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Greeks deserve better institutional treatment

I would like to start by saying I recognize that many students on this campus are not affiliated with or affected by Greek Life. However, Greek organizations have been on campus since 1871 and approximately 18 percent of the student body is a part of a sorority or fraternity. Despite this, administration holds Greek Life to a different, harsher standard than other student organizations, and generally does not treat similarly situated organizations equally.

This can be seen in several different policies the College has put in place that apply only to Greek Life and not to other clubs and groups. Specific rules on housing, academics and behavior show how administration has chosen to isolate their treatment of Greek organizations and view membership in these groups as the defining characteristic of students on campus. While the school claims that hazing remains an important concern, Greek groups are carefully monitored for suspicious activity and even the assumption of a misstep can result in immediate punishment while allegations of the same caliber are not evaluated with the same fervor for other clubs or sports teams.

When investigations do occur, Greek groups are immediately suspended, while athletes being investigated continue to be able to play for their team and represent The College of Wooster. In addition, administration seems to prefer looking into allegations against Greek Life instead of evaluating other pressing claims, such as Title IX violations.

Two years ago, I expressed concern to multiple deans and other administrative personnel about the potential of a Title IX infraction on behalf of another individual. The only response I got was that someone would “look into it.” There was no follow up or contact after that. I know firsthand that this example stands as a representation for how administration has chosen to act in these circumstances time and time again.

Another way Greek Life is treated differently than any other student organization is housing. Bissman Hall is arguably one of the worst dorms on campus, needing constant repairs and updates, a lot of which are never accomplished. The actual process of getting a section in Bissman for a fraternity or sorority is convoluted at best. It’s the first housing deadline that comes up in the spring which alienates even having the option of applying for better housing or living with your friends, and  the worst-case scenario is your group doesn’t get a section at all. It’s not even a great space for Greek life to gather in the first place and the run-down facilities aren’t encouraging anyone to live there.

Self-generated funds are also 100 percent necessary for Greek groups to function and stay afloat, which isn’t the case for other organizations. Even though we hold service events and speakers, all of which benefit the campus community, we must use the money out of our own pockets to keep our organizations running.

Our accomplishments in service and campus involvement seem to be diminished by our being associated with a Greek organization. Some of the most important student leaders on this campus are Greek. We contribute as individuals and we contribute as organizations. The stereotype and myth of Greek Life will continue to be perpetuated in Wooster’s culture if the administration continues to believe in the myth. In situations involving Greek Life, administration acts in a more swift and expedited manner, suspending and sanctioning Greek groups before any firm conclusions can be drawn.

Even though Greek groups and Greek Life on campus are flawed, they don’t deserve undue targeting. The goal of this piece is not to require that the College completely abandon any oversight on Greek groups, I am simply asking that we be judged equally in the eyes of our school and our peers.

Melissa Dods, a Contributing Writer for the Voice, can be reached for comment at MDods19@wooster.edu.

 

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