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Fraternities: respectable?

  1. Dec 18, 2006 #1
    What do your observations tell you of the function and reputation of college fraternities?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 18, 2006 #2
    More generally, the function of colleges is to give paper certificates to uesless idiots so that they may become managers or lawyers. In this system, Greek houses allow these idiots to pass their time with social drug abuse as they wait four years for their paper certificates.

    I'm a rather cynical person.
  4. Dec 18, 2006 #3
    As for reputation, it depends whom you ask. Anyone pursuing a hardworking, meaningful life will avoid Greek houses like a plague. I just transfered out of a school with ubiquitious Greek life; the academic environment was very unpleasant (too many pre-business types).
  5. Dec 19, 2006 #4


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    Unfortunately, most people outside the Greek system have opinions like that of Rach3. Also unfortunately, there are many fraternities which really do deserve this kind of criticism, so it prevents the "good" ones from being so recognized.

    I consider myself a hard-working person, and I've already achieved what I feel is a meaningful life. I also helped re-colonize one of the oldest social fraternities in both my University and in the country: the Epsilon chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha at Virginia Tech. I feel that the academic environment at Virginia Tech was quite "pleasant," and I feel that both the University and my fraternity helped shape me to be best prepared for my "hard-working, meaningful life" of choice.

    - Warren
  6. Dec 19, 2006 #5
    So if many fraternities are deserving of my attitude, then what's wrong with it? If the majority of these Greek houses are party palaces sending young kids onto paths of idle drug abuse, shouldn't one recommend against them categorically, since the likely risks outweigh the likely benefts? I mean, so what if some people benefit from them, if most won't? Do you disagree that my attitude is the appropriate one?

  7. Dec 19, 2006 #6
    Do reputable fraternities have any responsibility to reform decadent ones? Do most universities enforce an honor code upon such social societies, or do these groups wield undue influence over the universities themselves? What have most frat brothers or sisters in common besides the stereotypes of nepotism and drinking?
  8. Dec 19, 2006 #7
    No, they're independent organizations.

    The latter.

    Well, they're socially inept kids looking for a place to 'fit in', they're lazy dolts, and they all help each other cheat on papers (only way they can graduate, you see.)

    Not all of them, just most.
  9. Dec 19, 2006 #8
    Remember what I said about complaining all the time?
  10. Dec 19, 2006 #9
    Yeah, I remember your complaints. :tongue2:
  11. Dec 19, 2006 #10
    I was in Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, our brother fraternity Phi Beta Sigma, was a mix of social elitism, and their views of woman were very misogynistic. I was embarrassed of them.
    This was in the 70's, they might of changed by now. I honestly have no idea.
  12. Dec 19, 2006 #11


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    There are no distinct responsibilities, but chapters of different fraternities will often cooperate on one campus -- to organize some large philanthropic event, for example -- and that does lead to some transfer of ideas.

    On the other hand, distinct chapters of the same fraternity -- at two different schools -- often do quite a lot of "reform" work for chapters they feel are slipping. Most fraternities have annual or semi-annual regional and national conferences, and the point of all of these conferences is to educate and inform the leadership of each chapter on how best to accomplish goals and improve their chapters. You'd probably be very surprised how professional such conferences are -- I was. The national headquarters of all fraternities are staffed, of course, with professionals, and these professionals are tasked with improving the fraternity from the top down.

    Rach3 is honestly talking out his ass on this topic, probably because he has no actual experience. Fraternities have absolutely no power over their universities. Universities can and do revoke charters for almost any reason. If a party is busted for underage drinking, the chapter is gone. If the university is not willing to offer a chapter housing, and the surrounding town will not budge on zoning laws, the chapter is gone. If a chapter does not meet academic requirements, or is caught enabling cheating, the chapter is gone. Universities couldn't care less about revoking charters, and fraternities are powerless to stop such action, legally, financially, or otherwise. Fraternities regularly have to expel brothers who they believe are a threat to the fraternity's future.

    They're obviously social people, who seek a sense of belonging and want to be involved in "big things" around campus. We hosted concerts, put on very popular philanthropies at a local motorsports track, held very elaborate socials, and generally had a fantastic time. We also held mandatory study hours for brothers who weren't doing well enough (a GPA of under 3.0 meant the brother had to attend supervised study hours, with tutors provided, for ten hours a week; under 2.5 meant expulsion), had mandatory volunteer weekends, and did many things that didn't fall under Rach3's stereotype of idle drug abuse and cheating.

    In fact, I will admit that my brothers drank their fair share of beer. When they weren't drinking beer, my brothers were also the presidents of honor socities, tae kwon do champions, 4.0 students, varsity football players, people who had worked on Habitat for Humanity houses literally every weekend for years, successful entrepreneurs, leaders of search and rescue organizations, operators of the student astronomical observatory, published writers, brilliant mathematicians, musical performers with record contracts, and pretty much some of the most upstanding, incredible young men I've ever had the honor of standing with on a stage. These were men I would never have met in any other way, and that is what made my fraternity special for me.

    I remember so many wonderful things about those years of my life: the elegant socials, playing guitar on-stage while my brother Lee sang, tutoring other guys in their study hours, filling up a whole block of stadium seats at the football games, having killer tailgate parties with alumni, singing songs while we cleaned up highways, lifting what felt like 500 kids in and out of go-karts as part of our speed week philantrophy event... god, you name it.

    I have so many fond memories of my fraternity, in fact, that it makes me sad that anyone else would categorically recommend against such organizations.

    - Warren
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2006
  13. Dec 19, 2006 #12
    A friend of mine is in a sorority so I hear a lot about sororities and frats, and the more I hear the less respect I have for them. However there are 1 or 2 that do seem not to bad.
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