like network of current and former students. Younger members can get scholastic advice from older members, and later on, use the network for their career.
Members also learn from each other via regular meetings that deal with topics like sexual health or recreational drug use. Some studies have suggested that being a part of a fraternity or sorority can lead to benefits like higher graduation rates and increased participation in school activities.
Since 1910, 85% of US Supreme Court justices were members of fraternities, along with 76% of US senators and 85% of Fortune 500 executives . Participating in fraternities or sororities is a voluntary choice, and so far, the option has been incredibly popular.
Despite the negativity surrounding the Greek System, its inclusion in the university experience is so rooted in tradition, that it is unlikely to be abolished in the United States. It’s been a pleasure hosting! Feel free to check out my channel People Be Like, where I talk about everything from this
Week’s news to this year’s culture. And to learn more about what life is like in a fraternity, check out Seeker Daily’s video. Thanks for watching! Make sure to like and subscribe to TestTube so you don’t miss out on new videos.