From One Greek Community To Another, Penn State's Greek Life Sanctions Are Uncalled For

From One Greek Community To Another, Penn State's Greek Life Sanctions Are Uncalled For

Changes need to be made, but why should all chapters suffer for the mistakes of some?

In a recent post from The Collegian, Penn State released the sanctions put in place affecting nearly 19 percent of the student body involved with Greek life.

The Alpha Upsilon chapter of Beta Theta Pi has been banned permanently from the university following the death of a sophomore member. His death occured during a fraternity function, and, as a result, the fraternity as a whole is being held responsible.

Some of the sanctions that were put in place after his death affect not only the Beta Theta Pi chapter but also the entire Greek community at Penn State. For example, formal recruitment has been postponed until the spring of 2018, the number of events that can have alcohol present was limited to 10 per semester (down from 45), a no tolerance policy regarding hazing, and a new monitoring system to oversee events held by Greek organizations.

While some of the sanctions were long overdue, there were some that really struck a chord. The no tolerance policy regarding hazing is one that we both take very seriously here at Ohio State. The fact that Penn State is taking steps to make their Greek organizations safer and more welcoming to all potential members has to be acknowledged as a positive thing. The university also took steps to prevent excessive drinking, which can prevent a lot of other behaviors associated with drinking as well as the Greek community in turn. The limiting of the number of events that can have alcohol at them was also a good plan since it also reduces the risk that the problem of excessive drinking and the monitoring system at events will also make the campus safer for all students.

Another fact that Penn State had to have considered before making this decision was that underage drinking happens on every college campus, regardless of the presence of fraternities and sororities. Greek life is the constant scapegoat for underage drinking when in reality there are many parties across the country that are held by people that aren't affiliated with Greek life at all. The fact that fraternities are specifically targetted in the fight against underage drinking also perpetuates the stereotype that fraternity gentlemen are, in fact, not gentlemen and are not the type of person college age men should want to be. Most of the fraternity men we have met have been nothing but kind, caring, considerate and respectful. While that is not always the case, society and many universities let the few people causing issues spoil the experience for everyone else on campus and in the Greek community. Furthermore, it punishes those chapters who are doing everything right to keep their members safe, rather than rewarding them.

The issue that we have a problem with, as current members of a Greek life organization on our own campus, is the ban on formal recruitment for an entire year. We entirely understand that this issue was the tipping point for Penn State since there have been a lot of issues in the past with the Greek life, as there have been with many universities internationally. However, not every single chapter in a Greek community should have to suffer the consequences of the actions of one chapter. Had neither of us gone through formal recruitment, we would not have found the women we share true and constant friendships with, the women we lean on, and the women who support us unconditionally (even when you want to wear crocs to a party). If recruitment had not been an option the semesters we were eligible to undergo it, we both would not have even bothered to join a sorority. We would have missed out on finding each other (we are a big and little pair who lean on each other constantly), we would have missed out on a sisterhood founded on building strong, independent women, and we would have missed out on a philanthropic cause that quite literally changes lives.

Since we have gone through recruitment and found our home, we know that our sorority not only leaves its mark on us, but we leave our mark on it. If Penn State plans on banning recruitment for an entire year, the entire Greek community will be missing out on hundreds of incredible, philanthropic, and unique individuals that could have wanted to go through recruitment but could not because of a ban. Not only that, but the chapters would have a gap of almost an entire pledge class in their rankings, and the season for recruitment would have to either change or there would be a very different dynamic between the previous pledge class and the upcoming pledge class. Logistically, it would not make sense to change the way every other chapter runs their recruitment because of the faults of one specific incident with one chapter.

The other steps that Penn State took, like adding in the monitoring system and the RAMP certified servers for alcohol, were very well thought out steps to prevent incidents like the event that caused these sanctions to come about. These sanctions would allow the Greek community to not have such a sudden and large impact on them, but it would be a constant reminder that, as college-age students, they are not always going to be in one hundred percent control. It would remind them that while having fun is a big part of their lifestyle, it's more important to keep everyone at the party or function safe; these are their brothers and sisters after all.

The University of Connecticut had a very similar situation occur with the Epsilon Pi chapter of Delta Gamma. A member died after being struck by a car during a night of excessive drinking and the chapter was closed permanently, but there was no ban placed on other Greek organizations for their recruitment or social allowances. In our opinion, this was an effective way to deal with the problem of excessive drinking coinciding with the passing of a member. The chapter that had the issue was taken care of, and the other organizations that were not involved were not punished because they had not done anything wrong.

