While fraternity membership isn't a requirement for admittance into the holy pantheon of Bro, we here at BroBible most certainly have a hard-on for Greek Life and general fraternal shenanigans. This is because as nearly all past and present members of these hallowed institutions will tell you, a fraternity experience done right is among the most fun, informative, and truly life-changing experience one could have not just in college, but in an entire lifetime. The skills that a fraternity teaches a young men can be used in many a situation years, even decades, after graduation.
That said, Fraternities have a tendency to fuck up. A lot.
Part of this is collateral damage--the result of getting a large group of alpha-males together in one room, inevitably making their triumphs evermore spectacular, but their failures mind-boggingly sensationalistic. Many times, we're talking about relatively harmless fails--getting too drunk, punching a hole in the wall, etc. But with a relatively disturbing frequency, we've seen our fellow Brothers make the national spotlight for reasons that end up putting the Greek system on the defensive. They're a small sample of fuck-ups, but these "exceptions" seem to be happening at least a few times a year.
Having been on both sides of the spectrum 1.) By experiencing this shit as fraternity members in the not-so-distant past, and 2.) interpreting and covering these stories from a more "media"-based standpoint, we feel we could speak to a lot of these issues. So, we've put together a comprehensive guide consisting of the sorts of things that often vault fraternities into the nationally recognized-negative attention carousel, and we've offered our own expert analysis on how to best avoid the sorts of situations no person or chapter EVER wants to find themselves in.
You'll notice that a lot of these are interconnected, and a lot of them have relatively similar themes. Point is, fucking up minorly can often lead to fucking up majorly. Follow this guide. We've crafted it in a way that allows Greek Organizations to remain as vigilant and careful as possible WITHOUT necessarily compromising the general greatness that comes with the privilege of being in a fraternity.
Overview: Anything pertaining to consuming, selling, and/or any other general activity regarding illegal substances, conducted in a manner that is directly tied to the fraternal organization.
Recent Notable Example: In February 2013, Tulane’s Kappa Sigma Chapter was busted with a large amount of basically every drug you could think of (marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, MDMA, powdered cocaine, DMT, and OPIUM, FUCKING OPIUM).
What They Did Wrong: Got caught.
When It Comes To General Drug Activity in Your Fraternity, You Should:
A. Listen to what your D.A.R.E officer said during the only 2 hours they themselves weren’t consuming DRUGS
B. Operate all dealings/activities in a satellite house
C. Convince yourself that this busting shit is just gonna happen to some other chapter
D. Confine drug usage to a designated area in the house
Overall, this is one of the tougher issues to tackle--you can’t just ban drugs from your frat because then you’d just be a fuckin’ pussy, Bro. Though at the same time, it’s CLEARLY something that poses one of the more serious risks to both your frat and that whole “having a future” thing. With that in mind:
- Understand your frat’s drug culture. If you’re in charge and you don’t know what’s going on in your house, someone else should be in charge.
- At all times, you HAVE to relate to others. You know that 19-22 year olds love to get drunk, smoke weed, and don’t necessarily care who sees.
- But if you are in a fraternity house, this is of course a major problem. You don’t necessarily want to compromise your culture, but obviously you REALLY don’t want to compromise your life.
Solution: If people want to do drugs, fine and good. Weed is sort of unavoidable, so confine usage and amount (nothing that would constitute a felony, look up your state laws) to a designated area in the house, one that is hardly detectable from the public eye. When administrators visit (IFC or otherwise), designate a code-name alertish thing that could be sent to the list-serve.
For hard drugs and/or any drug distribution, make sure all that shit goes down in a satellite house. Rule number one for frat risk is that all rules you set will inevitably be abused, so ensure that if your frat’s gonna get fucked with drugs, only those selling/consuming are the ones that get fucked.
Overview: Being racist or crudely objectifying women in a way that is taken WAY TOO FAR.
Recent Notable Examples: In March 2013, SAE at Washington University fell under fire for yelling racial slurs directed at African American students. In March 2011, a member of USC’s Kappa Sigma chapter wrote the now-infamous “Gullet Report” (How to Be a Cocksmen), which many a person got very mad about.
What They Did Wrong: Thought they were being awesome, but in reality were not.
When It Comes To Racism/Misogyny in Your Fraternity, You Should:
A. Turn a blind eye and laugh along uncomfortably
B. Send the violator on a women’s retreat
C. Stop being a shitty person
D. Not do it In a manner that is tied to the fraternity
Solution: Sociology says that most people will choose option A. But. if you are the the person in charge and/or a decent human, you should confront the violator and be like “That’s not cool,” but do it in a way that commands respect and/or is possibly intimidating. A lot of the times people do that sort of shit as a plea to look cool, gain superiority over others, or to simply fit in--if you’re in a position where you could establish and influence what’s cool and what isn’t, the moral impetus is on you.
Answer: The real answer is C, but people find brilliant ways to constantly be horrible to each other, so D is more realistic. Good rule is to NOT TO SAY BAD SHIT ON THE LISTSERV EVER. (this will be elaborated upon further in section G)
Overview: Abusing people (often via alcohol) to the point where their livelihood, and possibly their life, is legitimately in danger.
What They Did Wrong: In the Tennessee incident, potentially something extremely, extremely dumb. In the Northern Illinois Incident, made all this shit not even close to worth it.
When It Comes to Drinking Related Hazing, You Should:
A. Be as vigilant as humanly possible
B. Seriously examine and reconsider your more dangerous pledge events
C. Have multiple people monitor/track pledges alcohol intake during events
D. In the event of a crisis, put personal safety as a priority over any and all other consequences
Solution: To keep it brief, this is the thing that has to be taken the most seriously. Endangering people’s lives should of never happen under ANY circumstances, but it sadly does--particularly given all that goes down when you get 50+ males all in one room trying to outdo each other’s masculinity. As a species, we are a victim of our primal and competitive instincts.
It’s best to get to know each pledge pretty in-depth, and target in on the ones who are at risk (those who have low tolerance, or those who think they’re untouchable). You really can’t fuck around here. Don’t do any crazy events early on, and always figure out how to make events more manageable. If people are going to the hospital from the shit you do, that’s a clear fucking sign that you should not be doing that.
Answer: All of them. Most importantly, NEVER put “we might get in trouble” over someone’s well being.
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