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Op-Ed: Want to end rape culture on campus? Dismantle the Greek system

By Calvin Wolf     Feb 1, 2015 in Lifestyle
As America continues to grapple with the alleged "rape culture" on college campuses, schools and the Greek system have been forced to alter their policies...but is the Greek system itself an incubator of rape culture?
Dartmouth has banned hard alcohol on campus. National sorority leaders have called on University of Virginia sorority chapters to avoid fraternity "rush" parties in the aftermath of the UVA/Rolling Stone rape story debacle. States and institutions of higher education are enacting "affirmative consent" policies to cut down on sexual assault by requiring that sexual activity have the unambiguous consent of both parties.
Alexandra Robbins of the Washington Post argues that the sorority institution itself endangers its members by requiring that they spend plenty of time fraternizing with the frat boys. I believe that this forced fraternization is more of a problem in America's alleged "rape culture" than either alcohol or lack of "affirmative consent" laws. While sexual assault and rape will always occur on college campuses, where hormones and booze run rampant, the biggest factor in encouraging sexual assault is the party scene.
Fraternities and sororities create a "party infrastructure" that encourages sexual assault. According to Robbins, many sorority sisters tacitly reinforce "rape culture" by pathetically seeking popularity and "hot" guys, causing them to overlook abusive behavior by boys at frat parties and encourage their fellow sorority sisters to remain quiet about improper behavior. Sororities are basically popularity-seeking institutions that accept, and even participate in, inappropriate party behavior. Fraternities operate in an even more egregious manner, trying to throw the wildest parties and discouraging more level-headed members from speaking out or trying to calm the festivities.
Young men and women join fraternities and sororities and end up stuck in coercive, popularity-seeking party machines that encourage sexual behavior and discourage "tattletales." Can this system be altered to behave better? Probably not.
Therefore, colleges and universities should consider ending all support for the Greek system. You want to be part of a fraternity or sorority? Fine...but it must be paid for by entirely private means. Public colleges and universities should no longer allow any funds or facilities, including land, to be used for fraternities or sororities or their events. If kids want to "rush," they can go off-campus.
Will ending public support for the Greek system end rape and sexual assault on college campuses? Of course not. There will always be alcohol and parties and rampant hormones and bad people on campus. But the deeply-rooted "party infrastructure" of reputation-seeking fraternities and sororities will be gone, or at least strongly diminished. This will help cut down on the parties that tend to lead to sexual assaults.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about rape culture, rape crisis, college life, College, Higher education
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