Underclassmen thoughts on Greek future

By Anda Totoreanu & Brad Bormann

Photo by Chris Jones/ The Lafayette

Since the Board of Trustees decided to reevaluate Greek life in three years, underclassmen have had mixed reviews about Greek life on campus. Above, new Greek members celebrate bid day.
Since the Board of Trustees decided to reevaluate Greek life in three years, underclassmen have had mixed reviews about Greek life on campus. Above, new Greek members celebrate bid day.

With the intent to “enhance the quality of fraternities and sororities on the Lafayette campus,” the Lafayette College community was notified by Executive Assistant to the President James F. Krivoski that Greek organizations have three years in which to make standards, or “the College will consider all options, including [their] elimination,” according to the email sent to students.

The classes of 2014 and 2015 will still be enrolled when the future of the Greek system is decided, and at this outset of a three-year Greek reformation, the opinions of underclassmen are varied.

“I’ve heard negative rumors about certain frats and sororities, and I’ve also heard really good things about them,” Kiefer Cortez-Mecham ‘15 said. “I think if there really is a problem, then the administration should take measures to correct [Greek Life], but not to extinguish it.”

“I have high hopes for Greek Life,” Alli Dadouris ’14, a new member of Delta Delta Delta sorority, said. “Greek students are involved and dedicated, and they will work to meet the requirements of theadministration.”

“Think about [Greek Life] as stained-glass windows,” Cortez-Mechamsaid. “It’s a part of history. Sure it might not be necessary to have it, but it’s still part of the Lafayette culture/experience. Plus, I think if Greek organizations truly want to persist, then they can meet these new standards.”

Other students feel that Greek Life is a detriment to Lafayette.

“I would honestly be thrilled to see fraternities banned from campus,” Heather Hughes ‘15 said. She feels problems associated with excessive partying can be ascribed on Greek life.

“They control the partying scene and make it an environment that is excessively dangerous for women because males control the location, the guest list and the access to alcohol while women are expected to be grateful to their male hosts. No organization that is shown to increase violence against women should be allowed to remain on campus.”

While the Working Group on Greek Life’s Report, released in May of this year, cited excessive alcohol use and increased alcohol-related violence by Greeks, there was no direct mention whether this scenario is solely a Greek life problem.

Students believe that decisions regarding the future of Greek Life will also have a resounding impact on the alumni of Greek organizations, who maintain connections to Lafayette through their old Fraternities and Sororities.

“Many of Lafayette’s financial donors are old Frat brothers and Sorority sisters,” Susanna Kim ‘15 said. “Getting rid of Greek Life completely will probably anger them and cause them to stop donating, which would only hurt the school.”

Hughes offers a counter-argument to the loss of alumni donations.

“I think that alumni who donate to the school do not do so only because of involvement with Greek life,” she said. “If the Lafayette administration publicizes its efforts as an unpopular, but morally justified choice, then sympathetic alumni might donate in order to make up for the potential loss in revenue from incoming students.”

Hanna Sotiropoulos ‘14, on the other hand, feels that removing Greek life could negatively impact the future of the school. “I think that Greek life is such a big part of Lafayette that canceling it would deter future students from applying,” she said.

New pledges are of paramount importance in achieving a successful Greek reformation.

“The fact that Greek life is possibly at risk would actually make me more excited to rush,” Cortez-Mecham said.

Kim also feels more inclined to rush in the wake of challenges to the Greek system. “I hadn’t been thinking too much about rushing before this whole debate, but now that I’ve been thinking about it more, it doesn’t really seem that bad.”

In the coming weeks, a working group for the implementation of the Trustees-approved recommendations will be formed. The administration has made clear, however, that the change needed to improve Lafayette Greek life must first come from the students.

“I don’t believe that the Greek system is in serious danger. Although many students complain that the standards for improvement are vague, the consequences for failure are equally murky,” Hughes said. “Their elimination is only one of several possible causes.”