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Defending the Greek life

Letter to the Editor | Friday, March 24, 2006

I am a transfer student who was very active in Chi Omega at my previous school.

Leaving my sisters was extremely difficult, but we’ve managed to remain in contact thanks to the strong bonds we formed through our sorority.

It’s true that Greek life promotes social participation; however, it’s demeaning to equate this to academic indifference. Most Greek organizations won’t even allow their pledges to initiate unless they have at least a ‘B’ average. That’s one of the only requirements of pledges. The others are more along the lines of being trustworthy and considerate than being alcoholic and promiscuous.

Instead of portraying this truth, the media makes every incident involving a fraternity or sorority member into an attack on the entire Greek system. Because a small percentage make a bad decision, the entire system must be flawed? The Greek system has become intolerant of such behavior, and any offender is subject to immediate expulsion from their organization and the school. In many cases, students affiliated with Greek life are prone to harsher punishments and held to higher standards because of their choice to go Greek.

We also do not accept discrimination. It is my opinion that Greek life actually promotes diversity. Every ethnicity was largely represented in the Greek life on my old campus. Not only were the organizations diverse in ethnicity, but every fraternity and sorority had members active in everything from athletics to theatre. We also had a variety of majors that I would have never met without Greek life. Most of the girls I became closest to where in that category.

We weren’t restricted to members of our sorority either. All the Greek life would band together for service projects and campus-wide activities. But no one hears about fraternities raising money for Make a Wish Foundation or sororities visiting nursing homes. People maintain the image of John Belushi and Jack Daniel’s without realizing there’s more to fraternities. The only hint of reality in “Animal House” was the participation of the Greeks in the homecoming parade. Sadly, ours has never involved a Death-mobile. We do not steal each other’s cars or kill people’s horses or paddle our pledges by candle light. In fact, my initiation did not involve alcohol, nudity or physical abuse. Every person involved in Greek life has gone through the “hazing” that everyone is so afraid of, so how bad can you believe it to be? If anything, initiation is a reflection of the type of people at the university. With that in mind, I have no doubt that here, the greatest university in the world, would likewise have the greatest Greeks in the world.

Alicia BurtnersophomoreLyons HallMarch 22