Saturday, January 29, 2005

Give to Get?

Though the purpose of this blog is primarily to take a critical look at the Greek system, there are things still that I take offense to as a fraternity man.

Ignoring all the health and social implications of such behavior, my chapter--as do many others-- has parties once in a while, to which an eclectic mix of people are invited. Other frat guys, sorority women, freshmen from the dorms, and non-Cal students mingle in the air of sociability. Nevertheless, we have a group of people who come by all the time, not for the alcohol or the party, but because they are friends with members of the chapter.

These people are respectful, both of the house, its members, and our supplies. They do not try to commandeer alcohol, steal laptops and iPods, break windows, or create a ruckus. They come by, drink a little, talk a lot, and create a good time.

However, there are some others who are disrespectful. Their attitude is that they are a frat and that they can do whatever they want to it.

They forget that this "frat house" is also a home, that the "party" is also just a chance for some guys to catch up with friends, and that if something goes wrong it's not their necks that will be cut.

Some who read this post might think that this is just some rich privileged frat boy complaining that someone is raining on his parade. I will accept these charges, because the fact of the matter is that I am privileged (though not rich), just as equally as every other student attending Cal; that at times I am a frat boy; and that I am complaining.

My message to the frat boys and fraternity men is to not stand for such behavior from our "guests," and to not engage in such behavior when we are guests at other chapters or other people. We have to think about whether we want to continue letting people take advantage of us and our hospitality and getting little in return, or if we want to start standing for something other than parties.

We give and get little respect in return. Maybe this is a sign that we should give something other than alcohol to the community.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Welcome, fraternitydude!

Another writer has joined me on this modest blog. I expect great things from fraternitydude.

If you want to join, please contact me via e-mail with a sample writing. Thanks!

Criticism

"Why are we linking to an anonymous asshole like Frat Life?

Anonymous bloggers are losers, whining and libeling from the safety of their own foxhole. For example, his idiotic 'IFC Facebook' comment, as if anyone should take seriously a comment on a silly facebook post. Way to force an IFC rep to spend an hour responding to your idiotic concerns.

It's sick that we'd give any publicity to a coward who makes an entire blog to criticize his community, but can't handle any criticism of his own."

~ Kevin!
_______________________________________________

Many charges have been leveled against me and my condition of anonymity. To any rational person, it would be fairly obvious why it's necessary for me to go unnamed.

Also, though I responded to Kevin!'s comment (posted in this CalStuff article), perhaps the most simple way I can defend myself is by directing you readers to my first post:

"However, I fear that I am being too harsh. The Greek system has its strengths, but they are not for me to name. I challenge you to be offended at what I write. I challenge you to find the strengths, but more importantly, stand up to the weaknesses. There is much that is wrong, but life demands we as youth be optimistic. What can we do to change these things we see?"

Kevin! apparently accepted my challenge to be offended.

I criticize because I believe strongly in this community and in the ideals it espouses. Those who don't care about its problems stay silent.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Another Reason Why You Should Go Greek

Although the aim of this blog is not to criticize thefacebook, it's been brought to my attention that there is a facebook group called "I Have Taken at Least 1 V-card."

I see the humor in the whole concept, something that would be discussed in a "guys' (or girls') night out." It's not as humorous when one of the quotes on that particular page says:

"You all remember what it was like--guys squirt and girls hurt!" - J.S.

(Coincidentally enough, the initials J.S. correspond to one Justin Sperling, who apparently with his 2.75-inch penis can make girls hurt.)

What's as disturbing is that of 27 members, 14 belong to "CAL GREEKS" and 8 belong to "I Was Totally Blacked Out When I Took My Facebook Pic." Is there some connection between Greek membership, crassness, alcohol abuse, and wanton sexuality?

If there is, it appears that "I Have Taken at Least 1 V-card" is their confluence.

