As universities across America continue to operate under the pretense that the secrecy, violence and institutionalized danger within the calcified-in-degeneracy Greek system is a problem that’s specific to bad seeds rather than indicative of the extreme ends of the practices of the whole, Bloomberg Businessweek has done the Lord God Frat’s work by creating a neat timeline of all the alleged infractions sustained by the Greek system in America in just the spring semester of 2015.
There are 133 total, at 55 colleges; the categories are hazing, alcohol/drugs, sexual misconduct, property damage/mischief, offensive behavior, intimidation, unspecified, and death.
Though it’s true that Greek life can be a very chill, good time (I had a lovely if occasionally eye-roll-inducing four years within my sorority at the University of Virginia) and it’s also true that almost all organizations on a college campus operate within the rough initiation/parties/tradition triumvirate as a sorority or frat—a look at the specifics of each alleged violation compiled by Bloomberg indicate what the particulars of the Greek system (huge numbers; members who are not universally but certainly disproportionately entitled via race and class; gender segregation structured around control) can add up to when combined with the natural propensity of the young towards bad behavior.
For example, a death investigation at Clemson:
After an investigation of the fraternity’s new member education process from the fall of 2014, Clemson said it would suspend Sigma Phi Epsion for allegedly violating school’s student code. School officials said the investigation was not a criminal investigation, and that it “stemmed from reports of incidents that occurred during the new member education process held in the fall of 2014.” Separately, police have been investigating an incident from September 2014, when a member of the chapter was found dead in a lake.
The frat, Sigma Phi Epsilon, will be suspended for five years; at Baruch College, all Greek system recruitment is suspended for three years after a freshman died during pledging.
In the property damage section, a Sigma Chi incident at SMU:
Neighbors of the fraternity house said that for months, members had urinated on their property and thrown raw meat into their backyard, according to the university. “We do not condone or endorse the actions we have been made aware of,” the national organization said in a statement.
That frat is indefinitely suspended. (I would guess that most of the members still think they were being hilarious.)
The reading list goes on, props to Bloomberg, with concussions and alleged assaults and group texts reminding all members that women are objects and “hooded isolation” and vomit buckets and vodka. It’s interesting that, barring the death category—and not even, really—these are decidedly not anomalies but just cases where the organization got caught. These infractions aren’t, as the schools would like to think, exceptions; they’re just statistical likelihood piling up into violence, the result of normalized bad behavior exposed to public air.
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