Tuesday, July 11, 2006

How hard it is to be a fraternity brother today…

A interesting commentary from a Lambda Chi Alpha brother ... what has been your Sig Ep experience?

July 2nd, 2006 by lambdaupsilon526

I joined Lambda Chi in April of 2003 and began an experience that, if summed-up into one word, was “empowering.” Lambda Chi helped me become the determined, savvy, business-oriented young professional I am today. But, the positive experiences a fraternity such as Lambda Chi delivers are not the topic of this particular blog. Instead, I’d like to talk about the hardships we Lambda Chis faced at Northern Michigan University.

We are at fault for many things. Primarily, my chapter has been plagued by poor management, a few very bad apples, a lack of alumni support, and members who are inherently lazy. Dedicated brothers have given their time and patience to develop those who could be developed, and to ultimately expel those who couldn’t be developed. The point is, we have tried hard to make our chapter better. My gripe is two-fold.

The first: We get a visit from the ELC (RD) twice a year, two days each time. By the time we get our visits, we have cleaned up enough to get an okay review. Not just because the ELC is coming, oh my god, but because we have made enough progress to earn that review. But, I believe after every ELC visit, those of use who dedicated too much of our time to try and make things better, get burnt out.

We needed an ELC to stay for more than two days. We needed him to stay for weeks. We needed an ELC to actually consult, as is his job. No consultant in any industry stays for two days, generates a report, and leaves it at that. Consultants are teachers, innovators, and change managers by definition. It has to be obvious to HQ that many chapters such as mine don’t get any better because of the ELC program. Maybe some do, but not mine and it is not just our fault. We needed help, not how-to seminars and roll playing skits.

The second: My fraternity is nestled at a university that has no, I repeat, NO respect for fraternities, especially ours. We are the only chapter on campus with a lettered fraternity house. Students walk by every night screaming obscenities, throwing things at our windows, damaging our signage, stealing our American flag, stealing, stealing, stealing. Where, you ask, does this attitude come from? Very much so from our own university administration.

The administration at my university kicked out every fraternity except ours about 10-15 years before my time at NMU. This came after a rating by Playboy Magazine that said NMU was the #1 party school in the country. Every since, during freshman orientation, other for-freshman events, and so forth, student employees (i.e. RAs, RDs, etc.) have belittled my fraternity, the other fraternities, and sororities. The dean at my school, refuses to admit it. She insists that we provide names and proof when we come to her with a complaint. We say no (often times, we don’t remember or know somebody’s name). Yet, when we insist she provide names and proof of those who make blatantly false accusations against us, she says no. She does not attempt to research their validity, and we end up disciplined.

The rugby team across the street from us has four-keg parties. No discipline. Girls have been gang-raped by the football team on video tape. No discipline. A girl comes to our house wasted, we kick her out, and because the only place she can remember being at that night after she wakes up in her room with different clothes on and a hangover is the house with letters on the side of it and a sign in the front lawn that says Lambda Chi Alpha. We get suspended.

We all know, nobody remembers what exact address they partied at. But, since many parties are held near our house, they say they were at the Lambda Chi house. I used to do this even, before I was a brother! And, we get disciplined. Often times, we are told by the administration that we had parties when we didn’t. Do you get the picture?

I’ll go further into this mess as it needs to be exposed. When I was a freshman, I was told numerous times by numerous RAs, that fraternities on my campus were gay, stupid, useless, drunks, idiots, rapists, and so forth. I never, ever heard that they won awards for community service, tripled the community service hours of community service oriented organizations, helped veterans, and raised thousands upon thousands of pounds of food. Individuals take the negative comments they hear from RAs, however unwarranted, untrue, and stupid, and add-on to them over time. Eventually, by the time we have rush, they have developed horrible views of fraternities. If they haven’t, their friends have.

I know this is 100% true, because I was forced to go to rush events by my roommate. I was against fraternities because the only college-experienced person I knew, my R.A., said that they were gay, rapists, and useless. But, at the rush events, I saw something different. I will never be able to repay that roommate for dragging me to rush events unless I expose how horrible it is to be a brother of my fraternity at NMU and how nobody wants to see it.

So there you have it. I’d like to hear your story.

(Update: we have had some issues with getting a spurious "403 Forbidden" error when trying to access the "Voices" blog site. This is not a real denial - the Lamba Chis are not like that. Really. There seems to be a hitch somewhere that we have not been able to pin down. We HAVE found that removing the trailing slash [/] and retrying will often get past the problem. We apologize for any trouble and are working on a solid fix.
The Mgt.)