Fraternities, defend yourselves! Against bad public image.

There was a very poignant item in the advice column this morning–the successor to Ann Landers’ column.
The title, as given in the South Bay Daily Breeze, was “Member of Sorority Has to Deal with Negative Stereotyping.” The writer, signed, “Alpha Chi Omega in Texas,” complained that Greek-letter organizations get a bad rap: “haze, hang out promiscuously with frat boys, drink, do drugs and care only about getting a ‘Mrs.’ degree.”
There’s no question in my mind that, while the writer spoke specifically about sororities, this publicity is harmful to fraternities as well.
The writer said she was “on a full-ride scholarship” and managed to maintain a 3.5 GPA, at least. And takes random drug test, to boot. And “cannot be seen with alcohol.”
Members of fraternities–even Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, any of them, ought to speak up and show that they too can and do get positive examples to the same degree as Alpha Chi Omega and any other sorority. Being in college they should have the smarts to set a positive example instead of emulating the clods of *Animal House–*be they of a fraternity or a sorority or some other organization.
The writer pointed out, after all, that her sorority “raises thousands of dollars for abuse victims every semester.” Can the other Greek-letter organizations match that?

I never joined a fraternity, however, I saw their activity first hand and went to rush events. Most of the criticisms are true.

-It’s a bunch of spoiled kids right out of high school, the ones who have rich parents. Nobody else can afford the fraternity dues and beer money, they aren’t cheap.

-A lot of the kids really do have barely 2.0 GPAs in easy majors like business. This is partly because they have some much other fun stuff to do than go to class, and hangovers probably make it hard to study and/or concentrate. I remember one kid that was trying to get into pharmacy school and he was buckling down, but all his fraternity brothers were always joshing him and trying to get him to party.

-Here’s a graphic illustration of how the world really works. One time, I saw one of the campus security guards staring at the trash cans outside the frat house. It was a bunch of the largest cans, all stacked to the brim with beer cans. The thing is, those frat boys, once they have their 2.0s in business and daddy’s connections, will quite likely get decent jobs making double what the security guard makes. Yet they got to have the best, laxest life in college, practically heaven for adults, simply because of their parent’s money.

-It’s all about sleeping with as many…impressionable…young women as possible. “making the circuit” means sleeping with a woman from every sorority in the same semester. Most women dislike this - their instincts mean they dislike being screwed and then dumped for a different girl. And one of the main strategies to make these sexual encounters happen is to throw a big party with loud music and free alcohol for women. Both parties drink to lower their inhibitions and then screw. Obviously, most of these encounters are…semi-consensual…but in many cases the women involved would not have made the same decision if sober. (legally considered rape through I think it’s morally not the same)

  • They make pledges do humiliating and sometimes dangerous things to become members.

Anyways, there’s nothing to apologize for. This is what a fraternity is all about. This is what most of the members want it to be. It’s gallons of beer, broing out all the time, and limitless pussy. Everything young men generally want. Society may not like it, but fraternities are going to stay this way unless someone forces them to change. An apology would be dishonest.

I guess I was right, then.
Many of the Dopers who tilt with me will criticize me for some of the sources that I quote. The column I cited here seems to say it all, but this item from Mad Magazine, of all places–and from about 1960–hits home. Sung to the tune of a stanza from “The Whiffenpoof Song”:

Wastrel students spending Dad’s dough
On kegs of Schlitz and fifths of Old Crow
Earning the grades we deserve, we know:
F! F! F!

Makes you want to cry, doesn’t it? :frowning:

Almost every frat and sorority raises money for charity.The same way that almost every corporation donates money to charity–And for the same reason: it is a nice gesture, that covers up the real reason they exist.

Corporations exist for one reason: to create a profit for their members (=shareholders). But if, on the side, they donate to cancer research, it makes for good public relations, without damaging their main goal.Nobody buys stock in a corporation because they want to support cancer research.

