Why colleges tolerate fraternities

Why colleges tolerate fraternities


“Toga Toga Toga!” Let’s be honest. Aren’t fraternities overrated? “TOGA! TOGA!” “Toga! Toga! Toga!” So, let’s take a look at the fraternities
that really fit the word “frats.” We’ll leave out the explicitly ethnic, religious,
and academic fraternities, and we’ll try to remember that every fraternity at every
college is different. Still, you know the stereotype. It’s the type of place that chants “Nerds! Nerds! Nerds!”…like, a lot cooler than that. “Nerds! Nerds! Nerds! Nerds!” “Where are they?” “I think they’re talking about us.” Even when we just look at the goofy, party
side of frats, there are real negatives. Studies have shown that frats correlate with
increased binge drinking and an average .25 drop in GPA. It’s only once you look into the long history
of fraternities that you understand why Greek life became a part of college life. And why it’s unlikely to go away anytime
soon. Here’s Benjamin Franklin opening a Masonic
lodge. Fraternal organizations in the United States,
like the Freemasons, are actually key to understanding college fraternities. You know that eye on his apron kinda looks
like a mystical belly button? Early fraternity histories point to Phi Beta
Kappa as the first fraternity, founded at William & Mary in Virginia. It was an honor society, and early fraternities
were similarly academic. By 1825, three purely social fraternities
at Union College in Schenectady formed. The college system had begun. The next year, a man named William Morgan
was murdered. Morgan died mysteriously after threatening
to expose Masonic secrets. This led to an entire political party — the
anti-Masonic party — revolting against the Masons in America. It’s less about the mysterious murder than
the climate. Secret societies were a big deal, and people
were kind of afraid of them. That included adult fraternities like the
Masons, but also secret societies in colleges. Colleges preferred open celebrations of school,
like this bucolic, only slightly violent, class day from the 1850s. This 1900s issue of a Sigma Nu journal shows
consequences of anti-fraternity sentiment: Laws that banned fraternities or forced them
to operate in secret. Even successful fraternities had to find strategies
to fight this. Delta Upsilon started as an anti-secret fraternity
– a frat without secret rituals, for this reason. It seemed like frats were on the way out. So what changed? This chart and this flagpole are equally important
to understand how frats took over schools. Look at that jump from 63,000 students in
1870 to 600,000 in 1920. It’s massive. This jump in enrollment created a lot of problems
— and fraternities helped colleges solve them. Like that kid on the flagpole. College “flag rush” – where freshmen and
sophomores battled over a flag – was popular for everybody, not just frat kids. Look at those ripped clothes. Students were injured and even killed during
the scramble. The point is, college students are idiotic. Full stop. And colleges started to see Greek life as
a tool to maintain order. First, fraternities provided housing for that
rapidly swelling student population. Fraternities also provided infrastructure
for disciplining a horde of students. “Well well well.” You see scenes like these and wonder why Deans
keep fraternities around. But the administration actually brought them
back. As former frat members aged into leadership
roles, they realized that fraternities gave them somebody to yell at. “Greg, what is the worst fraternity on this
campus?” Fraternities are distributed discipline. Deans could yell at Greek leaders, who could
yell at upperclassmen, who could yell at underclassmen, instead of having to discipline that giant
section of the bar chart all by themselves. And the big reason for keeping frats around? Administrators realized that frats led to
money after college. Alumni donations from fraternity and sorority
members are higher than from other students. Students loved the university through their
fraternities — and the university had a lot of reasons to stay chained to them. That same paper that showed that fraternities increase
binge drinking? It also showed that they increase alumni income
because of the networking opportunities. That’s without even mentioning the lifelong
friendships that Greek members form. But the downsides of fraternities can be a
lot worse than what we see in the movies. It’s easy to marvel at 100 year old hazing,
but as Caitlin Flanagan wrote in The Atlantic, all that binge drinking and hazing can have
life-threatening consequences. She notes disproportionate injuries in fraternity
housing, high alcohol use, and alleged sexual assault, along with a lasting legacy of racial
discrimination. Whether fraternities are overrated depends
how you view them and how you view college students. We’re all asking the same questions as those
administrators in the 1800s. And we have to figure out if their solutions
are still the right ones today. How you view students, and maybe even all
people, changes your answer. Do frats help control the problems in college
life? Or do they create them? You might have noticed that we used the word
fraternities a lot more than sororities, and part of that is historical — for much of
their duration, sororities were actually called women’s fraternities.

100 thoughts on “Why colleges tolerate fraternities

  1. If you were in a Fraternity during your undergraduate time in college, you would know that you NEVER use the word Frat. It's like saying my country….would you shorten it to say "my c….."? No, it's disrespectful and stereotypical to say that all Fraternities haze, binge drink, party every night, wear their letters all of the time, treat women poorly, are racist, etc… It's ridiculous. Greek Life isn't for everyone, but it really makes the college experience fun for millions.

