Letter to the editor: “Greek talks acceptance” article needed fairness to other greek houses

Jordan Morgan

I would first like to say how disappointed I currently am in the Iowa State Daily. I read the Daily almost every day and found the article, “Greek talks Acceptance” to be so degrading to the greek community as a whole.

As a senior in Delta Zeta, I found the article extremely hurtful. We currently have members that have come out and are open about being gay. We embrace them just like we do any other member. Members of the greek community are advocates for LGBTQ individuals. All greek houses on campus are safe houses for these individuals. The ISU greek community has a strict no-hazing policy, and we all abide by it.

To have an article written nearly two years later about a past member’s experience is ridiculous. At this point, the article is irrelevant. 

One of my sisters stated this in regard to the Daily article,

“It’s not even about them not saying good things about the greeks, … because, yeah, OK, they do post good things, but it’s not like they’re doing us a favor by doing so. The greek community has deserved every good article the Daily has published about us. It is about the article not being fair at all with the rest of the houses that do support gay members. They focused too much on his experience and did not even bother asking other people if their experiences had been any different. So, no matter how many good articles they post about greeks or even Farmhouse, it does not justify how completely one sided this one was.”

We just had a record Greek Getaway this past weekend, with over 900 potential new greek members. Greek Getaway is all about promoting the greek community as a whole. The potential members get to stay at a sorority or fraternity chapter house and get to see what greek life is about firsthand.

The stereotypes of greek life have got to stop. We do amazing things for a lot of groups and individuals. [correction: An article from USATODAY is as follows:)

Since 1825, all but three U.S. presidents have been members of a fraternity.

85 percent of Fortune 500 executives were part of greek life. The first female astronaut was greek, so was the first female senator. College graduation rates are also 20 percent higher among greeks than non-greeks.

Which begs an obvious question: Does being in a fraternity or sorority increase your chance for success?

Nine million college students are members of a greek organization and whether they join to make friends, to build their resumes, go to parties or to learn leadership skills; they each have an incentive to change some aspect of their life.

A common deterrent for joining are the sometimes-negative stereotypes associated with greek life.

Fraternities and sororities are often associated with hazing, drinking and partying. Since 1975, there has been at least one hazing-induced death per year across college campuses — 82 percent of these have come as a result of binge drinking.

But hazing scandals make headlines — fundraisers and philanthropy events generally do not.

Although greek life has changed over time, students who take their membership seriously are still equipped with skills that can be used in their future careers. David Stollman, co-founder of CAMPUSSPEAK, said greek organizations can help students improve their leadership and interpersonal skills.

“I really see that there’s a great correlation between those skills being developed and the ability to be successful in any endeavor,” he said. “Not necessarily just famous-successful, like a president or CEO, but successful as a community leader or as a small business owner.”

What makes greek life rewarding is that members are given the unique opportunity to interact with and lead their peers.

Sometimes members who don’t get along are forced to work together — skills vital in the post-college work force. And most importantly, members are given the chance to practice and fail in their endeavors, without losing their network of support.

“You get the opportunity to fail miserably and have brothers and sisters that love you and care for you pick you up and dust you off and challenge you to do it again,” Stollman said.

Curtis Burrill, American University’s greek life coordinator, said sorority and fraternity membership teaches crucial social interaction skills. Making conversation with strangers and running weekly meetings are just two examples.

“If you can be the new member educator for 30 women, I’m probably going to hire you to run a team,” Burrill said.

At the end of the day, it’s up to the students to define their reputations.

I ask the Iowa State Daily to really think about what they publish. You are not only making yourself look ridiculous, but Iowa State as a whole. As it is said in the USATODAY article, “it is up to the students to define their reputations.” Being a part of something bigger than yourself is pretty empowering. It is going to take a lot of positive outreach to the greek community from the Iowa State Daily to recover. The Daily needs to remember they are representing Iowa State as a whole. Don’t abuse your power. You also need to remember you are representing something bigger than yourself as well.