Up for Discussion Greek life

With the start of the spring semester, rush season is upon us. Fraternities and sororities have begun the process of welcoming new members into their ranks.

At the same time, there is mounting national attention trained on the role Greek organizations play on college campuses, and how they may contribute to dangerous behavior, such as binge drinking and sexual assault.

Colleges around the country have enacted policies aimed at reforming, or even abolishing, Greek life. The University of Virginia, the subject of the since-challenged Rolling Stone story recounting an alleged gang rape, rolled out a series of new policies designed to make fraternity houses safer spaces. In Connecticut, both Trinity College and Wesleyan University have mandated that fraternities become co-educational.

We asked five members of the Yale community to discuss the merits and the flaws of Greek life.

Service and sisterhood


Joining a sorority not only introduced me to a community of intelligent, resilient and driven women on campus, but it also presented me a new medium through which I could give back to my community.

Dividends of diversity


In fact, it is difficult to ignore that the Greek lifestyle, especially the “housed Greek life,” poses a range of risks for college students, from rape to alcohol abuse.

Look beyond the letters


Fraternities are far from the only organizations on campus that build a social climate conducive to sexual violence. If we narrowly focus our feminist fight on fraternities, we risk completely missing problematic and dangerous dynamics in other spheres.

Safe space for candor


Beyond the bare minimum of ensuring safety and respect, members of Greek life — because this goes for sororities too — can talk comfortably about their desires and have highly sex-positive discussions that contribute to their development into healthy adults. On the whole, these conversations need to happen not just within fraternities, but in other spaces across Yale.

A haven for friendship


Friends made through classes and academic extracurricular organizations can enrich the Yale experience, but there remains a certain formality one must maintain throughout these relationships. The necessary distance often makes it feel like everyone at Yale is all business, and somewhere in the grind, you are left alone with all of your worries. It’s hard to connect on a very personal level when your entire correspondence with an individual is built around a bullet on your resume or a line on your transcript..