As anyone who was around LU last week probably knows, Greek Week went swimmingly this year. Each fraternity and sorority involved was successful not only in putting together their various charitable gimmicks but also in re-enforcing the broad stereotypes associated with their respective Greek organization.
The Betas once again managed to uniformly dress in shirts with popped collars and hats worn backwards un-ironically. The Thetas loudly professed their superficial love for one another. The Phi Taus hosted by far the nerdiest event of the week, in which students squared off answering trivia questions against a Lawrence professor for cash. The Sig Eps were unable to attend, due to a conflict with their daily Downer Feminist Council meetings. The Delts and the Phi Delts are interchangeable in my mind, so it would be hard for me to make broad swipes at them.
This week’s column isn’t necessarily anti-Greek. The concept of brotherhood contingent on membership in an organization is poorly grounded, but the communities that can form in a Greek organization are pretty neat. Nonetheless, it is almost invariably more interesting to read something negative than something positive, and I’m nothing if not a cheap populist.
During my freshman year, a group of Delta Gammas gathered near my window in Colman and proceeded to engage in some bizarre activity involving throwing paper plates with whipped cream at each other and walking across campus, leaving behind a trail of paper fragments, whipped cream and tears.
A friend who lived across the hall responded to this inconsiderateness by creating a facetious Facebook group decrying the Delta Gamma’s lack of environmentalism. It lasted a day, until a DG threatened to play the Anti-Greek card, which I had hitherto not known existed, and spoke to Dean Truesdell about it. Naturally, he took the group down. Apparently, Greek life is so vital to campus life that criticism is somehow scandalous.
Similarly, the recent Lawrentian article reporting on the Delts losing their house resulted in one commenter so incensed that Lawrence didn’t let them keep the house in spite of a lack of numbers, that he threatened to discontinue donating to Lawrence. (I’ll only give money to Lawrence when I’m an alumnus if I can have something named after me, preferably something gender studies related: chicks dig that).
If the Delts could have kept up their numbers, there would be legitimate reason to be angered by the eviction of their fraternity, but it doesn’t make sense to condemn Lawrence simply because there’s an ever-growing housing problem and rooms need to be filled.
Objectively speaking, does it make sense that Lawrence allows an organization that annually hosts and Pimps and Ho’s themed party every year? If these were regular campus organizations not supported by arbitrary Greek letters, how many would be able to keep their houses in spite of their shenanigans?
I could be wrong, but it seems there’s a sense of entitlement that fraternities and sororities possess that somehow allows them to be immune to criticism. I’m not saying this is true of every fraternity and sorority. No one likes to read a fraternity member extolling his own organization, but Phi Kappa Tau is actually more awesome than they’re ever given credit for. Nonetheless, it would be neat to see the untouchability of Greek organizations re-examined, broseph.