So, is this typical behvaiour for fraternities? or are the Dekes known for being a bit more extreme? or just a few articles coming out around the same time? (The Minnesota one, for example, relates to an incident 20 months ago that has been under investigation since then.)
It’s typical for fratenities in general. I don’t think any particular frats are worse than others on a national level. They all have good and bad individual houses, even on a year by year basis. The common denominator for the bad behavior is almost always alcohol.
It is not typical for fraternities in general – these are outliers in a specturm of fraternity behavior. Although there is no doubt that a lot of fraternity behavior is beyond the pale, most fraternities are no different than any other group of 19 year old boys. Dio is correct that every fraternity with a national presence has houses that are well controlled and houses that are, uh, not. But some fraternities do have national reputations; I’ve always thought of Deke as a bunch of drunks, with all the negative consequence that that entails, but not intrinsically terrible people.
Speaking as a member of a collegiate fraternity in the southeast (a bastion of Greek life), things change chapter to chapter. Sure TEPs and Pi Lambs are gonna be (mostly ) Jewish and KAs are going to be “southerners” and AGRs are gonna be farmboys and Pikes are gonna be athletes, but what’s a good house at one school might be shitty house at another school.
I think what’s typical on college campuses with a Greek system is that one frat will have a really bad reputation. Which frat is the bad frat varies both over time at a single campus and also from campus to campus. At the school I went to in PA in the late 70s, Sigma Phi Epsilon were known as the sheep f*ckers. And their house did get raided and closed down following an alleged gang rape. A friend of mine pledged SigEp in Maryland somewhere, and they had a much better rep down in Maryland.
During the time I was going to college in the late 1980s, TKEs seemed to have a bad national reputation for hazing, chapters getting kicked off campus, and the like. Then again, at my college, some of my good friends were TKEs, and they were fairly mellow.
A little firsthand observation from my experience…
When I was a student at the U of Alberta (one of the OP’s links is about the DKE chapter at the U of A), the Dekes definitely stood out. I lived not far from their house, and walked by it often. For the most part, it seemed like any other frat house–there were a number of frats and sororities in that neighbourhood–with members coming and going to class, relaxing on the verandah, and so on. At first glance, the house and its occupants bore no resemblance to Animal House.
But the Dekes used any excuse for a party, and their parties were legendary. A day or two before, temporary fencing would be put up on the lawn to create a “snake” that would guide the lineup of people wanting to enter. A cover was charged, there was a cash bar, and bouncers were certainly in place, though whether they were specially hired or just chosen from the frat membership, I don’t know. Coming home late one night from my own night out, and walking past the Deke house, I saw that the snake was still full of people waiting to get in. For the annual “welcome back to school” party in September, the Dekes would set up a hot tub on the front lawn and stock it with girls in bikinis.
Not that all this was necessarily a bad thing–the Dekes may have partied hard, and their house may have been the place to go if you wanted to attend a wild party. But I don’t recall seeing anything on their scale at any of the other frats and sororities in the neighbourhood. In fact, outside of what looked to be an elegant cocktail party at a sorority one night, I don’t recall seeing any parties at any frat or sorority. I’m sure they occurred, but they weren’t as noticeable as the Dekes.
I remember back in college some dorm-mates of mine were trying to organize a Deke chapter, and the University Official in Charge of Such Things told them in no uncertain terms that Deke was not welcome at our University (and we had, IIRC, over thirty other fraternities at the time, so it wasn’t an anti-Greek thing).