(EDITORIAL NOTE: All this makes me wonder why any self-respecting human being would want to have sex with the members of this group. Or, more appropriately, how these people get laid to begin with. Maybe I should do a post on roofies or something.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Recruitment Rule Number One

Rush is upon us.

Recruitment Rule Number One: No sorority women allowed at chapter houses during formal recruitment.

  • Recruitment Reality: Sorority women continue to patronize fraternities.
One part of me as a "frat boy" revolts against this rule that seems to unfairly take away one of the main draws of the fraternity system: women. The common argument is that taking women out of the picture during rush will hurt frats' chances to attract guys. Take away the sororities, they say, and you are taking away about one-half of the attendence at rush keggers (a topic which itself will be discussed in detail later).

While this rule does keep many women off of fraternity front decks and backrooms, it is so often the case that sorority women are indeed found gracing the arms of frat boys, or very often the rim of toilet bowls.

Regardless of whether they actually do come to fraternity events, what ends up happening is that more freshmen/sophomore girls are called upon to come to these events. While there is nothing inherently wrong with boys and girls having fun together, there is something wrong when alcohol and other drugs, raging testosterone, broader societal norms/expectations, and gender roles are added to that equation. I have to reiterate that not all fraternities engage in this sort of behavior, and that not all women would succumb to the various pressures. I do admit that I paint a simplistic picture. However, I will refer to the Golden Law of Greek Community Health (as defined by me):

If something bad happens to someone in our community, it is a problem.

I want to avoid getting caught up in tangents, but I must qualify this statement by saying that I don't mean if Julie Doe gets a cold it's horrible. Bad things happen to people all the time, which is the nature of life, apparently. But sexual assault, alcohol poisoning, drug overdose, academic failure, etc.--situations that could be prevented from occurring but aren't--are problems that must be addressed but are not.

So coming back to the original topic, why is this rule in place? I surmise that there were too many breaches in the Golden Law of Greek Community Health at fraternities committed against sorority (and all other) women.

Fraternity men, shouldn't rush be about introducing brotherhood? Shouldn't it be about getting to know guys, about building relationships that will hopefully carry over from recruitment to active membership? The last time I checked (apparently in the last century), fraternities were generally about scholarship, philanthropy, growth, brotherhood... not that anyone in college actually cares about these things.

So women at rush is here to stay. That in of itself is fine. What is the issue--and what was addressed by this recruitment rule--is that women are taken advantage of at rush and non-rush events. Had this not happened, sorority women would still be at fraternities to kick off recruitment festivities.


Friday, January 07, 2005

thefacebook Speaks!

Despite my earlier pledge to not update until after the start of the spring semester, I found myself in an insomniac stupor tonight, wasting time on the phenomenon we know and love as thefacebook.

I was browsing through one of the best and worst features of thefacebook, groups, and came across the "Panhellenic & IFC for Life" group, which is comprised of--surprise--both current and past members of Panhellenic and IFC.

The group description: "we OWN the Greek community... yeah, that's right, we said it."

Whoever created that group was probably just kidding around, but for elected and slated officers of the Greek community to say that they--and not every single active member of every single active chapter--own that community is redolent of the same sort of elitist tendencies that turn many people off to Greek life. Furthermore, being officers (equivalent to elected officials and civil servants in the real world), they should keep in mind that they are serving their community's interests and not theirs. This thefacebook group, as trivial as it may be, seems to exist solely for the purpose of Panhellenic and IFC's self-aggrandizement.

Then again, I might just be sleep-deprived, in which case I apologize profusely.

Given the dearth of actual communication in the system, a far better method (both in terms of effectiveness and in propriety) would be for the members of these two bodies to go regularly to different chapters to bring news and information straight to the people. That way, instead of being the cool kids with their own group on thefacebook, they are showing Joe Frat Guy and Jane Sorority Gal that yes, they do exist, and yes, they do serve CalGreeks.

But then again, perhaps they only want the right to be on the "Panhellenic & IFC for Life" group on thefacebook. Let's hope they prove me wrong.