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  • Hanna Aggen

Demise of College Greek Life

Hanna Aggen

Fraternity and sorority culture brings with it a certain expectation. The expectation is that you will do whatever it takes to be accepted. So, what is it about Greek life that drives people to do stupid things? Is there something these fraternities and sororities have that other organizations do not? At the University of Maryland, as well as several others, Greek life has been suspended. 

USA Today reported that “Greek life is on an indefinite halt at the University of Maryland as the school investigates possible hazing within fraternities and sororities on its campus.” Hazing has always been a well-known issue on college campuses, and especially in Greek life. Recently, quite a few colleges have been taking a stand against hazing by suspending these fraternities and sororities. This is not the first instance we have seen fraternities and sororities being suspended in the past few months, and it certainly will not be the last.

As the hazing continues, more and more issues will arise with it. However, the hazing is not only seen in Greek life. Last semester multiple colleges suspended entire sports teams due to this same type of hazing. Both Boston College and Eastern Illinois University had to suspend their swim teams due to hazing in their programs.

What does hazing accomplish? There is an idea that when you come to college and join some sort of organization the people who came before, feeling as though they had to earn their spot, want to force you to earn yours. I believe many people have this mindset for college in general.

There is a sense of entitlement that comes with our current collegiate culture. This is especially found in Greek life and sports teams, but this applies to things other than just hazing. You can find the entitlement without the hazing. The Mount, for example, does not have Greek life or many exclusive organizations. Our school instead seems to be run by athletes. Many people who are not athletes feel as though the athletics at the University take over. But there is still a sense of community on our campus, you may not find on a campus with Greek life, or larger athletic teams.

There is also an idea that people will come into college feeling as though they deserve a spot in any of these organizations. The “first year entitlement” is an entirely different kind than the upperclassmen. This makes those older, “wiser” students want to make the first years feel as though they must earn their spot. Hence the hazing. This cycle goes on and on until the organization is suspended.

So, what is the real issue? Is it the ego that everyone has? Is it jealousy, or the fear that someone new and younger will replace you? Is it the constant need for acceptance and the drive that makes you do stupid things to receive that acceptance? This is an issue that may never be solved. One solution may be to simply allow yourself to not be accepted. If the organizations will not change, it is possible to change the amount of respect they have from people on the outside.

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