So perhaps you have heard about the rather rough start to the year for Texas Tech University Fraternity Life. I recently wrote a post for our local Higher Education Student Association (HESA) about Sexual Assault in Greek Life. If you can’t tell, I am incredibly frustrated. I am annoyed. But the entire situation isn’t merely about me. As I noted in the piece above, this behavior affects the entire community, university, and even society as a whole.
So then why am I writing this piece? Well inevitably, the first question I receive from anyone about these situations is if the organization was suspended. This seems to be the only answer for a fraternity who breaks a rule. If the answer is no, they inevitably ask why. Allow me to explain:
I work in Student Affairs. This means I have been charged with not only challenging but also supporting our students during their time here, helping them to grow and learn. Are there times that seems an impossible task? Again, I refer you to my piece for HESA. However, on the whole I am here because I have faith in the Fraternal system and in these students. That means I have faith that they can learn from their mistakes. That is a frustrating thing to state and it often drives me insane too. I find a great deal of cognitive dissonance in letting students “get away” with such heinous actions (yes, dear students, all of those things noted above are in fact heinous actions). Yet I am responsible for changing the action in the future, something I would much prefer to do by having students understand the roots behind why their actions are terrible rather than merely not doing it because they don’t want to get “kicked off campus”. I have to challenge students, meaning I get to confront them as to why they felt these actions were appropriate and what their justification was for taking them and yes, at times, removing the organization from campus. This work also, however, means supporting students. That means supporting their growth and learning and development.
That being said, Dear Greek Members (collegiate or alumni) we have a responsibility in these matters. This week is National Hazing Prevention Week. I challenge each and everyone one of you to take the responsibility to your fellow Fraternity and Sorority Members (whether they wear the same letters or not) and hold each other accountable. We all, each and every on of us, took an oath.
Are you living up to it?