Exclusion and the Decline of Greek Life

Alondra Contreras, Opinion Columnist

What has been happening with Greek life this year? That is a great question and I know there has been many remarks about the way Greek life at Whitman has been handling certain situations. Last year, there was a huge problem with folks reporting being drugged at Greek functions. Whether or not the school did a good or bad job at handling that, this situation goes beyond the scope of my knowledge and also the scope of this article. I want to use this space to talk about what I, as a Kappa Alpha Theta senior, think of the events that have succeeded. Reflecting on my time since freshman year, I feel that Greek parties at Whitman are very regulated. The expectations of sober roamers and ID validators has never been as prevalent as it has this past year. The social policy has also prohibited Greek spaces from providing alcohol. Since functions no longer provide alcohol at parties, folks under the age of 21 now rely on older students to get it. The BYOB policy may not be sustainable for longer periods of time, but it is a current solution. With this recent change of events and high accountability that the Greek system has imposed on Greek members, I do believe there is an unpredictable future with the Greek system at Whitman. There seems to be a greater divide within the Greek system. One side wants to regress back to old traditions and not try to work with the new social policy, and the other side wants to expose and change rape culture and white supremacy within the Greek system.

It was a lot easier in my freshman year to show up for a party, drink and leave. At the same time there was a high risk involved, and fortunately for me, I remained safe, but I am not speaking for all Greek members. If I were to get asked, “Where do you see Greek life at Whitman in two years?” I would respond with that it will be non-existent. Even in my own chapter, there is a diminishing number of members. My theory to this situation is that Theta is the most diverse sorority in terms of race and socioeconomic class, while the Greek system as a whole is built and thrives on exclusivity. The more inclusive and accepting a Greek organization becomes, the more it starts to fail. Inclusivity is not cool in the eyes of privileged cis white folks.

The only way I can see it not failing is if everyone gets on the same boat. Last year, there was a fraternity president resisting the new social policy. It still blows my mind that there is push back on solutions that are supposed to keep everyone safe. Of course, if the safety precautions are mostly from womxn feeling uncomfortable and unsafe, then it is easier for cis white men to view these alterations to social policy as unimportant.