Fraternities Under Attack: I'm Not Pulling Your Keg
Tyrades!By Danny Tyree
I guess the college "Greek system" was always Greek to me.
As a small town nerd, when I attended college I was all "Wow! Microfiche newspapers! College bookstore! Meal plan!" in between weekly trips home. No great desire to seek forbidden pleasures, test the rules, join a brotherhood, etc.
So I'm definitely an outside observer as I comment on a recent "Huffington Post" story about fraternities. Wesleyan University declared that its three all-male residential fraternities must go coed over the next three years or lose official recognition. And Dartmouth College is eliminating the traditional fraternity pledge period, which nationwide has been associated with the hazing of new members.
Frats did not need the bad publicity. According to "Newsweek," the federal Department of Education is currently investigating 76 colleges for their handling of sexual assault cases.
Perhaps a lot of outsiders have an antiquated view of fraternities and binge drinking, based on the 1978 film "Animal House." But I assure you that no-respecting frat member nowadays would use a shopping cart to deposit an inebriated underage girl outsider her parents' home. No, they would probably use an Amazon DRONE PLANE to deposit an inebriated underage girl outsider her parents' home.
A lot of people are just jealous of fraternities. "Newsweek" quoted one study that said frat alumni tend to be happier, healthier, less stressed about money and more engaged in their jobs than their unaffiliated peers. Granted, I could have sworn I saw some sort of SECRET HANDSHAKE when the report was handed over.
Those of us who attended college without joining frats do tend to have looser social ties. ("I'd like you to meet the best man for my upcoming wedding. Uncle George, this is...uh...Curly Haired Guy Who Always Stayed In The Dorm Lobby Playing With Lincoln Logs.")
Yes, alumni are proud of the lifelong bonds that are forged among fraternity brothers. Of course the WORLD suffers the consequences of being led by people who say things like, "It is my fiduciary responsibility to the shareholders to pass over the other bidders and award the contract to the brother who was a real sport about being paddled while blindfolded and wearing a chiffon gown."
Some of you may be questioning the logic of going coed, but theoretically the close living quarters will make the frat members view the ladies less as objects and more as sisters. ("Hey, sis, I'll let you have the best seat on family vacations if you fix me up with your hottest, loosest friends who AREN'T living in the frat house.")
Don't expect the progressive attacks on frats to end with the actions by Wesleyan and Dartmouth. I understand there are plans to change the traditional naming paradigm (using letters of the Greek alphabet) to using American Sign Language, African clicks and grunts, Native American smoke signals, etc.
The sanctity of TRADITION makes it difficult to change frat culture. One commentator observed, "Why change something so beloved?" (Do NOT let that guy watch your baby. You will probably return home to a 40-pound diaper.)
I hope the good aspects of frats don't get thrown out with the bath water. Ideally, frats provide mentoring and social stability and produce some of our finest citizens. Let's just work on the excesses.
I hope you take my words to heart. And preserve them in microfiche! Wow!
© 2014 Danny Tyree. Danny welcomes reader e-mail responses at firstname.lastname@example.org and visits to his Facebook fan page "Tyree's Tyrades". Danny's' weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.
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