I never joined a fraternity while I was in college because I never had any desire to. I did not feel like my life was lacking in brotherhood, Greek culture, partying, or any other reasons why people join such social institutions.
But most of all — and this is just a personal opinion — I find the whole thing to be childish.
I understand that all fraternities are different, but I can only judge by what I see. And that includes hazing bordering on torture, absurd outfits, and over the top rituals. I also think fraternities are more likely to draw in people who crave inclusion or authority.
Fraternity culture is unquestionably stereotyped in mainstream media, and mostly in a negative light. Movies like Animal House and Old School glorify the partying aspect, but otherwise, “frat boys” are depicted as boneheaded jocks who drink too much and boss people around to make up for their own life’s shortcomings.
And then when you read some stories about fraternities in the news, it’s hard to argue.
Practically every university seems to have an incident that comes to light each year of hazing, or other behavior, taken too far. And 2015 is no inception. There’s the Syracuse University frat that made kids do push-ups last week, in the snow in 19-degree weather, without using gloves. The late night exercise may cost one student four of his fingers.
As horrifying as that is, it pales in comparison to what happened at Oklahoma University recently, which didn’t even involve hazing, but instead — blatant racism.
Members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon were videotaped chanting a racist song on a public bus. Here’s the video, and the lyrics are sickening: “There will never be a [expletive] in SAE.”
The university acted quickly by severing ties with the fraternity, suspending its members and ordering the house to be vacated. Oklahoma students decried the video by staging a protest on university grounds, and one football recruit even decided to change schools. The national president of SAE also condemned the act.
Obviously this is not specifically a fraternity problem, but one borne of ignorance and stupidity. But that they were acting as a group and rallying each other on makes it worse. Never mind the fact that they were foolish enough to say these things at all, let alone in a public setting where there’s nothing else to do but play around on your phone.
So with yet another black mark on its record, thanks to these idiots in Oklahoma, it makes it much harder to defend the value that fraternities offer to college campuses. What good is brotherhood and affiliation if it’s just going to diminish your own individuality as a human being?
Be like me, and instead of joining a fraternity, spend your Friday nights in college doing a power hour in a dorm room with your friends, and then topping it off with the 5-5-5 Deal from Domino’s.
It may lead to the infamous “Freshman 15,” but at least you’re not a racist!