To be Greek or not to be Greek

By Editor-in-Chief

The role that a formal Greek system plays on a college campus is often misrepresented with films like the airheaded “The House Bunny” and misogynistic, hypersexualized “Van Wilder,” 

Rather than highlight the philanthropic efforts or community building the groups can foster, sororities and fraternities tend to be viewed as party collectives filled with people more concerned with finding a good drink and someone to bed than orders that foster feelings of brotherhood and sisterhood.

Considering the bad press that often surrounds them—hazing, sexual assaults and at times the antiquated perspectives on gender roles—it is understandable that Greek life can inspire spirited debate.

The issue of Greek life on campus is often a divisive one at Columbia. As reported on Page 3, Mark Kelly, vice president of Student Success, is adamant that the college will continue to prohibit Greek organizations from campus. This comes at a time when some students are pursuing memberships to fraternities and sororities at other Chicago-area colleges, such as DePaul University. 

In April 2013, The Chronicle ran an April Fool’s edition. Plastered on the Front Page was a story about the college implementing Greek life. Though obviously written in the style of The Onion, some students still thought it was real, prompting a few to complain to the college while the others excitedly posted on social media about the possibility that it was true.

There was relief and disappointment from The Chronicle’s readers when they realized it was a joke, but several students still wanted fraternities and sororities. Though I personally would never join a fraternity, I see no problem with bringing Greek life to campus.

At the end of the day, if there are enough students who want Greek life, then the college should find some way to facilitate that. Greek life can often be a contributing factor to a student’s decision to attend a college, and while its absence may attract some students, it has the same potential to be an incentive to attend.

Students want to belong to a Greek organization so badly that they are looking to other colleges to fulfill their needs and expectations. This is just another example of the college needing to reevaluate the current policies it has in place and allow student interests to guide policy regarding campus life.

The Student Organization Council affords students the opportunity to create any organization on campus so long as there are enough students interested. The college has several groups that reflect its signature style, such as Columbia Whovians and The Muggles Association, but Greek fraternities and sororities are banned outright.

It seems as if the college’s idea of diversity and inclusiveness is a little narrow-minded in that regard. If we so blatantly cater to the creative and non-mainstream, we should also look at staples of traditional colleges and see if there is room to include them within our campus.

Above all else, it is time to let the student body decide what it wants. If students overwhelmingly disapprove of the idea, then the issue is resolved. But if there are students willing to assume the financial responsibility that desire Greek life, then let the students have what they want.