Greek organizations exist for one reason: to create a social circle for their members . If , on the side, they raise money for cancer research, it makes for good PR, without damaging their main goal.
Nobody joins a fraternity or sorority because they want to raise money for cancer research.

Greek organizations are not all evil, of course. But they do have a lot of negative characteristics, all of which are related to thebasic reason why they exist. The good things they do on the side are nice—but totally unrelated to the reason they exist, and don’t justify the negative aspects.

Then you are willing to impugn the motives of Alpha Chi Omega?

You know what would be a really good start for fraternities and sororities seeking to defend themselves against any bad public image?

[li]Not doing stuff like inflicting enough violence and/or alcohol on your pledges that they end up hospitalized or dead. [/li][li]Not singing songs about how niggers will never get into your fraternity.[/li][li]Not teaching such songs at your fraternity’s national leadership conference.[/li][li]Not yelling racist and misogynist epithets at people who have the temerity to walk in from of your house. [/li][li]Not sexually assaulting the people you invite to your parties (and another, just for variety)[/li][li]Not having fraternity parties based on offensive racial stereotypes. [/li][li]Not posting signs like “Hope your baby girl is ready for a good time” and “Freshman daughter drop-off” on your house during move-in day.[/li][/ul]

Some of the fraternity and sorority men and women i have taught at my university, and at previous jobs, have been among the smartest and most committed and engaged and appealing of my students. Others have clearly been as thick as two short planks, with a level of social awareness and social conscience that seemed to match their puny intellects.

I’m sure that there are fraternities and sororities that are excellent places for making life-long friends, developing contacts, and instilling strong values and morals. But the last couple of decades have also demonstrated that the problems with fraternities and sororities are, in some very real ways, widespread and structural and institutional and persistent, and not simply an occasional aberration that can be easily dismissed. That is made very clear by Caitlin Flanagan’s excellent article in a 2014 edition of the Atlantic Monthly.

I’ve never heard of Alph Chi Omega. So I googled it, and the first hit was a nice wiki page telling me about the good deeds they do.
Then I googled Sigman Alpha Epsilon, and the first hit was a nice wiki page telling me about the good deeds they do, with their motto of “True Gentlemen”

It looked for a moment as if the two organizations are similar…till I scrolled down on the wiki page of SAE and saw their sordid history.(which I already knew about).

So no, I do not impugn the motives of Alpha Chi Omega. But I don’t consider them a typical sorority.
I know that of the 30 or 40 frats and sororities at my university, 99% of them were more like Sigma Alpha Ep than Alpha Chi Omega.

If Alpha Chi Omega wants to maintain a good image,they should not call themselves a sorority.
Because the word has a lot of legitimate negative stigmas and stereotypes that do not apply to Alpha Chi. They should disassociate themselves from the rest of the Greek-letter societies on campus. Maybe use a name in Latin (to maintain their traditional connotations of classical formal scholarship, etc), They should maintain a presence like all the other organizations on campus , represented in the student government, etc–but not a part of the official Greek Council (which on most campuses is the formal body that represents all the frats and sororities on campus)

I think there’s a significant element of resentment of the popular kids in the negative perception of Greek life. By contrast, college marching bands are reputedly rife with violent and abusive hazing as well as sexual harassment, yet they suffer little of the same stereotyping, generalization from single incidents, or outcry for structural reform.

Yes. They are often required to do community service, and do a good job of it when competing with one another.

Assuming this was true, this would be a reason to demand reform of band programs, not a reason to go light on Greek organizations or gloss over their misdeeds.

The only reason sororities do charity is to cover up what sluts they are.

“Rowdy and fun hope your baby girl is ready for a good time…”; “Freshman daughter drop off”, with an arrow pointing to the house’s front door; and “Go ahead and drop off mom too…”.

OK, that was pretty funny.

Often court ordered. I’m here all week folks.

My experience was exactly the same. Never joined, but saw it up close and personal and those guys were the absolute worst. You can have all the anti-hazing rules you want but you will not stop them from their tradition.

