right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04

Fraternity controversy at Swarthmore

1235789

Replies to: Fraternity controversy at Swarthmore

  • doschicosdoschicos 20445 replies209 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 20,654 Senior Member
  • Muad_dibMuad_dib 878 replies21 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 899 Member
    I’m glad to see the fraternities at Swarthmore close up shop. I hope this trend continues across all college campuses.
    · Reply · Share
  • EyeVeeeEyeVeee 670 replies7 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 677 Member
    @Muad_dib
    I’m glad to see the fraternities at Swarthmore close up shop.
    Do you know anyone involved with the frats or the school?
    · Reply · Share
  • monydadmonydad 7793 replies158 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7,951 Senior Member
    edited May 2
    Two of my prior posts cobbled together:
    "I certainly see the problem though. Teenage boys are not known for their maturity, as a group, to start with. Then you get that subset of them that is most prone to "boys behaving badly" and put them together in a fraternity, (Not one that my son would ever successfully pledge, but whatever). with like-minded individuals. Individuals specifically selected on the basis of being compatible with those others. Then you leave them on their own, without parental supervision, for the very first time in their entire lives. Now that's true of all of the kids, but this particular cohort becomes a "group". And "group" behavior is known to deviate from individual behavior, not always in socially constructive ways, So there really are some problems, in formulation.

    But I would hate to see a solution that would eliminate the kind of very positive experiences that my son had . "


    And
    "Joining a fraternity was not my "thing" when I went to college.

    But it turned out to be a great thing for my son, to the point where I think I maybe made a mistake,. The fellowship and comraderie of a more intimate group materially improved the quality of his college experience, I'm sure of it. He's not that outgoing, and I think he would have had a worse time of it "on his own".

    Certainly nobody wants their daughters assaulted, or their sons injured during pledging.

    Hopefully someone can find a way to curb the abuses while not throwing out the proverbial "baby with the bath water".

    Most recent update:
    He still sees his friends from college, more than I ever did mine, and a good chunk of them are from his fraternity.
    The fraternity buddies get together several times a year. There were no negatives I am aware of to his fraternity experience. Just positives.
    edited May 2
    · Reply · Share
  • liska21liska21 625 replies10 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 635 Member
    I lived in an theme house for 3-years in college. It was very close socially and most of my life-long friends are from that house. But we had a Resident Assistant who lived at the house and was responsible for reporting individuals who abused alcohol/drugs, report anything resembling hazing, and generally kept an eye out for issues in the house. Given the long history of fraternities having problems with self-governing, I don't understand why they are allowed to be self-governing and aren't required to have a RA (or whatever that position is called at their college) who is lives in the house and is unaffiliated with the house. At my college, fraternities did have paid staff but they were affiliated with the house (members of the fraternity). Having independent supervision in the house does not take away from all the good things that a fraternity or sorority provides--except the "good" things that involve hazing, excessive alcohol, assault, racism, etc.
    · Reply · Share
  • donnaleighgdonnaleighg 1548 replies33 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,581 Senior Member
    Just to be clear, in the case at Swarthmore, the frat houses are not residential. As I understand it, one brother lived there, but only one. It was primarily a "get-together" place. So an RA is not relevant to this particular situation.
    · Reply · Share
  • EyeVeeeEyeVeee 670 replies7 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 677 Member
    edited May 2
    @liska21 - At Swarthmore, they don't live there. It's a (Very small, old stone) building (sort of) on the edge of campus.

    It's only a party/gathering place.

    Edit: I say sort of because there are some oddities in the geography. It's actually very close to the dining hall but is sort of tucked behind larger buildings and the train tracks that run through campus.
    edited May 2
    · Reply · Share
  • liska21liska21 625 replies10 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 635 Member
    My comment was about frats in general not Swarthmore frats specifically. But in the case of a non-residential frat, one could require a RA (of sorts) at all meetings and parties. The self-regulating model seems too prone to problems.
    · Reply · Share
  • EyeVeeeEyeVeee 670 replies7 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 677 Member
    There was an RA in the house at Penn State the night that Tim Piazza died. He went to bed after watching part of the ceremony, and got up and went to work while Tim was in the house and before brothers called the police.

    He was a trainer for the football program and a former brother in the house. He resigned a few months ago.
    · Reply · Share
  • MWolfMWolf 1226 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,234 Senior Member
    @EyeVeee The number of 9,000,000 include every person alive who has belonged to a Fraternity OR a Sorority. There are actually about 390,000 members of Fraternities in college, and about 90,000 pledging each year (and therefore being hazed). So 6 deaths per 90,000 pledges is a higher rate than football's 2 deaths per 75,000.
    · Reply · Share
  • liska21liska21 625 replies10 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 635 Member
    @EyeVeee He was hired by the fraternity alumni association and is a fraternity alumni. That's not independent and I haven't seen anything that says he had a responsibility to police alcohol abuses (which is something an RA does in a dorm).
    · Reply · Share
  • yourmommayourmomma 1320 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,321 Senior Member
    From the Not all are bad file: SAE Supports brother after life threatening brain injury.

    https://www.idsnews.com/article/2019/03/sigma-alpha-epsilon-supports-brother-after-life-threatening-brain-injury
    · Reply · Share
  • mathmommathmom 32026 replies158 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 32,184 Senior Member
    @EyeVeee, I'd be happy to tell you about the lecture that somehow involved Aristophanes and jellybeans, or the one where my professor introduced romanticism, by having three screens set up in the auditorium, plus Beethoven in the speakers, but I don't think you'd actually be interested. I went to plenty of parties, but I can't remember any interesting stories about them.
    · Reply · Share
  • Muad_dibMuad_dib 878 replies21 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 899 Member
    @EyeVeee
    Do you know anyone involved with the frats or the school?

