Fraternity - Greek life

A fraternity house.

For as long as I have been in Greek life, the hypocrisy of the system has been difficult to ignore. I could go on and on about the prevalent groupthink or the excessive formalities, but what stands out to me most is how differently sororities and fraternities are treated.

Every other week, it seems, another frat makes the morning news facing hazing investigations, sexual assault allegations or deaths due to alcohol poisoning. Despite these trends, frats are not the ones that must adhere to massively strict rules.

Most sororities cannot hold parties in the houses, cannot have men in certain parts of the houses and cannot keep any alcohol in the houses. Some are electing to follow in the footsteps of schools like Miami University by eliminating sorority housing altogether.

Yet where are these assaults happening? Where are these hazing incidents happening? Frat houses — practically every time. Despite this, sororities are the ones forced to adhere to strict guidelines.

The rules for both sorority and fraternity organizations are relatively similar, but fraternities blatantly disregard these rules and exist in a system that perpetuates their behavior. I have seen sororities lose their minds over minor offenses. Meanwhile, fraternities are allowed to throw massive parties whenever they feel like it.

In February 2017 at a Pennsylvania State University fraternity party, Tim Piazza, a 19-year-old sophomore engineering student, died due to injuries sustained during a hazing incident that involved excessive drinking. Those involved in his death were recently sentenced and are spending between one and six months on house arrest, according to Time Magazine.

To me, this resolution is a microcosm of how fraternities are treated on the whole. These men let someone die, but the authorities don’t want to ruin their futures.

Many fraternities are choosing to go dry, which I very much disagree with. Not allowing drinking at frat houses just moves the drinking to off-campus houses, most of which are even less regulated. The choice to create a dry house is simply a Band-Aid for a pervasive problem, allowing fraternities and universities to avoid taking responsibility for excessive drinking when it doesn’t happen on fraternity property.

In that same vein, I believe parties and drinking should be allowed at sorority houses. Let’s cast aside the misguided idea that college students aren’t going to drink. Restricting women’s ability to do so freely only pushes them to drink outside of their environment, which could put them in incredibly dangerous situations.

If and when these college women get too drunk, wouldn’t it be safer to have them in a house full of other women who are there to protect them, rather than a frat house? The current system lacks logic — it operates on the belief that women are “pure” and must be treated as such.

The Greek system continues to disappoint me in the way it handles its faults. Rather than disciplining instances of binge drinking, sexual violence, hazing and more, offenders get a slap on the wrist. I love Greek life, but if it fails to address the root of these problems, it will fall apart.

Maggy McDonel was with The News Record from October 2017-May 2019 as staff reporter and opinion editor. She was also the blog editor for Title Magazine and an editorial intern at Cincinnati Magazine.