The Fraternity Problem
In March, Caitlin Flanagan explored the bizarre accidents and violent crimes that plague Greek houses: kids falling off roofs, severe hazing, even sexual assault, including one case at Wesleyan University that the author detailed. Flanagan argued that in many incidents, the fraternity and the school attempt to shift blame, and liability, onto the victims. The New Yorker’s Andrea DenHoed advised, “If you know anyone in a fraternity, you should probably tell them to read this article, and to stay off the roof.”
In my five short years since graduating from Trinity College, the lens through which I saw—and accepted—the binge drinking and seemingly harmless behaviors at fraternities has shifted away from rose-colored.
There is no denying the fun of dressing up for frat parties; the delight of recognition as we called a brother to grant us preferential entrance on a Saturday night; the camaraderie of grinding, intoxicated, with our fellow classmates, shoes slipping in the slime of a frat basement.
I chose to see the experience through said rose-colored lens for my own benefit. But the realistic portrait that Caitlin Flanagan paints in her article is undeniable. Those accounts are truths. Is the importance of my college recreation favored over the physically and mentally injurious escapades cited (never mind the sexist and demeaning elements of these activities)? For that matter, were we as a student body collectively so insular that we were unable to imagine weekend entertainment sans Greek life?