Fraternities and Sororities Attract Students Who Want Power Over Others
Frats have been in the news lately. They have caused the death of students and gang-raped females. This is not news. What is news is that big-name universities are admitting that it is happening on their campuses. Johns Hopkins University, Cal State Northridge, MIT, and the University of Virginia top the list.
During my career at several colleges and universities, Greek societies dominated the social scenes. They even dominated academics.
Take for instance the time that about eighteen frat boys sat together in one of my classes. On the first day of class, one of the men told me to “take it easy.” He did not like the rules of the class and the fact that I was requiring attendance. During that class the frats decided that they were going to come to my class of 125 students, and sit with their arms folded. They brought no paper or pens nor would they engage in discussions. They were protesting the rules of the class. One student called me on the carpet for his grade and chided me in front of all the students. This encouraged others to “act out” their frustrations. I became their scapegoat. Finally, I had to threaten expulsion from the class before students began acting like normal students who wanted to learn. The main speaker for the frats was eventually taken out of the class.
During rush week, when students are trying to pledge a society, academic work is put on hold. These societies teach students that conforming to Greek rules is preeminent. No value is as important as meeting the demands of the society. Students do not study, do not take tests, and skip classes during this week. They lose academically just to win a spot in a society.
During rush week, students have come to class with hats on their heads, pulled down almost over their eyes. I asked one African student why people were doing this in class? He took off his hat and his hair was burned off in spots and he had places where his head was burned. He explained that he was trying to pledge a society. I offered to go with him to Student Affairs, but he was afraid and said that they would harm him even if he told me what happened. I could not go to the Dean without some type of proof!!
Societies are like gangs. They are secret. They have their own rules and the protect each other in ways that mimic the Mafia. Many of them teach a culture of fear, where the group is more important than anyone else. They punish members that forget that rule. They think that they are better (more important, more intelligent, more good-looking, more in-the-know) than the rest of students on campus.
One frat student confided in me that his fraternity had files on every class and every professor on campus. They had tests, research papers, homework, and information that would help their members to pass the classes. After that discussion, I no longer allowed students to keep tests. I went to online testing but discovered that students were also sending questions to their friends who were keeping files. I have already mentioned in a prior post that two male students missed most of my class but ended up getting a B in the class. They failed because they did not attend. Neither one of the men, who sat together when they came to class, came to argue their failure.
Fraternities and Sororities believe in a hierarchical society where they are the privileged few. They devise ways of promoting themselves and winning a degree on campus, often without the hard work of non-Greek students. When they graduate, they have a group that they can rely on as good-ole-boys and good-ole-girls that circumvents honest job searches.
I have never appreciated the societies because they set up a class structure that seems antithetical to a democratic society. I wonder how many frat boys and girls are running the political action committees? To control, to have power over others is at the heart of the secret societies and rape is a power tool.
As always, this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge