Thursday, March 26, 2015

Greek Life: It’s under a microscope and for good reason

There’s a cousin in my family who is a lifer Greek. She thinks that a good Greek life in college is an important part of matriculation. “Where’s your daughter in college?” she asked once. “How’s the Greek system?” Telling her being Greek was not part of our daughter’s college experience was satisfying to me and disappointing to the cousin. “It was an important part of deciding which college our daughters and son attended,” she said. It wasn't for us.

Being part of a fraternity or sorority can be good for certain individuals during college years and then later on, but it doesn’t take being a part of an organization with funny letters to make it so. Living in a general dormitory can be just as rewarding and satisfying as long as the student gets to know the fellow students across the hall or in the next suite or on the next floor, and as long as those friendships reach beyond the college years, or not. Having friends to hang out with and to go to the midnight movies and to enjoy a brew or two or to take road trips with is part of the college experience, and believe me, college is more than about getting the diploma. It’s about getting an education you cannot get at home or in monastery. The best college motto: Do not let your academic work get in the way of your education.

Today, the Greek life is under a microscope like never before and for good reason. Across the nation, there are examples of wrong-doing that, thank goodness, are not being tolerated. Most fraternities and sororities are a continuation of a bunch of one-minded people, those who think their way is the only way and who have preconceived ideas of how life should be. At my alma mater, NC State, where being Greek was Greek to me (though I had two cousins who were brothers at the Jewish fraternity), currently there are several fraternities suspended for drugs, alcohol and hazing. While in the 1970s, the drugs, alcohol and hazing was there but out of sight, today it’s in full view with a “we don’t care attitude” by the members of the Greek organization behind which members hide in the name of tradition. Hidden or in view, wrong is wrong.

Most recently, a fraternity at NC State was suspended because of racially and sexually offensive comments found in a pledge book. This came after racial videos from a fraternity at the University of Oklahoma which magnified the pledge book discovery. Thank goodness NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson and his staff came down quickly and swiftly on the NC State fraternity. At this point, the entire system at State will be reviewed, and best bets are that more wrong-doing will be found. Unfortunately, many Greeks are legacy members and the current students are doing nothing less than what those relatives who came before them did. Just listening to a lifer Greek makes me cringe, especially when they think a good reason for choosing a college is the quality of Greek life. The Greek system may have a lot of good attributes, especially building friendships for life, but the question is: are those friendships full of convictions that society tries to rid each day? If so, disband the entire bunch.
-------------------- word of the day
forsooth (adverb) [fawr-sooth]: (now used in derision or to express disbelief) in truth; in fact; indeed

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