By banning the recruitment of all organizations for an entire year only perpetuates the stereotype that all Greek organizations do is party and cause trouble on campus. This is nowhere near the truth; chapters from all across the world have a philanthropic duty to give back to the communities that serve them, as well as to create and to inspire young men and women to become the best versions of themselves through the organization and community they are a part of.

The stereotypes of Greek organizations have it all wrong—our chapter, and even our friends' chapters have given us nothing but love, support, and an environment to positively grow in the time we've been a part of them. Penn State should not prevent the continuation of the next generation of young men and women because of the unfortunate events that happened in one chapter. They should allow all current and future members of the Greek community at University Park to grow and to foster the strong relationships between their brothers and sisters. The next round of new members should not be penalized and not allowed to join a chapter because of something that happened when these students haven't even put down their deposit yet.

Our college experiences have been positively shaped by our participation in them, and we cannot imagine our lives without our sisters. Everyone should have the chance to find their home in the Greek community.

Cover Image Credit: Penn State Sunshine Fund

Popular Right Now

20 Fun Facts To Use When Introducing Yourself

As we embark on the semester, we are put on the spot in order to share interesting details about ourselves. This article discloses possible fun facts to tell others!

After experiencing my first week of classes, I have learned that every student needs a handy-dandy list of fun facts about themselves to tell other people. Many professors use the first couple of classes to learn about their students, so you may need to think about who you are and how you want to introduce yourself to your professor and classmates. We all have that one go-to interesting fact about ourselves, but sometimes you just have to mix it up!

1. My favorite hobby is...

What do you do in your free time? Personally, I love to stay active! I am a competitive Latin dancer and enjoy teaching and taking Zumba classes, going to the gym, and hiking.

2. I love...

Is there something, someone, or somewhere that you love? What makes your heart ache? What do you miss when it's gone? I can say that I love my friends because I feel my most confident when I'm surrounded by those who love and support me.

3. I look up to...

Is there someone you adore? Who mesmerizes you? Who do you wish to learn from? After watching "A Ballerina's Tale," I discovered Misty Copeland. In 2015 she became the first African American ballet dancer to become the Female Principal Dancer at American Ballet Theatre. Her passion, grace, and strength continuously motivate me to better myself as an athlete and an individual.

4. This art speaks to me because...

Coco Chanel said, "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." This encourages me to always follow my heart no matter what. I will never follow society's standards and norms because they do not define me. Chanel's saying definitely influences my character and lifestyle.

5. A funny and/or embarrassing memory of me is...

When you make others laugh they want to spend time and make memories with you! Don't be afraid to embarrass yourself. You will come off as down to earth, easy-going, and loyal.

6. My siblings or lack thereof influenced me by...

I can go on and on about my brother, who is 10 years older than I. We have opposite personalities and despite the age gap, we're quite close.

7. My pet(s) are my life because...

Only sad people don't like hearing about furry creatures, even if your pets are slimy and slithering creatures all human beings enjoy hearing pet tales!

8. I'm afraid of...

Your personality can be revealed by your likes and dislikes, including the things that you fear. I am terrified of change and the unknown, hence, the future is an anxiety-inducing topic to discuss for me.

9. I am the way I am because...

What have you gone through in life that has shaped you into who you are today? Remember to be open minded and allow yourself to open up to your peers. You may be surprised by how others respond and/or what others have endured as well.

10. The most unusual item that can be found in your dorm...

This is a fun fact about yourself that can easily liven up an awkward conversation. Think about your quirks and differences! One item I have in my dorm is my teddy bear, Peter, whom I like to joke is my boyfriend.

11. My dream job is...

In college, "What's your major?" is a widespread question. Nonetheless, skip the boring statement of "I'm majoring in..." and go in depth on what your dream job is (hopefully your major factors in to this dream of yours).

12. My hidden talents are...

Angelina Jolie is a knife thrower. Kendall Jenner can produce bird noises. Amanda Seyfried can crochet and knit. Is there anything special you can do? Some people have rare and unique talents, maybe you can think of some hidden talents of your own!

13. My guilty pleasure is...

I will say it a million times: don't be shy when introducing yourself to new people! I'll start by divulging my guilty pleasure: Youtube's family vlogging channel, "OKBaby"!

Check them out:

14. Some activities on my bucket list are...

This is an easy way to grab people's attention and find others with similar desires as you. Be an adventurer! Go out of your comfort zone!

15. Talk about your best friend...

How would your best friend describe you? What do you love to do with your best friend?

16. Talk about an accomplishment of yours...

You are incredible and have achieved so much! Reveal something that you are proud of — show off a little!

