Overview: Getting caught doing something that a lot of other males over 18 do, only they don't get in trouble because they aren’t associated with fraternities
Recent Notable Examples: In September 2011, UT’s Kappa Alpha was suspended for making pledges do a lot of pushups AND hiring performers for live sex shows.
What They Did Wrong: Allowed the words hazing and strippers to be in the same sentence, thus making it seem like they are soulless heathens.
When It Comes to Strippers in Your Fraternity, You Should:
A. Send flyers to the entire school
B. Go to a strip club
C. Instagram shit
D. Buy society at large a chill pill
Solution: People will go crazy over stuff like this, because when the words “fraternity,” “pledging,” and “strippers” combine, websites on the internet get to use bold font, and feminists get to write articles likening males with sexual urges and desires as swine-creatures. Unless you’re subjecting strippers or pledges to do things they’re completely uncomfortable with, any bad press is simply a result of fraternities being stereotyped. Unfair perhaps given that trailer park dwellers arguably do far worse things with strippers, but if you consider how much fraternities tend to fuck up, it’s not exactly underserved.
E. Big Events (Formals/Retreats)
Overview: There aren’t many things in this world more stressful than being responsible for dozens of fratstars hell-bent on going somewhere that isn’t a college campus and getting as fucked up as possible. The sheer number of people also makes responsibility deflection much worse—the general thought process is "I’m just one dude and one of the other 100 people here will totally take care of that situation."
Recent Notable Examples: In Spring of 2010 two different Miami University sororities (nice!), caused quite a bit of damage at their formals.
What They Did Wrong: Invited Frat Bros, forgot that the rest of the world doesn’t react nicely to large groups of people currently in college looking to enjoy themselves.
When It Comes to Large Events, You Should:
A. Blame your blackout alter ego, possibly named Sven
B. Fail to give one, two, or even three fucks
C. Have sex in public
D. Close your eyes and hope for the best
Solution: The key to these things is to go to places where you know you could somewhat get away with the shenanigans that will inevitably ensue. Study your frat's past formals and retreats, figure out what worked and what didn’t, and plan accordingly. The same stuff happens everywhere, it’s generally a location blunder that gets people into trouble. i.e., if you’re in the proximity of something that will break, it probably will.
Answer: D. Though if you want to achieve weird internet fame that ultimately warp you into a permanent state of depression, perhaps C.
F. Brand Promotions
Overview: Anything that attempts to enhance or strengthen the fraternity's image to the campus community or the general public, but goes awry.
Recent Notable Examples: University of Michigan's Pi Kappa Alpha’s Semi-Nude Photos sent to promote/hype up their “America 2013” Party
What They Did Wrong: Nothing.
When It Comes to Fraternity Brand Promotions, You Should:
A. Have fun with it, within reason
B. Flyer the campus with dick jokes and your frat name
C. Find the nearest 58 year-old feminist completely detached from college culture, and show them what you are doing without any background whatsoever
D. Brag about it to an IFC head, or someone who wants to make your life miserable.
Solution: I find it hard to believe that any punishment would’ve been given to these kids if this was for say, an all-male a capella group. The Michigan Pikes sent those pictures to us because they thought they would be funny, but most of all because they are completely HARMLESS. The lesson to be learned from their suspension is this: The world is increasingly humorless.
Overview: Writing and/or publishing dumb shit on a medium that with a few simple clicks, could be read by millions of people.
Recent Notabale Examples: In December 2011, the Sigma Phi Epsilon Chapter at the University of Vermont was suspended after a member initiated a survey that asked “If you could rape someone, who would it be.” Also, the previously mentioned gullet report. (And the Karen Owen incident, if we can step outside of fraternities for a minute.)
What They Did Wrong: Lacked human decency. But on a more “what kind of person would do this” level, a general failure to realize that those outside the fraternity world would not take kindly to A LOT of what is said, the overwhelming majority of which is of course, significantly less glaring than this.
When It Comes to List-Serv Protocol, You Should:
A. Type whatever the fuck you want, cause trust and brotherhood
B. Be yourself, completely
C. Try really hard to be accepted by people by being as over the top as possible
D. DON’T SEND STUPID SHIT TO 100+ PEOPLE
Solution: Feel like this is rather obvious. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself---if this happened to go viral, could it possibly be a national news story? If you’re unsure, you shouldn’t publish.
If you must send horrible shit to others via email, do it on an email chain that isn’t your official fraternity list-serv. Under no circumstances should you completely be yourself--if you followed this logic for other facets of life, things such as sustaining a relationship with another female would likely never occur.
Also: if you’re in charge of your frat’s list-serv, have everyone get Gmail. Colleges can snoop on your university emails at any time.
H. Parties and Other Shenanigans
Overview: Events that are supposed to be totally sick, but become so sick that they end up pretty unsick for your chapter at large
Recent Violations: In August 2012, an inter-fraternity fireworks battle at Miami University led to police intervention, drug busts
What They Did Wrong: Were too cool to cooperate with police (led to warrants, led to drug busts), exhibited general #idiocy
When It Comes to Parties and Other Shenanigans, You Should:
A. Totally do illegal shit in a way that can easily alert law enforcement
B. Continue to exhibit no traces of altruism when it comes to your distribution of fucks
C. Get fucked up and have a great time without having to make a national spectacle of it
D. Live out the lyrics to “Like a Boss”
Solution: Is it really that hard?
Again, this is merely a loose guide, which, due to you not wanting to spend four weeks reading this, was unable to address every single possible issue. The harsh truth is that a lot of this stuff happens out of nowhere, no matter how well you may be "prepared" for it. Through taking adequate measures and commanding respect, you'll go a long way in substantially decreasing the chances of bad shit happening to your chapter.
If this stuff fascinates you to no end, best check out Jameson Galey's "The Best House on the Row." As a recent past-President of USC's Sigma Alpha Epsilon Chapter, Galey is one of the few that paints a real picture on the inner-workings of the Greek system, in the sense of how risk--and permanent fucking up--is a very real thing. And of course, be sure to keep up with the general ongoings from the folks over at Total Frat Move, who generally offer pretty solid insight on Fraternity issues, such as this excellent takedown of a WSJ columnist ripping on "frat humor."
Frat hard, frat responsibly, and frat on.