I am in a Greek fraternity (Phi Delta Theta if you really care to know) and at my campus there has been a big push in the greek community towards getting official recognition from the student union. Now our comunity is very small maybe 1 percent of students are in a greek society if that. I'm basically starting this thread to gauge where the perception of these groups is from not only atheists but also people from outside the demographic of a university student.

I'll briefly state my position, the four main criticisms we tend to face are sex bias, alcohol, hazing and discrimination of homosexuality. I find sex bias absurd because there are also sororities, and the student union recognizes several different ethnic and religious groups (or both in the case of Chinese Christians.) With alcohol, many university students drink and while we have a good time just like any other student we also know there's a time and a place for it. The fraternity I'm in has several people
on the dean's list and mandatory study halls so we're not just a bunch of drunken idiot frat boys. Although I can't speak for all Greek societies the one I'm in has a zero tolerance hazing policy and
I was never once hazed during my pledge period. As for treatment of homosexuals this one's harder to prove. although we don't have any current gay members I'm told we have a gay alumni although I've never met him.. In any case, if a homosexual came to us we wouldn't turn him away cause of that.

So any thoughts? Have you had any experiences with Greek life in the past? What's your perception?

Tags: fraternities, greek, life, soroities

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Brian, I think you're fighting an uphill battle. If there is one thing that has influenced the perception of fraternities outside of universities it has to be the movie Animal House. I know that sounds shallow but that's the first thing that came to my mind, not that I'm the arbiter for all things fraternal.

There are so many kinds of fraternities and sororities and each one has their own focus and reputation. The ones that make the most noise are the ones that get the most attention IMHO.

Just my two centavos...
You know it's weird, I've never seen animal house. Anyway ya I find a lot of people think the same way. Hell before I joined I thought idiot drunken frat boys but we're nothing like that.
I'm certainly not trying to paint all fraternities with the same broad brush. But you do have to admit that you wouldn't have to look very far to find a drunken frat party. Of course, things could have changed in the many years since I went to college - back then we made up our own fraternity (the legitimate ones wouldn't have us) and we called it Tappa Kegga Beer. I learned a lot at college, some of it in the classroom.

BTW, rent Animal House. It's hilarious and somewhat of a window into college life long ago.
Well most university students do drink and party, you don't have to be greek to throw a party. But like I said earlier, we understand that there's a time and a place for it and it's definitely not the only thing we do or the only reason we exist.

Ya more then one person has told me to do that, I'll get around to it.
I remember them from college. They could pretty much do whatever they damn well pleased. They looked down their noses at the non greeks,kinna like xtains do.

Once,I remember walking by three sorority sisters..One was being "punished."
She was told:"You cannot speak to no one and no one can speak to you."
I thought that was a crock of shit and if someone said that to me,I'd tell them where to shove it.
Well the last thing you stated is hazing and we have strict policies against that. As for what you first said, while we are definitely not like that I actually find that a few student union recognized societies are. You're going to find that at whatever school you go to, there's always going to be a group like that.
I guess this is kind of the thing I was expecting, however Greek life has gone through many reforms in the last 10 or so years. I can't speak for all groups but the one I'm in is definitely not cliquey. For example we've gotten members room mates to come events and the pub and such when they were hesitant at first and said they didn't want to interfere with fraternity stuff. All of our members have their own thing on the side. I'm in the drum line, we have a couple athletes, people on the student government, in the science society etc. I would even say that several of our student societies, like the athletes and the spirit squad, are more cliquey then us and we're really not cliquey. We have a wide variety of personalities and beliefs, I'm not even the strongest atheist in the fraternity for example (though I'm in the top two.)

I would also point out that perhaps it had more to do with you going to a conservative school rather then the greek societies themselves.

As far as the cheat ring, well that's something that we definitely wouldn't condone.
I agree. Fraternities and Sororities have banned most (if not all) hazing. And laws have been passed (at least here in P.R.) restricting practices that have lead to different situations in which pledges have been hurt. My sorority does have a "clique" but like Brian said, we are all part of groups like Math Clubs, Student Council, Theater, etcetera. We obviously have a very close bond because we do work together at times very closely for activities and such. But it's not like we limit our social interactions to Greeks only, that would be absurd. But obviously every group is different and the people in it act according to their mind set and way of thinking.

Alcohol I agree is an issue, people expect it all to be parties (which yeah they are definitely fun) but it's not all people do. Charity work is a major part and civic responsibility. At least for me, I didn't join to drink it up, that I could do on my own time and not have to go through a process of pledging/initiation to be able to do it.
Glad to see someone's on my side lol. What sorority are you in? (Inter)national or local?
LOL! Sure thing! I guess I shared almost everyone's perception of Greek life until I was approached by it. Which was completely random and unplanned (even though my mom is Greek also)

And it's local, Zeta Phi Sigma.
Well, if it's not all of those things we think it is, can you explain exactly what you guys do?

I always thought fraternities/sororities were weird clubs the spoiled prep/jock kids joined when they weren't ready to let the social aspects of high school go. 21 and under, at least in mentality. The isn't meant as an insult. It's just that some people grow up poor have to go to community college, or straight to work at first and the fraternities/sororities always seemed like yet another elitist thing kids from families with money do.
Well I'll tell you about mine bearing in mind that most social fraternities have similar stories.
Phi Delta Theta was started in 1848 at Miami University in Ohio, we have over 200,00 members and alumni. Although we are a social organization we do much more then that. We help each other out with studies, which includes mandatory study halls and we have a scholastic chair that keeps us on track. we also do philanthropy events, we've raised several thousand dollars this year.

Famous members include President Benjamin Harrison, Niel Armstrong, Roger Ebert, Burt Reynolds, Lou Gehrig, Frank Lloyd Wright, Robert Wise, who directed one of my favourite movies the classic Day the Earth Stood Still, so we have a wide variety of alumni as well. We're not all jocks or preps (are you telling me Roger Ebert is either?) I'm pretty far from both of those, I'm the drummer in a metal band and I'm a marching band geek as well. my favourite physicist Richard Feynman was also in a fraternity but not mine.

Believe it or not in high school I was one of the most socially inept people you would ever meet, I was the guy who was rejected by the rejects. Being in the fraternity has helped me improve my social skills quite a bit going to social events and such. And it's helped me be social outside the fraternity as well so it's been a huge help. Also I did work right out of high school, almost went to community college but decided to go back to high school for some extra years because I decided I wanted to go into science, I'm 21 and I'm in first year.

As for the charge of Elitism I think it has some merit although it's not 100% valid. At least one brother that I know of has worked his way up from a poor family to be here, and he's definitely not a prep or a jock lol, great guy though. In any case, University itself is elitist so the idea that the student union wouldn't recognize us is absurd. We also have an honors society the Golden Key which is far more elitist then we could be yet is recognized by the student union.


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