17. This one time at my job...

Bosses breathing down your neck. Curious coworkers asking personal questions. Cursing customers who never leave you alone. Your job can be filled with tons of hilarious situations that can easily entertain a crowd.

18. During the summer...

Any scars with stories? Any summer flings? Any lessons learned from the tanning too long? Now that summer is over, disclose memories that can leave positive impressions on others.

19. I volunteer at...

Do you do any community service? Share a funny moment while you were volunteering. What did you learn while there? Would you continue?

20. [blank] is meaningful to me because...

What do you appreciate in life? What brightens your day? What makes you fall in love? What does someone have to do to make you smile?

Finally, remember to be outgoing! Reveal that three-mile smile and open your arms to learning about others. Spread smiles, love, and happiness.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Whether You Love Waking Up Or Hate It, We've All Experienced These 5 Types Of Wake Ups

Is waking up the most exciting part of your day or your worst nightmare?


I believe that everybody has a story, unique and powerful, that inspires us, or encourages us to do something incredible. And these stories can be from any part of our lives: our innocent childhood, our emo-edgy teens, our melancholy adulthood. The story can be a span over all of these eras of human life. This is what I want to explore in myself, a cross-section over the different eras of life, focusing on something I did in each of those eras--every day, actually! I'm talking about the story of waking up.

Let's first look at what happens when one wakes up, without the story plot. The physical, in real life, universal actions of what it means to be conscious and get out of bed...I suppose, that is it! You are, firstly, not sleeping, and secondly, getting out of your spot of rest. These are universal. Nobody can do the action of waking up without going through these two steps. Note that my definition for "waking up" isn't just waking up, but getting up.

Now, let's look at the stories of waking up! There are five big ones that I expect we all have experienced at some point in our lives.

1. The Comedy of Waking Up


I'm not sure what it is as a child, but everything can either be a lighthearted affair or the end of the world. It's either everything is amazing, or everything is horrific. In the case of waking up, I feel like it's almost a mixture of both, resulting in a comedy. A memory that I have from when I was 5-years-old comes to mind: my mom woke me up for school, I jumped up, put on my clothes, freshened up, ate breakfast and rode on my Dad's shoulders to school. The moment I entered my elementary school building, I woke up. Then, I repeated the entire morning the exact same way.

2. Overcoming the Monster of Sleep


Honestly, this is me every day since I was 17-years-old. I picture sleep as an actual monster that tries to keep me from getting up. It's terrifying! Just this morning, the alarm clock woke me up from slumber at 6:30 a.m. The monster then manipulates my mind, casting me under a spell, forcing me to return to bed, against my will. I'd then regain consciousness some 20 minutes later. Realizing what happened, I create a magical sword from sheer willpower, slay the monster and arise victorious.

3. Rebirth and Reformed


Following the story of overcoming the monster, needless to say, I am occasionally defeated. The Monster is a powerful adversary! However, in the words of Kelly Clarkson, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." When I regain consciousness, I'm empowered and motivated to overcome the monster in order to save the world. Or...because lab is in 10 minutes...

4. The Tragedy of Waking Up


I can't decide how to look at tragedy--honestly, I am conflicted. A part of me imagines waking up as the struggle, and therefore not waking up in time is a tragedy. For example, imagining drowsiness as the Monster, the tragedy would be my lack of willpower (or refusal of summoning my willpower) to slay the monster. But, if I see actual life as the enemy, and sleep as an ally, then, actually, Waking Up is the tragedy. I think it depends on where your values are. As a child, the true enemy was school, so it was a tragedy to wake up. But, when the weekend comes in, it would be a tragedy if I overslept.

5. The Voyage From and Return to Bed


Honestly, this is how my entire day is oriented. My daily life is a voyage, and I look forward to returning to the land of bliss: the Carlsbad II matress. The act of waking up is a departure from home to accomplish whatever it is I must do. And the return is the returning home to the resting place.

It's important for us to learn from stories in order for us to be better human beings. From the story "Snow White," or the Serpent and Eve, we know that we should never accept apples from witches or snakes, because we will die! From the story of "The Matrix," we learn to believe in our abilities and to take the red pill. From the story of "Lord of the Rings," we learn to not accept old wizards into our homes if we don't want to go on an adventure.

The question is, what can we learn from these stories of waking up, what pitfalls can we avoid in waking up, what can we expect from unexpected situations, like the cruel reality of waking up the next morning? The general orientation of our entire life can be signaled from how we see our story of waking up. Be a better person, tell us your story of waking up.

Related Content

Facebook Comments