Medak-Seguin gets greeks wrong


Though I am absolutely flattered that Mr. Medak-Seguin believes sororities to be so omnipotent as to attract a significant number of women who otherwise would have remained independent simply by adding a fourth sorority, it is unfortunately a false assertion. The goal to be attained by adding a fourth sorority is to deal with increased interest in sorority membership. At current levels, the existing three sororities cannot continue to accommodate the large number of women who want to be greek. Our chapter facilities are above full capacity and our pledge classes are large even by state school standards. Adding the fourth sorority would cause there to be four medium sized chapters as opposed to three huge chapters.   If the number of greek women ever gets to 50 percent   of the women on campus it will be because 50 percent of the women on campus want to be greek and not because Panhellenic added a fourth, or even fifth sorority.

Medak-Seguin proposes a campus wide binding vote to determine whether the greater Whitman community wants to allow the addition of a fourth sorority. The problem with this proposal is that the people who would be affected most by this addition are contained within the sorority system itself. The potential for changes within the sorority system caused by a fourth sorority is high in comparison to the potential for changes for the Whitman community at large.   For example, the sororities would have smaller pledge classes which could make the bonds between pledge class members stronger at the expense of a larger group. The bottom line is that whether a sorority system is composed of three or four chapters is of no consequence to those outside of the system. The vast majority of the significant changes caused by the addition of a fourth sorority affect only those within the system, which is the strongest argument for keeping the decision to within the system as well.

Medak-Seguin also staunchly maintains that greek women have no time for anything but school and greek events. I vehemently disagree.   Greek organizations work hard to instill both interpersonal and leadership skills in all their members and thus hold some of the most important and influential, not to mention time-consuming, positions on campus. Greeks are ASWC Executive Council Members, Pioneer editors and reporters, varsity athletes, club officers, as well as more than half of the ASWC senators and numerous Resident Assistants. One would be hard pressed to find a group on campus without significant greek membership and leadership.

However, the most problematic assumption in the article in my opinion is the pervading belief that greek culture is simply objectively bad.   Medak-Seguin mocks the feeling of instant connectedness one feels as a result of joining a greek group. Connectedness is something that all people strive for whether it is as a member of an athletic team, freshman section, club or performing group. The greek system is simply another, possibly more traditional, way to be connected to a greater community. It is completely up to a potential member to decide if the greek system is a system she wants to be connected to. If she chooses to become a member, she can make her membership as time-consuming as she wishes it to be: a choice that should be free from the condemnation of the rest of the Whitman community.

– Rachel Constantino Wallace ’10