Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Greek Life Can't Be Judged by Sterotypes

Greek life can't be judged by stereotypes
By: Alan Calcaterra
The BG News

One of the biggest issues for many incoming freshmen is whether or not to join a fraternity. There are a lot misconceptions and myths about fraternities that are exaggerated from the truth or are completely wrong.

I had thought that the same misconceptions and myths about fraternities were true until I actually joined a fraternity and realized that a lot of things I have been told about fraternities were wrong.

The question that I'm asked most often is whether we haze our new members. This is the biggest misconception about fraternities and is one of the main reasons why people don't join a fraternity.

The truth is a lot of fraternities did haze years ago, but universities and state governments have long since cracked down on the fraternities who did hazing. People also generalize fraternities by saying if one fraternity hazes then all fraternities must haze.

The reality is that most fraternities do not haze because there are such strict rules and guidelines against hazing that have been established by fraternities' national headquarters, universities, and state governments.

According to stophazing.org, there are anti-hazing laws in 44 states including Ohio.

If a fraternity is caught hazing they would be at risk of losing the fraternity charter and their membership and, in some cases, have lawsuits and criminal charges brought up against members of the fraternity.

This is the one of the main reasons why most fraternities don't haze and also because many fraternity members feel nobody has the right to make someone do embarrassing or damaging things to be accepted in any type of group.

Another myth is that if you join a fraternity you will have lower grades. Studies show that this is quite the opposite. According to the University of Texas-El Paso (UTEP) Greek life web page, a U.S. government study shows that over 70% of all people who are in a fraternity graduate while 50% of all non-fraternity people graduate.

Fraternities actually take academics seriously and have things like study tables with other members and also some fraternities have tutoring for members who are struggling in a particular course.

Another excuse people use to not join a fraternity is that they can't afford the costs or they say "I don't need to buy my friends." You're actually not buying friends.

The money you spend on dues and fraternity costs actually pay for events, t-shirts, and other things and are pretty much paid in advance for things like fraternity events throughout the school year. Fraternity costs are actually not as expensive as people think they are.

According to the UTEP Greek Life website, less than 2% of an average college student's expenses go toward fraternity costs. Most fraternities let their members go on a payment plan if the member can't pay the full amount.

Another misconception is that you have to drink and go to parties to be in a fraternity. This is false and is just a stereotype that has been popularized by movies like Animal House.

The truth is that many fraternities offer alcohol free housing and many have strict guidelines on alcohol use.

These misconceptions and myths hurt fraternities in many different ways and people should keep a more open mind about fraternities because these myths are false and they mislead a lot people into not joining a fraternity.

These myths are just a way to stereotype and generalize people who are in fraternities.

Greek life can't be judged by stereotypes - Opinion