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RPI Poised to Halt Fraternity Recruiting

2

Replies to: RPI Poised to Halt Fraternity Recruiting

  • StudentsR1stStudentsR1st Registered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    Please review the documentation RPI was required to post under the Clery Act.

    http://www.rpi.edu/dept/public_safety/stats/RPI_Safety_2017.pdf

    This report, which is required to be submitted in order for RPI to be eligible for government funding refutes the claims that crimes involving alcohol, drugs, and sex are more prevalent in the Greek System (Non-Campus
    Property Any building or property owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the institution.). The report actually indicates that "On-Campus Residential Only" could learn from "Non-Campus Property"
  • RPIchemEsonRPIchemEson Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    edited November 2018
    A newer, better, more meaningful analysis -- pay particular attention to the sections 'High Risk Populations', 'Data Reporting', the data on *where* incidents of all types are occurring, and 'Conclusion'...: https://info.rpi.edu/greek-life-task-force/2017-2018-title-ix-summary
  • StudentsR1stStudentsR1st Registered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    I read the report thoroughly. I think the solution is to work with the Greek Organizations to ensure that sexual assault/harassment is not tolerated. To those who say easier said than done - I know from experience that many members of Greek Organizations are afraid to hold members accountable because coming forward will destroy the organization. That must change. Neither live-in-advisers nor moving rush to the second term will fix this. When I attended RPI Rush lasted 8 weeks, pledging went well into the second term. I think RPI should move in that direction. A longer rush and a longer pledging period would allow both the houses and the prospective new members to get to know each other. I remember incidents of massive depledging every other year or so when a house messed up. The same was true with Rush. It is easy to try to do what others are doing, but Greek Life at RPI has always had less problems than chapters at other schools.

    Finally hazing has to be better defined. It is so broad that I have been told requiring study sessions for pledges is hazing because it separates the pledges. Scavenger hunts are considered hazing without regard to what the pledges are supposed to find (campus offices, local landmarks etc). Skits are considered hazing regardless of the content.
  • BagODonutsBagODonuts Registered User Posts: 57 Junior Member
    Greek organizations need to be responsible and accountable and adaptive. They have proven over and over they resist change and fail to police their own to their own detriment. Any University that has an active traditional Greek culture is a turn off to prospective students who are interested in learning as a priority. The negatives of the entire system far outweigh the benefits to RPI. Perhaps some small portion of the system can be salvaged but Greek life is an outdated and dying concept that must be dealt with to progress as a society.
  • StudentsR1stStudentsR1st Registered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    This CNN article refutes BagODonuts argument and best describes the fraternities I have seen at RPI and elsewhere.

    https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/11/opinions/fraternities-toxic-masculinity-all-male-groups-robbins/index.html
  • lostaccountlostaccount Registered User Posts: 5,409 Senior Member
    edited February 11
    This is an interesting issue. I had a very negative view of frats/sororities and other living groups & societies until I learned more about them at specific schools. The students I know at these frats, sororities and living groups have scholarship as a priority. But they depend upon each other for support with scholarship and recreational activities. In total, they seem to do more good than harm. The problems that are often attributed to these groups don't appear to go away when schools try to eliminate them. Rather, they seem to go underground. A better approach is to improve the overall climate.

    If the concern about frats is because they are suspected of being the cause of problematic conduct, doing away with them is unlikely to solve the problem. Colleges have bemoaned frats and poor conduct for as far back as the founding of these colleges. The most objectionable (and most often cited) noxious conduct is hazing. Early in this country's history, hazing was most often associated with military academies. But in terms of RPI, there have been high profile instances of hazing for as long as the school has existed. But they have not necessarily been tied to frats. For example, in 1888, hazing threatened the entire institution. That's because 11 students were suspended by the faculty in early September, for "alleged complicity and participation" in the hazing one Thomas Mahon Fillmnn who, according to the newspaper, "was decreed ’altogether too fresh' and was rather roughly handled, parts of his body being shaved, his clothing being removed and his body being painted a beautiful green ....". The article noted that "The suspended students will engage counsel and contest the question, and the senior class has given novice that unless the suspended members are reinstated they will all leave. " The entire class was involved because the law apparently dictated that the college could lose its charter if the graduating class was smaller than 7. The full senior class had only 20 students. In 1921 RPI instituted a minimum suspension of one year for all upper classmen convicted of hazing new students. An article noted that "Rumors have been rife since the new students began registering that many hazing "bees" were planned" Yet, only a few years later (1927) the school paper's editor was suspended for advocating that the school maintain certain customs apparently viewed as degrading and hazing by the school.

