It is nearly impossible to walk on campus without seeing Greek letters somewhere. Commonly, when one hears the word “fraternity” or “sorority”, words like hazing, drugs or the idea of “paying for friends” come to mind. More positively, lifelong friendships, community service and good grades leading to successful alumni are also heard. With all these dramatically different associations attached to Greek life, it can be hard to decipher what is accurate and what is not.
According to recent news, though, the potentially dark and dangerous side to Greek life is no myth. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity was recently suspended due to brothers spiking females’ drinks with date rape drugs at a party they hosted.
I asked an alum of Shippensburg’s TKE what he thought of the recent incident in Wisconsin. He explained how, during the pledge process, TKE brothers learn about love, charity and esteem, the three terms that TKE brothers learn to value. He said that each of these represents not only how they treat their fellow brothers, but everyone else outside of the fraternity.
“The image that TKE strives to be follows our values, as well as a sense of maturity. Our slogan ‘better men for a better world’ says it all in a nutshell.” He also provided clarity stating this event is not a reflection of Shippensburg’s TKE chapter.
“Representing the same letters as a fraternity with some negative connotations that you have nothing to do with is quite the burden.”
Be careful not to be fooled into thinking that the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s TKE incident accurately represents Greek life as a whole. I spoke with Sally, a Shippensburg University sorority sister, and asked what she thought of the disturbing actions of TKE.
“They were being irresponsible. They obviously were not holding themselves to the standard of what it means to be Greek.” She continued to say how the media seem to only emphasize the negative connotations associated with Greek life, such as drugs and alcohol. Ideas like these stick with Greek life and create an inaccurate image, because the media do not seem to focus on the positive aspects of Greek life, such as the community service they do.
“Drinking or doing drugs within a Greek society or inside a Greek house gets a lot more publicity than non-Greeks drinking or doing drugs.” To those thinking of joining Greek life, Sally said to keep in mind that “Greeks are always wearing their letters.” Meaning they are a representative of their society and the actions they take reflect upon not only themselves, but also their brothers or sisters within their chapter. With this in mind, I am certainly all for going Greek, but just be aware of the image you would gain, whether it is positive or negative, from pledging into the Greek society of your choice. The actions of your brothers and sisters will also be a reflection of you.
However, Sally also mentioned that those rushing would find somewhere where they just fit and feel at home. “I think going Greek was a great decision. I made such close bonds with my sisters and it made me better than the person I used to be.”