Thingish Things

The Big Fat Fraternity Lie

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Sep• 27•11

If fraternities were to be invented today, they’d never make it.  

Imagine the Campus Club-Day sales pitch: Come join an all-male, strictly alcohol-free association where you can  learn the Greek alphabet and wear funny robes in an environment legally bound to show respect to all prospective members and visitors.  Dues and insurance premiums mandatory. 

“What do ya say we check out the Chess Club…?”

National fraternity governing bodies have become so emasculated by lawsuits and political correctness that they have lost all real-world market value.  Fortunately, their local chapters break their rules at every possible turn, keeping the national buzzkillers in jobs throughout the year.  I know members of my fraternity did, and that was in the early 1980’s when fraternities were still legally permitted to have fun. We cleaned up our act for 48 hours every time “national” was in town and blew the doors off the joint as soon as they left.

Today we learn that the national Kappa Alpha Fraternity is suspending and suing its University of Texas chapter for $200,000 for making its pledges do pushups and forcing them to watch a stripper ply her wares.  The shocking – shocking! – behavior of the longhorn Greeks even made it onto Drudge today.  

Pushups and an interpretive dancer?  Are you serious? That was a lame Tuesday night when I was in college.  I say that not boastfully, but as a matter of fact.  The lot of us would be jailed today for what would happen on Wednesday’s, Thursday’s, and Friday’s.  I’m not proud of it all – about three-quarters of it – but it made me loyal friends for life because we all have dirt on each other.  I’d go to a Saudi prison before giving up some of our stories.

As for hazing, yep, damned straight we did it.  It was awful to go through, but, in all honesty, I’ve had worse Monday’s in my professional life.  Excesses and tragic accidents have happened, no doubt, but they are rare and generally involve individual acts of extreme stupidity.  

National fraternity organizations today are a big fat lie.  They lay down rules they know individual chapters will not follow, and then throw those chapters under the bus when their members get caught.  Why do the national organizations play this charade?  Because they need the dues and insurance dollars undergraduate chapters kick up to them to stay in their jobs. Local fraternity chapters should  go rogue and starve their national organizations into bankruptcy for the hypocrisy alone. 

The ostensible purpose of fraternities today is preposterous.  Thank God college kids don’t read charters. 

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One Comment

  1. John Bermingham says:

    Amen, Brother! I’ve been saying this for years. But the problem goes deeper than just the national governing bodies. It’s a societal issue. The hypocrisy starts with the double standard of treating citizens who are 18 years old as adults when it is convenient (right to vote, enlist in the military, etc.) and then snatch away equal protection under the law when it comes to consuming alcohol. If they tried that with senior citizens they’d never get away with it. (Hell, we can’t even get those old codgers to give up driving!) They (and by “they” I mean those who write these stupid laws at the urging of MADD mothers and university officials) rely on the fact that 18 – 21 year olds are generally not well connected, politicaly, and have too much on their plate with studies and part-time jobs to fight this injustice. If only they could get together and vote as a block for politicians who would repeal this prohibition, they might have a chance at having as much fun as you and I did in college!

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