    Prohibitions do not usually work. In terms of frats, they often result in secretive conduct that falls outside the purview of the university and/or the national Greek organizations, thereby introducing students to even more risks. When colleges take strong arm approaches to student societies and social events, the results can be devastating. Recently one school interjected a mini-vacation in the middle of a semester to stop them from participating in a very popular local event ( "pubcrawl" ). Resentful students pushed back and organized their own unsupervised pubcrawl parties during which a student was killed. A better approach is to find ways to elicit student cooperation geared towards making the events, societies, safer, more inclusive, etc.
  • lostaccountlostaccount Registered User Posts: 5,409 Senior Member
    edited February 11
    @BagODonuts, I think your characterization is overly broad. And even within schools the role, missions, goals and conduct of members of the specific group can differ widely. One school I know fairly well, MIT, has very active Greek organizations. It would not be fair to characterize the students as not viewing learning as a priority. Some of the groups have been problematic but most are primarily positive. But, even in those that are problematic, you can't assume that the cause of the conduct is the frat. It is likely that it is at least partially due to the type of student that is attracted to that particular frat, sorority or living group. In fact, MIT recently closed down a dorm because they suspected that the dorm itself was fueling problematic conduct. Further, and more importantly, prohibiting them does not appear to work. It just drives them underground. It would be better for schools to work to improve the social climates of those that are problematic.
  • BagODonutsBagODonuts Registered User Posts: 57 Junior Member
    @StudentsR1st

    This is an opinion piece written a journalist dedicated to sororities and fraternities. It is not an unbiased analysis.

    Fraternities are not the best environment to teach young men about toxic masculinity. Diverse and inclusive organizations are.

  • BagODonutsBagODonuts Registered User Posts: 57 Junior Member
    @lostaccount

    I agree that my characterization was broad. There are a wide variety of fraternities and people within them. My point is that in order to be of value to a university they need to have an up to date positive value added vision/mission that they follow (and not social), they should self police themselves and kick out the bad actors, follow school rules, and if they are caught not following the rules there should be Zero tolerance.

    Society will progress when a diverse group of people work together in an inclusive manner. Not when a homogeneous group forms some type of exclusive club to the benefit of a few.
  • EmpireappleEmpireapple Registered User Posts: 1,449 Senior Member
    BagODonuts speak for yourself. You can not characterized all Greek life the way you do. My son is a freshman at a large university and the last thing I ever thought he would do was "go Greek." He is an Eagle scout, top student, very mature, and an all around good guy. He was looking for a social group, friends, and a place to be active. He found a very positive, healthy, legal, and supportive group after rushing and finding the right fraternity for him. Greek has been nothing but enhanced his college experience. Being active in a fraternity has certainly been better than sitting in a dorm room playing video games.
  • StudentsR1stStudentsR1st Registered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    BagODonuts: The reporter was far more objective than you have been. I want to ask you who are you to tell others how to live their lives while in college? I am a proud Greek. I have nothing against those who chose not to become Greek. A university exists for its students not the other way around. Saying that groups of students who choose to live a certain way must add value to the university while others do not makes no sense at best and is discriminatory at worst.
  • BagODonutsBagODonuts Registered User Posts: 57 Junior Member
    @Empireapple and @StudentsR1st

    As I said I was broad and your mileage may vary and of course this is my opinion but it is increasingly the opinion of university officials who make the rules for the benefit of all students and the institution. One can always find positive individual acedotes but the trend is clear. Fraternities as a whole need to change because their negatives outweigh their benefits and colleges are pushing back hard. The trend are less and not more. Here is another recent article to consider.

    https://www.usnews.com/news/education-news/articles/2017-12-04/is-greek-life-worth-saving
  • EmpireappleEmpireapple Registered User Posts: 1,449 Senior Member
    BagODonuts "the negatives outweigh the positives." Seriously? Another broad, general, sweeping statement.
    USNEWS...right...no not biased at all in their articles and "reporting."
  • GoRedheadGoRedhead Registered User Posts: 180 Junior Member
    edited February 13
    StudentsR1st you are very deceptive in your argumentation.
    I want to ask you who are you to tell others how to live their lives while in college?
    Where did bagodunots ever tell others how to live their lives?
    A university exists for its students not the other way around.
    strawman argument: no one disagrees with this.
    USNEWS...right...no not biased at all in their articles and "reporting."
    he never said this was the only quote, he quoted one of many articles.

    If you guys are arguing how Greek frats/sororities have a legit right to complain, then you need to bring legit concern to the administration directly. Complaining here on these forums will get you nowhere except for people labeling you as whining snowflakes.

    I got a year and a half left after summer-arch and it's been almost perfect here at RPI. I say almost because if there weren't the constant complaining on the reddit and now here on these forums with you guys, it would have been absolutely perfect. May I suggest you guys grow up, grow a pair, deal with it, man-up, stiff upper-lip and appreciate what a great school RPI is.
  • MagnetronMagnetron Registered User Posts: 2,645 Senior Member
    It has never been about fraternities. It is all about the money. The administration tried to buy the fraternity houses so they could set the per-student fees and raise their income stream. When none of them sold, they set out to discredit and destroy the fraternity system. They have already taken over the formerly student-run union. They are running out of credit and need to increase their access to revenue to pay for all the expansion they have been doing.

    All the talk of toxic masculinity and hazing is obfuscation. Being on the football or hockey team is way worse on both counts but they are not going to discontinue those.

    RPI has never had the reputation as a wild Greek scene even though participation is healthy. If anything, the reputation is of a bunch of socially dysfunctional try-hards. More social kids tend to join fraternities, less social kids tend not to. Both choices are OK. I really don't get all the judgment. This hasn't changed since at least the 1960s.
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