Enough is enough: Frat life needs to change

By Tessa Brubaker

A video of Syracuse University’s Theta Tau fraternity members went public April 19, showing them using homophobic, racist and anti-Semitic slurs. In another video released April 21 by the university’s newspaper, The Daily Orange, members were filmed enacting a skit mocking a disabled person being sexually assaulted.

The fraternity chapter was expelled the same day the second video was released and Syracuse University plans to review its policy on fraternities and sororities, according to an April 23 CNN article. The students involved were removed from classes, and the university will start proceedings to either suspend or expel the students. 

Syracuse University is taking the right steps to combat these issues, but this is a nationwide problem. Fraternities are antiquated and encourage dangerous behavior. In November 2017 alone, at least seven large universities suspended fraternities because of a string of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Excessive alcohol use isn’t the only risk that comes with these organizations. According to a September 2014 article by The Guardian, men in fraternities are three times more likely to commit sexual assault.  When fraternities aren’t enabling toxic behavior by men, they can put women in danger, considering the same study stated women in sororities are 74 percent more likely to be sexually assaulted.

A 2005 study in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence stated that fraternity men may be more likely to perpetrate acts of sexual aggression in an environment that promotes stereotypical notions of masculinity. Why have colleges continued to allow such a misogynistic and dangerous culture on their campuses? 

While some fraternities and sororities can bring together minority groups, hold charity events or create networking opportunities, the cost to hold onto this old way of thinking isn’t worth it. Fraternities are built on old values, and it’s time that we change it for the better. People can create other clubs in which they can support issues that matter to them, and not one that hazes members.

According to the New Jersey Institute of Technology, more than 800 U.S. and Canada campuses offer fraternities and sororities. Columbia is not one of them and is typically labeled as abnormal because of it. 

Columbia has managed to create a strong community for students without fraternities and sororities. Students have found ways to connect and network with each other based on their shared interests and passions. Fraternities and sororities are unnecessary.

The amount of times these organizations have shown they promote bigotry proves we need to make a change. It’s time for colleges and universities to say enough is enough, and follow in the footsteps of colleges that refuse to offer it. Ending fraternities and sororities is not going to immediately erase racism, sexism and assaults on college campuses, but it’s time we work to dismantle an entire system that has perpetuated this kind of prejudice and abuse for too long.

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