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Bloomberg Op-Ed Asks Colleges To ‘Abolish Fraternities’—Should We?

By / 01.08.14

Though their argument doesn't go the hackneyed “you're paying for friends” route, it's a pretty silly op-ed against. Dean Wormer would approve. Speaking of which, take note of the URL: 

Amazing “Animal House” reference, Bloomberg:

So what exactly does Bloomberg mean by “Abolish Fraternities”? 

The op-ed starts with alcohol abuse, which is more of a college problem than specifically a fraternity problem. You don't have to be in a frat to get drunk in college. Just ask any GDI at a big college town watering hole on a Friday night. I mean, have you ever even been to Madison, Wisconsin, bro? Fratstars aren't the only ones getting fucked up: 

Start with alcohol consumption. Although a majority of college students drink, abusive drinking is far more prevalent in fraternities. One study of 17,000 students at 140 four-year colleges found that almost 90 percent of fraternity house residents engage in binge drinking (five or more drinks at a time), compared with 45 percent for nonmembers. Binge drinking is associated with a host of ills, from neurological damage to assaults.

Then it goes into hazing, which isn't just a fraternity problem as well — it's a problem a lot of organizations face. It's especially brutal amongst sports teams (as even at the NFL level) and in marching bands in the south: 13 marching band members were arrested at Texas State for hazing; a student in the band at Florida A&M University via injuries from hazing

Alcohol abuse also plays a central role in one of the most corrosive aspects of fraternities: hazing of new members in initiation rituals that are often brutal and vile. Sadly, at least one student has died in hazing episodes in each of the past 43 years. Although it’s unclear whether alcohol played a part in the death of a student at New York’s Baruch College in November — the third hazing-related death last year — alcohol is often involved.

Hazing is illegal in 44 states, but the existing laws are largely ineffectual or treat hazing as little more than jaywalking. A federal law that made serious hazing a felony offense might help deter this underreported scourge. It might also help college administrators overcome their reluctance to enforce bans on hazing for fear of offending alumni who threaten to withhold contributions. Unfortunately, fraternities have banded together to thwart the passage of national anti-hazing legislation in the past

Also cited by the Bloomberg editorial board: The feeling that “frat boy culture” runs against the higher values of an academic institution: 

The anti-intellectualism that dominates so much of fraternity life — the frat-boy culture of spring-break lore and “Animal House” — also takes a toll on its members’ academic performance. Even adjusting for differences in ability, age and other factors, fraternity members tend to have lower grades and underperform compared with their nonmember peers in tests of cognitive skills.

And that it gets in the way of achieving the higher ideal of campus diversity (even though minority groups have Greek life organizations of their own): 

Fraternities also are at cross-purposes with the goal of promoting campus diversity. As a whole, they are more homogenous than the overall college student population.

Bullshit or death to all frats? Discuss in the comments and…

Continue reading the whole thing over at Bloomberg…


TAGSFraternitiesFrats
Brandon Wenerd
About Brandon Wenerd... Brandon Wenerd is BroBible's senior editor, guru of @brotips, and director of strategic partnerships. He joined BroBible in the fall of 2009 after graduating from Penn State. When he’s not writing, Brandon enjoys fishing, Phish, Philly sports, Dewey Beach, supporting live music, hot sauce, and beer. E-mail him with post ideas and news tips: brandon@brobible.com.

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