Friday, September 12, 2014

It's Not About Fraternities Anymore

I don't spend a lot of time on Eagle Row.  I'm not in a fraternity anymore.  In fact, I'm not even at Emory this semester.  That being said, what's happening on campus right now is nauseating.  As our academic ranking continues to fall, apparently the quality of life must diminish as well.  The fraternity houses and sorority lodges are now subject to daily walkthroughs--an invasion of privacy that fundamentally undermines the opportunity for individual exploration and growth that college is supposed to embody.

Fraternities haze.  And drink.  We get it.  Whether it's in the house on Eagle Row or in some basement of a house 3 blocks off campus, it happens.  For once, let's stop talking about why fraternities are bad, and take a moment to remember why they are so instrumental in the social atmosphere that sets the tone of a college campus.

Traditionally, fraternity row has been a place where students can go to blow off steam.  We didn't get into Emory by neglecting our schoolwork, and the office of Greek life never fails to remind us that the Greek population has a higher average GPA than the rest of the student body.  College students party.  They drink.  But more importantly, they socialize; they meet new, interesting, like-minded, and diverse people.  $60,000 a year is supposed to cover a lot more than 8 semesters of classes.  If that's all I wanted I would've gone to public school in Maryland and saved my parents a small fortune.

This new policy is supposed to promote the safety and comfort of the students living on Eagle Row.  Yet, once again, all the school is doing is to mold the hollow image that it presents to the public.  The fact of the matter is that Emory is more than a ranking.  It's more than an average SAT score.  It's more than a highly touted dining hall, and exceptional job placement after graduation.  What the university has seemingly forgotten, is that it is made up of students.  We are real people who want to be proud of our school and enjoy our time there, not just graduate and move on.

In the end, walking through fraternity houses doesn't encourage students to drink more responsibly, it just encourages them to drink elsewhere.  Eagle Row has transformed from a social melting pot where students develop lifelong relationships, to a desolate wasteland where nobody wants to be.  I came to Emory because I thought it was a school for intelligent people who also liked to have a good time.  I'm not sure if I believe that anymore.