Enough with the greek bashing


ENOUGH with the greek bashing. I know, I know, you were really pressed for time this week. Let’s see…I know! I’ll write an article about the greek system! That way, I don’t have to waste any time actually checking my facts, and I can practice my self-righteous indignation, which needs work anyway.

I’ll start with the easiest and most obviously misrepresented fact. Panhellenic wants to add another sorority in order to make each chapter smaller. Each group currently has about 90 members. Most sororities at campuses across the country are around 60 or less. Panhellenic would seek to maintain the same number of women in the greek system, but each sorority would take a smaller pledge class.

The next misleading allegation is that recruitment would be intensified in order to “convince women who would have otherwise opted for an independent lifestyle to join a sorority.” Unbeknownst to many independents on campus, we have very explicit and very strict rules for recruitment. Each female freshman section gets one Recruitment Counselor who is disaffiliated during recruitment (meaning she doesn’t reveal her particular greek association). Beyond that, and the three recruitment events (Activity Day, Philanthropy Day and Closing Day), no affiliated member of a sorority is allowed to be in a freshman dorm that they do not live in, nor spend time with freshmen (excluding siblings, class and things like sports teams). These rules will stay the same. Panhellenic can advertise for recruitment all they want, and the Recruitment Counselors can do their best to convince girls in their sections to rush, but ultimately it is each freshman’s decision.

Which brings me to my next point: the author admits that he spends a lot of time with a certain group of friends, but says that “it is my decision to do so, not that of a socially limiting hierarchical structure whose implementation I pay for.” Well, guess what? It is my decision to be a member of a sorority, and it was hands-down the best decision I have made at Whitman. Socially limiting? Don’t pretend like you hang out with everyone on campus. Personally, I don’t consider a social network of over 90 incredible women “socially limiting.”

You want to talk about exclusivity? One could just as easily pin exclusivity on the Outdoor Program, which is not dictated by a national hierarchical structure but by the socio-economic (that’s right, I can use big words too) pressures that determine whether or not someone can afford to have the entire Patagonia winter collection. Or the drama program, or varsity athletics, or the Young Dems, or whatever group you want. Human beings naturally form groups in order to socialize.

Whenever I read articles bashing the greek system, I think the same thing as I do when reading pro-life editorials: If you don’t like [abortion, sororities] don’t [get, join] one. The only reason greek life is “mystified” is because people outside of it find it easier to make assumptions and spread false rumors about our practices than go out of their way to find out the truth. I challenge anyone to ask me a question about the greek system and my sorority. I think you’ll find that we’re more open than you think we are.

– Alice MacLean ’11