Brotherhood no more: the state of today’s fraternities

By Steve Likovetz
Staff writer

Fraternities pride themselves on brotherhood, philanthropy and being an example of model students on campus — or at least they used to. Greek organizations have evolved into hazing rituals, underage drinking and wild parties.

When fraternities began in the mid-to-late 19th century, they existed as a place for students to gather and discuss current events and literature, but they have long since abandoned their history and no longer embrace the values with which they started.

Problems with fraternities have always existed, but 2017 has become the worst year in recent memory. The difficulties that most fraternities have experienced revolve around their hazing rituals.

Fraternities define hazing as a rite of passage where freshman pledges are put through various events that will end in them becoming brothers. These hazing rituals have turned dangerous and many are littered with underage drinking.

Penn State, the University of Texas, LSU, Florida State University and, most recently and close to home, the University of West Florida, have all suspended either some or all fraternity activities on their campuses due to misconduct. While these suspensions are a good start to resolving these problems, more must be done.

Underage drinking is a way of life at most universities, but when students use it as a ritual that leads to multiple deaths, it’s time for administrations to find the quickest possible solution.

It is the job of universities to keep students safe. Parents entrust the lives and education of their children to the staff and faculty of a university, but fraternities have undermined this trust. It’s time for universities to reestablish their control over fraternities. There are two swift actions that would either curtail or eliminate the problem, one more lenient and the other strict.

The first choice is to bring frats back on campus. Off-campus homes meant to serve as housing for fraternity members make it difficult for universities to monitor their activities.

Moving these houses on campus would help administrators know what is happening inside these fraternities. Parties would be under the jurisdiction of the university, and hazing rituals would have to change. The threat of a visit from the campus police or administration could serve as a deterrent. If this doesn’t result in improved behavior, the guaranteed solution is to remove fraternities from campus life.

The traditions of fraternities have been abandoned. Young students in search of belonging and brotherhood are being subjected to illegal acts of abuse. Instead of brotherhood, they are put in harm’s way and may never have the chance to be called brother.

What happened to brothers having each other’s backs? How many arrests need to happen to make change? How many students must lose their life to make change? When will fraternities be held accountable for their actions?

If fraternities can’t be controlled, then they have no place in our schools. Get fraternities back to the traditions and values they were founded on and stop letting students dictate what is best.

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