Oftentimes, when I read the politics section of any newspaper, I find myself feeling largely disengaged from the issues. I know, at least in a broad sense, how the policies being debated affect me and the people around me, but most issues—social security, healthcare and others—do not affect me in my life right now.
However, some political issues directly impact us. As college students involved in Greek life, the world is turning their eye on us, and not always in the most positive way.
Our college life is largely defined by something most people know very little about: a piece of legislation called Title IX.
What is Title IX?
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance...."
Very simply, it guarantees that students on college campuses will not be discriminated against based on gender. Have you ever wondered why there is only a women's soccer team on our campus? It is because of this law. It requires there be an equal number of men and women's sports teams, as well as assuring that discrimination based on gender or race will be properly addressed.
Why does this matter to you?
Hopefully you can see where this is going. Sororities and fraternities, as you well know, are same-sex organizations, which inherently discriminate based on gender. As a result, the legality of these organizations is being questioned, and many are trying to allow both genders to join either type of organization. Currently, Greek life is exempt from Title IX restrictions, but it is being brought to Congress to remove those exemptions. NPC and IFC are passing rules to combat this, such as the new restrictions on women's involvement in fraternity recruitment, but Greek life as we know it may be at stake, especially in light of all the scandal in the news.
Personally, I think there is something incredibly empowering in being surrounded by women, working towards the betterment of women and men alike. It is has forced me to grow in incredible ways, and helped me develop incredible relationships with women from all organizations. I would guess men feel the same about their organizations.
As members of a university that has Greek life so greatly integrated into its environment, this shift would radically change the dynamic of our campus. This is a political issue directly impacting us, and is a chance for the young generation to shape the political sphere for our future.
If you feel passionate about this, or any issue, reach out to the people whose sole job is to represent your interest. If enough people do this, our voices will be heard.