Opinion

A Response to ‘Greek life needs to acknowledge, fix harmful ‘traditions’’

The Loyola Phoenix recently ran an editorial regarding the suspension of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity on campus.

I’ll admit, as a proud member of Greek Life at Loyola, my original intention in writing this editorial was to express my immediate outrage. It felt as though my community of brothers and sisters was being dragged through the mud once again by the actions of a few misguided fraternity members, which reignited stereotypical allegations against all Greek organizations.

I, along with many others, felt as though the infraction of one organization allowed for another opportunity to single out those in Greek Life and depict us as reckless drones who swarmed to defend wrongdoers just for the sake of protecting our names and letters.

I knew that a conversation had been started between The Phoenix Editorial Board and Greek members prior to publishing, but it could have been made clear that we dedicate countless hours per week upholding the standards we expect of ourselves and our brothers and sisters — not only in behavioral conduct but also in academics and philanthropic endeavors.

It’s a shame that this isn’t better understood. But after witnessing and participating in the commentary on the Facebook page for this staff editorial, I realized that it opened a can of worms that was so much bigger than some sorority and fraternity members feeling offended.

The biggest issue with this editorial was the discussion it prompted afterward that illuminated not only the divide between those in Greek Life and the rest of the student population, but also the strength of the negative stereotypes that continue to be perpetuated.

When I expressed on the page my desire to submit a column regarding my opinion of the “truth” on the matters of Greek Life, I was welcomed to do so by The Phoenix staff, but received extremely negative reactions from other participants in the conversation.

I was referred to as a “reactionary basic Becky” who lacked the intelligence to adequately comprehend the editorial. This comment was followed with, “It’s OK. I’m sure some frat bro will be
here soon to make an equally retarded complaint.”

Not only did I feel attacked by someone who decided they knew me based on my association with one of the many organizations on campus, but I was also disturbed by the use of language such as “retarded” to describe the issues I and others had with the editorial.

This was just one instance of such conduct among many others that occurred in the discussion of the editorial on Facebook.

What could have been used as an opportunity to begin a conversation regarding people’s feelings on Greek Life became an “Us versus Them” battle that was ugly to say the least.

While I can say that I am truly in awe of the unity displayed by my Greek brothers and sisters, in addition to the unity of the article supporters for that matter, it’s time that the attacks from both sides stop and the conversations start.

It’s so important, not just in the context of Greek Life but in the context of life in general, that we examine the kind of negative stereotypes we encounter and challenge them to determine their validity before allowing them to rule our opinions of one another.

For those of us in Greek Life, it’s our duty to continue to uphold the standards we have set for ourselves, to admit when we make mistakes and to continue our efforts toward making positive impacts on our community.

But for all of us, it’s our duty to respect each other regardless of differing opinions, to be honest and genuine in our communication endeavors and to understand that, despite what organizations we belong to, we are all part of a greater Loyola community that is capable of amazing things when we are united.