Greek life overemphasized on campus

Greek life overemphasized on campus

Brett Hodges, Staff Columnist

Yes, I see your Patagonia vest. You told me about how Tiffany was totally all over you at the party at the house the other night. I know that you’re going to grab a Fried Friday lunch at the house and that it’s so much better than anything Lakeside Dining could ever provide. No, I don’t want to hear about your fraternity.

With 34 percent of The University of Alabama’s campus participating in Greek life in some form, it is plain to see why fraternities and sororities play such a massive role at this school. A simple stroll around campus can easily lead to becoming lost in a maze of massive fraternity and sorority houses. Classes are populated with carbon copies of the same few people, all clad in only the finest Vineyard Vines apparel. But is Greek life really positive for students?

A fraternity or sorority can provide the companionship and social footing necessary to succeed when first arriving at school. However, this is not without drawbacks. When someone is forced to conform to the social norms and standards thrust upon them by the fraternity of their choosing, they are slowly deprived of their own personal identity. Yes, those involved in Greek life still have their own unique personalities and character traits, but only those character traits approved of by their house are allowed to flourish.

This sort of systematic dismantlement of dissenting ideas is easily accomplished through activities like hazing. Yeah, I know your fraternity doesn’t haze – because none of them do. Ever. That would go against the rules laid out by the University regarding Greek life, which are never broken. Besides, it isn’t like someone by the name of Thomas Scott Willoch attempted to sue a fraternity here at the University due to negligence and injuries sustained during hazing in 2009. According to an article by The Tuscaloosa News, the case was later dismissed, but the fact that such a lawsuit was ever filed is massively damaging to the credibility of the no-hazing statements touted by the Greek organizations on campus.

While being a member of Greek life undeniably adds a certain amount of clout to one’s social persona here at the University, that does not mean that this boost in notoriety is warranted or in any way justifiable. In fact, the increase in status from joining a fraternity or sorority is simply a product of having parents wealthy enough to pay the outrageous fees necessary to make jungle juice each semester.

Furthermore, the prevalence of Greek culture on campus has an adverse effect on those independent students not wishing to be associated with such organizations. Students not in a fraternity or sorority are oftentimes outcast and barred from events (and most notably, campus-wide elections) due to their independent status. This is not to say that exclusivity is bad, but when this exclusivity carries over from simple parties and events to the Student Government Association (SGA) offices, there is an undeniable problem. When greek members are disproportionately represented in organizations such as SGA, the issues of independent students go largely unrecognized.

For this reason, and many others, it is the duty of all independent students to get out and vote in SGA elections, to organize in order to fight for the issues that are important, and to finally stand up and tell Chad from Finance 301 what is on all of our minds: No, you’re not special, you’re just in a fraternity.