  2. A lot of our fraternity and sorority alumni donations go directly to the organization, not the school…and even then, this paints Greek life in a seriously disgusting manner. While I know there are fraternities that have racial discrimination, hazing, etc., that should NOT be tolerated, a majority of us focus on inclusion, philanthropy, volunteer service, education, etc. We’re not all party animals that haze and drink constantly. Campuses ban hazing. We can’t even have the door to our sorority house locked because of our anti-hazing rules. Do real research before assuming every group is like this.

  3. I joined Pi Kap my first semester on an actual college campus. Arguably the best decision of my life; we have an actual philanthropy that we cater to, have had the highest GPA on campus at 3.1 (2.7 is the minimum for PKP), and I was never hazed going through the initiation process.

    Don’t hate something you don’t understand.

  4. I mean at my college most people in fraternities and sororities do Sports so all of that money is a great incentive

  5. Only reason you would join one is for business other professions don’t really need this unless they really wanted to but to mean it seems like a waste of time

  6. Starting a video about college modern fraternities talking about the free masons. Totally relevant. Not sure what I expected about vox. Lol

  7. All of these comments “this video was made by a geed” only serves to prove their point.

    They’re not arguing against any logical point actually made in the video, instead, using insults of character and emotion to exclude any criticisms and belittle the critic to “they’re not cool so their opinion doesn’t matter.”

    Way to demonstrate the point Greeks.

  8. Fraternity/Sorority life depends on the university and what you make of it! You can spend 4+ years getting drunk or you can utilize greek life on campus to network with other people and surround yourself with potentially good people. There are tons of people i know that use fraternities/ sororities to help them get a fast track into a career/politics while there are others that use the orgs as a drinking club.

  9. Fraternities are just college social clubs. Asking "why do we tolerate fraternities?" Is as cunty as asking that about any other social clubs, organizations and events all with their own sets of risks, rewards, dangers, benefits, and damages. This is a terrible insinuation. With or without school involvement there will be groups of college kids getting together pooling money for social events and living arrangements whether they have a name or not.

  10. Fraternities are mostly are made up of toxic guys who swear on their life that they are "alpha" even though they adopt the worst behaviors.

  11. Fraternities bring in tons of money for the school

    But wow binge drinking?! No way! Also most Frats require certain GPA limits as higher GPAs give the fraternity better football seats and other perks. As someone who has severe social anxiety a fraternity saved my life. I was thrust in a situation where I had to be social and I kind of sorta came out of my shell. I met friends that I will love for the rest of my life, had so many fun experiences and alot of bad ones to learn from! But at least I had those experiences rather then staying in my room all day taking drugs and being depressed. Fraternities get a bad rap by people who weren't in one but everyone who has ever joined one minus a few will say it was the best time of their lives and again it saved my life.

  12. Higher average GPA and graduation rate than non-Greek students, higher average income upon graduation, 85% of Fortune 500 execs are Greek, every US President / Vice President besides two were Greek, the Greek system is the single largest network of volunteers in the United States, totaling over 10 million service hours per year. But yeah, they party too much

  13. Vox: makes a quality video showing why Fraternities aren't that amazing

    Fratties: no argument, so just use ad hominem attacks

  14. Beginning of the video, we’re going to remember that all fraternities are different…yet continue to generalize them for the rest of the video. 🤔

  15. In indonesia, students have honorable history of intelectual and physical struggle against colonialism.
    That translated to tradition of rallying in the street. You are not gonna get your almamater jacket unless you rally.
    If you got wounded or jailed, youll be a campuss hero and probably never have to pay for lunch again. If you got shot…theyll name a street or building in campuss after you.

    Altho this tradition was prestiged in post independence tyrants era…. now that we are a full fledge democratic country….students rallies become a more of a nuisance…since they will rally for anything, nothing is too ridiculous to be the theme. Some prestigous universities students senatorum ( our equivalent of collegial frats/societies ), even begin to sell their rallies to bidders. Never the less, students will always be a political drives that help steer the nation goals

    Campusses also enjoyed somekind of above the law status since independence day…. as law enforcers and military are prohibited to enter campusses , unless theres serious crimes happens. This in effect indonesian government cannot force down students in campuss area, as usa goverments send in soldiers to shutdown anti vietnam war protests.
    But if students choose to rally outside campusses….anything can happen.

    We considered that frat live allowed back in american campuss to distract them from political movement awareness….it proof successfull as no american students protesting wars after vietnam

    In fact your frat hazing tradition is a military like culture.

  16. This video gives in to the bad rap and stigma of Fraternities and the brotherhoods we build. I am a TKE from NKU and this kind of makes me heated.

  17. There's nothing more ironic than frats and sororities at an HBCU. African Americans joining those period is just a example of the uneducated sickness of assimilation.

  18. This video does not represent how black fraternities work…They need to do a separate one for black fraternities. Totally different than whites. Waayy more serious. And you will never/rarely hear black fraternities refer to themselves as frats..

  19. Yet, i still dont know how I went from freshmen to last year of college today! I only have 14 college friends on me and we made it together!. Mechanical Engineering

  20. Fraternities in history: use each other to influence politics and create revolutions under the false premise of freedom and equality

    Today: yeah dude beer

  21. My college doesn’t have a frat row and we’re all depressed about the prospects of our social lives. Where’s the data for that?

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