Now, there are coed service frats who were generally more level headed. But that’s not what we’re talking about.

(bolding mine)


Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Oh, man…Phi Beta Kappa…what a bunch of dumb-ass drunken bimbos and jocks. Seriously, who on earth would even ADMIT to being in such a disgraceful organization?


Green Bean
Rutgers, Class of 1998. B. A. Summa cum laude. 4.0 GPA. Phi Beta Kappa

Phi Beta Kappa is not a “social” fraternity like SAE. It is the most prestigious academic honor society in the United States - so much so that you’re considered kind of a tool for even mentioning that you’re a member, kind of like those dorks that manage to work the fact that they went to Princeton into every conversation. Oh, and you normally don’t get in until your senior year.

Dougie, I’m not dicking on you for not knowing because you’re asking for info. Posters like Habeed who think they know enough to excoriate the whole system but are so ignorant that they don’t even know the difference between a “frat” and an honor society are just laughable. You shouldn’t have believed the first person to come along and spout ignorance and misinformation.

While chappachula has an overall negative impression of greek organizations, she’s presenting a more balanced view. I may not agree with her conclusions, but she’s not coming off as a fool. Yes, there are many problems inherent in the greek system, but there is a lot of good in these organizations as well. People join for a lot of different reasons.

I know what of I speak.

Love and Loyalty,

Green Bean
Carnegie Mellon. Class of 1993. B.A.* [redacted] GPA. Kappa Kappa Gamma

  • yes, I have 2 B.A.s from 2 different schools. Long story.

No, it’s not. “Hope she’s ready” pretty strongly implies that she’s getting fucked one way or the other, ready or not. That’s not funny. It wouldn’t be funny if some guys were just standing around talking about hypothetically putting up signs and came up with that one. It’s really, really not funny when they actually put in the not inconsiderable work to actually make the damn things, and no one thought throughout the process that hey, maybe this is in poor taste.

Come to think of it, I think this is what really screws up fraternities. It’s not that frats are full of bigger douches. It’s that they are people who come from the sort of background where they have the resources and ambitions and logistical know-how to actually organize stupid shit, to have production values. They come from a culture where people have 300-guest weddings, fancy Holiday parties, Graduation Trips. They watched their moms plan Prom and organize family photo shoots and coordinate the Ladies’ group at Church. They know what it takes to pull an event together, and they value the idea of having a pulled together event. So what should have been stupid hypothetical "It’d be cool to have a party where. . . " or “Dude, when the Freshmen get here we should . . .” or "You know, it’d be funny if the new guys had to . . . " actually get realized.

“Nobody roots for Goliath” is a quote I heard somewhere and I think it applies to this.

AFAIK the negative stereotypes about frats and sororities don’t really hold up to critical analysis very well.

On the other hand, if you’re going to create a group that lets people in and out based upon the most subjective of criteria - yeah that is always going to create friction with the larger community.

After reading these posts the only comment I have is: I could not have done a better job of maintaining and reinforcing negative stereotypes such as Alpha Chi Omega in Texas mentioned in the newspaper advice column if I tried!
I did not see the movie Animal House and it’s just as well.
The only thing I still don’t understand is why the people who furnish the money that allows these organizations to continue in the this manner, keep doing so, unless they are evil or stupid.

The people who furnish the money are smart enough to realize that not all organizations are the same. The Komen Foundation basically exists to line its directors’ wallets, but we don’t automatically dismiss all charities out of hand. The Ferguson Police Department was apparently full of racists, but we don’t dismiss all law enforcement agencies.

A few fraternity chapters do dumb shit and we tar all the others with the same brush. There are certainly problems in the Greek community, many of them recurring. Exactly the same problems (other than, for the most part, those related to exclusivity) exist in most campus organizations but nobody cares.

I wasn’t a popular kid. I wasn’t rich. I didn’t use drugs (other than about one joint a year). I didn’t try to fuck as many women as possible. But I was in a fraternity, and some people assume that therefore I must have done all those things.

The money comes from the participants themselves.