Last semester, the Interfraternity Council (IFC) at Washington State University shut down Alpha Kappa Lambda. The reason?
It was a long process of the report, a temporary suspension, a two-month long investigation by the IFC, WSU, and AKL nationals, and finally, the chapter's charter was revoked.
When the news broke that IFC had shut the fraternity down, rumors spread across WSU's Greek Row like wildfire. People were angry, confused, and everyone had questions, but nobody was giving any answers.
Granted, some details are legally withheld, but finding facts about the fraternity shutting down was next-to-impossible.
I remember sitting in the dining room of my chapter, reading the school newspaper article about it and hearing my sorority sisters complaining, saying they knew what AKL did to their pledges — that it wasn't "that bad," especially in comparison to other chapters on our campus.
I was stunned. What do you mean not "that bad?" What would these boys have to do to be wrong, in their eyes? Also, if other fraternities were doing worse things, why was nobody doing anything about it?
Eventually, the news died down and everyone forgot about the hazing. I stopped thinking about it. I forgot about it. If the university wasn't talking about it, surely it could have been all that bad. AKL was the example, the warning to the rest of the chapters partaking in potentially dangerous activities.
I was so wrong.
I will spare you the details, but Wilson Criscione at the Inlander sums up what really happened at AKL nicely.
After finding this article, I tried to find a report from Pullman or WSU about AKL. Surely, they had to have released something explaining what had really happened those nights.
So I got to digging. I spoke with friends and was horrified to find that while AKL did do some pretty messed up things, it is true that they don't even come close to some of the fraternities on our campus. You know, the ones who physically beat their new members.
Hey WSU, I have a question for you:
Why are you not stopping this?
The Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life (CFSL) at WSU talks a big game with their "zero tolerance for hazing."
First, Washington has a no-tolerance hazing law that requires an organization to lose recognition from the University if they are found responsible for hazing or the University is in violation of state law. Second, approximately one fraternity or sorority is found responsible for hazing every year at WSU and if organizations who are not currently hazing do not talk about it, it often creeps back in. Third, while hazing may, in the eyes of some, bond or unite a new member class, it often prevents fraternities, sororities, and individual members from reaching their full potential and will divide the chapter. -CFSL
Okay, so why does nothing happen to these other chapters? Are you telling me you really didn't see this coming with AKL? The chapter was unrecognized for five years in 2009 for "illegal drug and alcohol use and disregard of WSU policies by AKL members." The idea was that after five years, the "bad seeds" would have graduated and the chapter could start anew.
That clearly worked really well.
I'm not saying every member of AKL is bad. I'm not saying all fraternities are bad. I am not saying the Greek community is poisonous and deserves to burn to the ground.
I've been in a Greek chapter since my first semester of college. I loved the support, the idea of women helping others to become better women, the empowerment of being part of a powerful group of women I knew would someday change the world.
Maybe I was naive. Maybe I turned a blind eye to the deterioration of the positive and safe environment around me. Maybe I should have seen it coming.
I should have walked away when I heard it was possible women in my chapter refused to take one of their own to the ER, even when she clearly needed help. They didn't want anyone to find out they'd given minors alcohol earlier that day.
I should have spoken up when young women and men were sexually assaulted and nothing happened to their assaulters — when the events were hidden from all of us. The Greek community is "safe," they tell us.
I should have never sat back down when a fraternity tweeted about taking "social boner pills" to conquer all the women on campus via their "Buffet Date Dash." They told us the boys would be disciplined — we all know they were not.
AKL is only one of many glaring problems on my campus, and the thing is, it is never going to change. Not with the way things are now. Not until someone actually does something.
I can't be a part of this anymore. I cannot sit idly by as freshmen are beaten, forced to drink until they cannot remember their mother's names, taped to one another until their bottles of hard liquor are gone, not taken to the hospital until it is too late, not given an ounce of human decency. I cannot stay quiet in the back of the room, listening to my "sisters" defend hazing. I cannot be a part of an organization that tolerates everything I stand against.
"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."
With all of this, combined with many financial and personal issues accumulated over the last few years, I have chosen to no longer be a member of the Greek community at Washington State.
I'm done remaining neutral.
I'm done being silent.
I'm done defending the Greek community.