Members of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity from both Emery and University of Florida last week invaded an event for veterans and their families, spitting on wounded veterans and their service dogs, urinating on the American Flag. In a seemingly never ending horror show of sexual assault, battery, falls from heights, hazings, death by alcohol and acts ranging from foolhardy to criminal, author and commentator Shawna Vercher called this latest display the final straw — “I’m done! These fraternities should be shut down. What purpose do they serve?” As author/commentator Anita Finlay was quick to point out, “It’s about the almighty dollar. Frat houses provide a lot of housing, saving Universities ‘untold millions.'” Is a financial motive behind College Administrators’ protection and tolerance of this behavior?
The Atlantic recently featured Caitlin Flanagan’s devastating article, The Dark Power of Fraternities. Flanagan states her “yearlong investigation of Greek houses reveals their endemic, lurid, and sometimes tragic problems—and a sophisticated system for shifting the blame.” Finlay wondered if fraternities foster bad behavior and poor judgment or if young men already prone to these actions are attracted to the fraternity environment. Vercher suggested “It’s a gang mentality.” Fraternities have actually produced 18 out of 44 presidents, yet judging by the actions exhibited at the Florida’s Warrior Beach Retreat last week and reports of sexual assault that are finally being revealed, there is little evidence of positive leadership.
If the assaults on women at campuses around the country have not yet caused us to rethink fraternities, is it likely this latest incident will?
Watch our latest segment of Dare We Say and weigh in with your thoughts. Do fraternities serve a purpose, or does the human cost outweigh any remaining positive?