On the afternoon of November 6, shockwaves were sent through the campus of Florida State University by word of mouth and social media as President John Thrasher announced that Greek Life at FSU had been shut down.
First off, I am not affiliated with Greek life and I think that’s important. It is important because it doesn’t matter. I am a student at FSU. I am a part of a diverse community of Greek and non-Greek students and my heart hurts.
A student is dead.
A student has died tragically, and his family has no real closure. Only a few people truly know what happened to him and it will probably stay that way.
A member of the FSU community has died and we grieved for what seemed like a minuscule amount of time.
In the same conversation — or even the same breath — I would hear concern about what fraternities were still having events and what this would mean for the future of Greek life.
I don’t hate Greek life. I have no animosity towards it. I have considered it for myself, something hard not to do at a school like FSU, but ultimately found that it wasn’t for me. I understand the values that each organization is built on. I get the life-long connections that are formed and the friendships that were made that otherwise probably wouldn’t have happened.
But I’m also not dumb.
I know that all that aside, the primary reason for these organizations is to have fun and to party. Anyone who disagrees is tragically misinformed.
I think it works out well in theory. An organization dedicated to brotherhood and sisterhood and service and leadership and academics sounds good on paper. But it takes every member believing in those values and principles and actively working to incorporate them into their community. While those ideals may be a by-product of these organizations they are by no means the main goal.
Brotherhood and sisterhood, and ultimately true friendship, gets put on the backburner.
I think this ban is much needed. These organizations need to take a look at the organization they represent and why they wanted to be a part of it in the first place. It will give much needed time to reflect. To evaluate. To see if these organizations are truly working to hold up the values that they ascribe to in all they do. To create environments that foster learning, leadership, friendship.
In a friendship, you look out for each other. You protect those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to protect themselves. You have the backs of your peers making difficult chokes and support them. You stand up for what’s right. You don’t abandon. You don’t give in to the bystander effect. If you claim to hold someone dear then you would make every effort to show that.
None of us are exempt.
We all need to work continually to do these things. If we all did, if we all tried a little harder, maybe we could prevent just one less tragedy from happening, and that itself would be worth it.
Please, if you ever feel like you need to talk to someone or you are going through something that you can’t get through alone—reach out. Talk to a friend, a mentor, a teacher, call a hotline, schedule a counseling appointment.
We are one FSU.