Letter: Greek community must return to core principles

Perhaps more than any other college demographic, the Greek community is often overwhelmed with scrutiny. Simply search “fraternity” in Google under the news tab and you will find a surplus of reports regarding hazing, alcohol, neighbor harassment, sexual assault and racism.

In March alone, Syracuse, Purdue, SMU, NC State and Oklahoma have closed and/or suspended a chapter based on the above allegations. The ISU Greek community is in no way immune to some of this behavior and has been handed the appropriate punishments for its actions during the past few years.

With the way media operates today, it doesn’t matter how many volunteer hours were put in, it doesn’t matter how much blood was donated and it certainly doesn’t matter how much money is raised for a philanthropy. No matter how much good comes out of a fraternity, sorority, or Greek community as a whole, all it takes is one negative incident to completely tarnish a reputation.

As a member of the Greek community, I have observed a variety of paths taken by students. I have seen members drop because of the time commitment, grades, or dismissal from the university. I have seen members terminated due to grades, alcohol or drugs. I have seen potentially extraordinary members become mediocre and mediocre members become extraordinary.

Much like the university as a whole, there are no lack of partiers, no lack of scholars and certainly no lack of leaders. A wide variety of people are in college and no personality is solely restricted to fraternities and sororities. What some Greeks and non-Greeks alike seem to forget is that the Greek system does not directly create leaders, nor does it directly create partiers. The opportunities in college are plentiful on both ends of the spectrum and in many ways, the Greek system simply expands both sides. However, it is up to the individual to choose their adventure.

What recent events are telling us is that students in our generation are choosing the wrong path. As demonstrated by their national administrations, via suspensions and closures, fraternity and sorority organizations do not endorse this behavior and are trying to eradicate it completely.

I am not defending the actions made by these members across the nation, nor am I avoiding the fact that these events occurred in a fraternal atmosphere. I myself am proud to be a member of a fraternity here at Iowa State and I am appreciative of the leadership opportunities around me. It is about time that the fraternal members themselves return to their core pillars of scholarship, leadership, philanthropy and brotherhood/sisterhood.