Editorial: Greeks need to address sex equality in chapters

Editorial Board

The greek community at Iowa State is used to getting a lot of praise. It does a lot of great things for the community and prides itself on being held to a higher standard than the rest of campus is. The greek system at Iowa State tries to keep strong morals and have good, wholesome values, but it seems that some of these values may be a little outdated.

Greek Visit Day is a day for the greek community to show off its homes and what its chapters have to offer to high school seniors. There have been some changes made this year to the former “Greek Getaway” to make it “Greek Day.” The prospective sorority women will be coming for a visitation day and have the option to bring their parents. The fraternity men on the other hand will be allowed to stay the night.

According to the National Panhellenic Conference, having the high school women stay the night in the sorority would be considered a risk. This does not send a good message to parents who are considering sending their children to the greek community.

If the Panhellenic Conference does not feel comfortable having the women stay there for one night, parents would reasonably not feel comfortable having their daughters live in that community. If the high school men are allowed to stay, does that mean that the greek community is safer for men than for women? If young women are considered at risk in the greek community, it is only reasonable for men to be at risk too.

Drugs and alcohol are responsible for much of the risks that afflict college campuses and their greek communities nationwide. Drugs and alcohol do not discriminate and neither should greek leaders. However, this is exactly what is being done by making different rules for how young men and women are treated with respect to these risks.

Additionally, in most houses, greek men are allowed to have women upstairs and in their bedrooms, while women in most greek houses are not allowed to have men upstairs. If they are allowed, it is only during designated hours. Aside from the fact that we are all adults who can make our own choices, there is a blatant double standard at work here.

One of the reasons that men are not allowed upstairs in some sorority homes is to keep them “nice” and to mind the women’s personal space. This argument falls short, though, since having personal space free from invasion by others is something all students should enjoy, not just sorority sisters.

By banning visiting high school women from staying overnight in sorority houses and by enforcing different standards in having guests over, the greek community of Iowa State is reinforcing gender stereotypes of the worst kind.

Instead of implicitly agreeing that college campuses are not safe for young women, our greek houses should prove themselves to be safe havens. Instead of encouraging the discriminatory idea that it is OK for men — but not women — to have certain late night visitors, our fraternities and sororities should work together to form equal visitation policies.

If greek students are going to be held to a higher standard, that standard should be the same whether it is for a sorority or a fraternity. The women who make up Iowa State’s greek community have proven that they are capable of making safe, responsible decisions and should be granted trust to take care of the young women coming for Greek Visit Day so they can show off their community to the same effectiveness as the men.

Greek students have come a long way and have a great impact on Iowa State and the Ames community. They should be proud of that impact, but there is still more to be done. The greek community, like everything else, always has room for improvement. Equality in house rules and recruitment days would be a good place to start.