Everybody knows the brothers, the fraternity guys, the boys that can be seen walking around campus in their neatly pressed Greek letter shirts and hoodies, the “fraters” who throw giant parties and hardly ever get reprimanded. Some students absolutely refuse to ever go to a party hosted by a fraternity and now I know why.
I now understand why students often use the phrase, “I would rather not get raped,” when asked if they want to go to a fraternity party. There is a stigma that comes with fraternity parties – if you go to a frat party you are more likely to be sexually assaulted, than if you go to a party hosted elsewhere.
Recently the University of Wisconsin chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) was suspended by the national TKE organization. The suspension came after a house party involving underage females and the date rape drug, Rohypnol.
The national TKE organization decided to post a letter to its “fraters” on September 24. The letter talks about what the boys at UW did and how it does not reflect what they stand for as an organization. Then it takes the inevitable turn for the worse and starts preaching about all the great things Tau Kappa Epsilon does for charities and families.
I understand that fraternities do a lot of good for charities and some of the students that partake in frats. However, the old stereotypes are still present and they are going to come back stronger after more people learn of this recent scandal. The stereotypes are fully deserved. TKE, like all other fraternities, should take a look at all of its chapters and see what is really going on, but that will never happen. Greek Life is going to continue to be the single biggest party on any campus in America.
Whether it is Tau Kappa Epsilon or another fraternity, the party is going to rage on and Rohypnol will always be in circulation. This year has been littered with headlines about campus rape and the news from Wisconsin just adds to the discomfort on campus. The problems of sexual misconduct in fraternities reaches far beyond the campuses of the north. Texas Tech is now investigating the fraternity known as Phi Delta Theta for displaying a sign at a party that read, “no means yes, yes means anal.” Photographs of the sign can be found online.
Since January, Yale had two students report sexual assault at the Sigma Phi Epsilon house, Montana State University saw a report of assault at the Pi Kappa Alpha house and four cases were reported at the University of Texas-Arlington’s chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon.
The rape culture of fraternities has been well reported and has been raising concern for years, but mainstream news has finally taken a look at the problems on college campuses. According to a study performed by the National Institute of Justice, between 20 and 25 percent of women attending a school of higher education will experience sexual assault over the course of their career.
These statistics are why we look to future fraternity members and current pledgers to change this rape culture. The next generation of Tau Kappa Epsilon, Pi Kappa Alpha and Sigma Phi members should do all they can to change this culture and make fraternities a safe place to party on college campuses.