Fraternities: a college’s nightmare

January 21, 2015 — by Maya Prasad and Fiona Sequeira

Fraternities were created to increase brotherly bonding and promote ethical conduct, but recently, they have been riddled with problems.

Recently, the fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has been accused of marking students with red and black Xs in order to put a certain date rape drug into their alcoholic drinks during parties. As a result, the university shut down the fraternity immediately after the police investigated the crime scene.

Unfortunately, this sort of vulgar act is only one example of dozens that occur in different college campuses across the country. Nowadays, the use of substances at fraternity parties has been increasingly used for the sole purpose of raping women.

In the 1770s, fraternities were created to increase brotherly bonding and to promote “ethical conduct,” which seems ironic in comparison to how they are sometimes utilized in today’s society. The drugging and drinking involved at parties have proven to be a popular method for fraternity members to take advantage of incoherent victims.

As students go off to college, they are bestowed an incredible amount of independence, which tempts them to test the extent of their freedom. But rather than helping students find their limits, fraternities too often fuel rebellion by making drugs and alcohol more readily available.

The British newspaper The Guardian said that men in fraternities are three times more likely to take advantage of women than those not in fraternities; the fraternity Beta Theta Pi at Wesleyan College is even called the “Rape Factory” according to the newspaper Huffington Post.  

In September, a senior at Columbia University began carrying her mattress around campus as an academic performance project and a protest against the Columbia administration, who dismissed a case against her alleged rapist who still attends the university. Too often, there have been protests that have ended in vain because while protests garner public attention, they fail to provide viable solutions to the issues.

One way to fix the abusive nature of fraternities is for the school’s administration to enforce strict regulations with stringent punishments for bad conduct. Administrators tend to let these parties slide because they view sexual violence on their campus as inevitable, and it would make no difference to regulate such parties. Colleges also tend to ignore rape acts in their campus because they don’t want to tarnish the reputation of their school. By heightening rules for fraternities, colleges may be able to reduce the number of assaults.

By having police or security guards posted outside of parties, it provides for more security to reduce drunk driving and other illegal acts. Also, the fraternities should have sober students standing guard in front of the dorm rooms to reduce the chance of rapes occurring in the most common places.

The administration should also take a decisive stance when it comes to students breaking rules and sexual crimes within fraternities. Instead of wishy-washy punishments, the school should be seeking jail time for offenders. Since most students attending college are not under the safety cushion of the juvenile system, the student should be given the punishment appropriate to their crimes as if they were 40-year-old adults.

Rather than sticking to ineffective protests and wondering why these rapes take place within their campus, colleges need to implement stricter authority and reduce the freedoms these fraternities have. Colleges can start to see improvement in the safety and restore the glory and respect fraternities used to have in the long ago past. 

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