    No on both counts, however, I do know people who are/were involved with frats (and sororities) at other schools and they report similar obnoxious and misogynistic behavior. My general opinion is also formed by what I read in the news about greek activity.
    · Reply · Share
  • BurgermeisterBurgermeister 359 replies6 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 365 Member
    Buzzfeed is not a trusted source. Swarthmore's Phi Psi FB page posts truth. The brotherhood included Turks, Armenians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, African Americans and WAPSs who worked to reform the organization. Kudos to them for disbanding.
    · Reply · Share
  • EyeVeeeEyeVeee 670 replies7 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 677 Member
    Quick recaps...

    @MWolf - oops...you're right. I hate when that happens

    @mathmom
    I went to plenty of parties, but I can't remember any interesting stories about them.
    I believe you.

    @Muad_dib - Without knowing anyone at Swat, why would you be glad? I'm not defending sexual assault, rape, inappropriate activities, a class system....but it's also entirely possible that innocent people associated with the Frats are being punished (both currently and in retrospect) for that acts of others. While I am offended by the things written by the brothers, I don't think it's anything people (both male and female) haven't heard before when surrounded by immature blowhards attempting to flex a bit of their stupidity. Rarely did any of us call "stupid" at that age, even when we knew better.

    I say all of this with an insider on the payroll. My daughter was at Swat, and attended dozens of these frat parties between 2014 and 2018. She was there while all of the activities that lead to the closing of the frats took place. When asked, by the strictest definition she was assaulted during that period of time. Inappropriate touch here...."squeezing" through the crowds there...a bit grabby as she described it. It wasn't a surprise, and it happened repeatedly over the years. Anyone looking at it objectively would know it's not right, but you would also appreciate it is a pretty standard, and (for fear of creating a firestorm) harmless act. I say harmless, because if you feel harmed...you leave and don't return. The standard things I'm describing aren't going to impact you long term. More aggressive forms of assault are not what I'm referencing here, and anyone involved in those types of activities should be punished. If we're going to set strict rules for every social interaction at a college, we should shutter them all and move online for everything.

    The "other" problem at Swat is the weakness of school leadership to engage with those who are offended without being held, hostage. The genesis of this thread is that Swat always "pays the ransom". The bandits in this situation start as a relatively small minority of (rightfully) offended students, but their deeper motivations are the desire to feel like they made a difference. "I don't like something, so I'm going to destroy it and those associated with it to feel better about my intellectual wokeness". At a school like Swat, just like those who didn't stand up against the brothers who did this, the "intellectuals" quickly distribute the pitchforks and start going door to door looking for Frankenstein ('s monster).

    In the end, some of the people who attended the events and accepted the conditions without comment, turn on accused and join the mob. That's the part that bothers my daughter. The things written and possibly done are wrong, but so is the revisionist history so many now blindly embrace without consideration for its context or accuracy. What Swat is now going to find is a campus with less to do socially. The rigors of the academic programs need a release valve at times, and removing one of those from a small campus already lacking large social activities has the potential to make things worse. Will sexual assualt stop when the drinking and partying moves to groups of 10 in a dorm room versus 200 in a larger venue? Will Swarthmore feel more and more isolated to the students as the ability to interact with anyone outside your core friend group shrinks? Will the Tri-Co interactions go away because BM and Haverford kids don't come for the frat parties or other events? It's a slippery slope, and while assault should NEVER be part of the mix, it is an issue that is present in nearly every social format we have as a culture.

    There is a rebuttal to one of the articles by a former frat member that describes the betrayal he feels in this process (first comment on the link below). I'm not going to litigate this on this forum ad-nauseum over the next few days, but I think it's worthwhile to consider the long term impacts of eliminating everything from the past. I'm OK with the elimination of all Greek organizations from campuses, but what is the replacement? What will bring people together to share a sense of community and create opportunities to interact with strangers? How are young adults going to learn to socialize with those they find attractive beyond swiping left and right?

    It's easy to destroy something, but sooner or later you have to build a replacement or accept teh permanent collateral damage.

    https://swarthmorephoenix.com/2019/05/02/2013-du-minutes-past-members-provide-window-into-culture-of-frat/?fbclid=IwAR2OcRVvhVsJeUcKThvl7o1s6mAjdPojBdtX_otDuIhxl7COEPi7jWPxmZ8

    · Reply · Share
  • EyeVeeeEyeVeee 670 replies7 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 677 Member
    Wisteria100 - I don't condone it, and if knowing that will be something male college-age students do...avoid them. Don't go. If no girls show up, one of the smart boys might figure it out and have a party where that doesn't happen. That said....it continues. It's a tricky conversation, but as long as the girls don't reject it (including my daughter), then what's the impetus for change? From our conversations, it wasn't a serial problem...it was occasional.

    If having a social life at Swat (or anywhere else) requirements that you "run the gauntlet" (to use a tailhook reference), why not replace it with something else? I agree that's preferable, but the replacements seem few and far between.
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity