Club & Greek

Greek Responsibility

A video of Sigma Alpha Epsilon brothers singing a racist chant surfaced and immediately went viral, forcing the University to shut the brotherhood down on March 9. The media then uncovered that another fraternity, Kappa Delta Rho, was suspended at Penn State after nude photographs of unconscious women were posted on a private Facebook page. 

Pi Kappa Phi at North Carolina State University was placed on suspension after one of the chapter’s pledge books was found in a local restaurant. WRAL reported that the book contained handwritten derogatory notes towards women, as well as racist remarks, ranging from “Be kind to the whales because they’ll lead you to the dolphins” to “That tree is perfect for lynching.

Just last week, Rutgers University indefinitely shut down Sigma Phi Epsilon after the hospitalization of a severely intoxicated underage student. 

Other fraternities in Texas, Missouri, ands Virginia were suspended after hazing allegations.

It almost seems as if Greek life scandals can’t escape the front page of local and national newspapers. 

As stated in an article published on NJ.com on March 30, “The run of bad news is starting to affect the reputations of fraternities and sororities nationwide.”

After each reported incident, the schools and national fraternities or sororities affiliated with the particular scandal released a statement, which all seemed to dance around the central idea of the acts being “inconsistent with values.”

According to Jon Buchalski, Assistant Director of Student Activities for Fraternity and Sorority Life, members of Greek life at the University must remain “consistent with Monmouth’s value” of being campus leaders.

As described on Monmouth.edu, the mission of fraternities and sororities is to provide programs and services that actively assist fraternities and sororities in shaping students’ leadership, scholastic, and personal development. “It is our goal to ensure all members have a safe and exciting fraternal experience at Monmouth University,” stated the release.

Buchalski said, “I believe that fraternity and sorority members should always represent their organizations to the best of their ability. Especially during these times when society is looking to our members for answers that we should prove our worth by going above and beyond to express our values that we have been taught through our organizations.”

The use of good ethical and moral decision-making will create an impact in the community, explained Buchalski, which exemplifies actions speaking louder than words.

Genna Moscato, former Alpha Xi Delta President, said that to be a responsible Greek, it is mandatory for members to raise money for their philanthropies, invite new members into the brotherhood or sisterhood in an appropriate manner, and maintain the required grade point average (GPA). According to “The Fall 2014 Fraternity and Sorority Community Academic Report,” the average GPA of all combined sororities and fraternities on campus is currently a 3.108.

Additionally, Moscato stressed that Greeks need to realize that they must be responsible and diligent members of the community; otherwise, he warns that consequences, such as suspensions, will become effective.

“As Greeks we are responsible for not only ourselves, but our letters,” said Molly Gordon, a sister of Alpha Sigma Tau. “It’s more than just a t-shirt,” continued the senior photography student.

If one member of an organization is at fault for committing a crime and/or violating a University policy, Moscato said that not only is the individual at fault, but the whole organization on a national and local level, as well as the college or university, can be deemed responsible as well.

Gordon believes that although she is held to a higher standard as a Greek, being an active sister of Alpha Sigma Tau has allowed her to reach out to new people, pave the way to leadership opportunities, and provide a positive outlet upon the community as a whole, despite some stress that can be incurred due to responsibilities.

An anonymous student advocated for Monmouth’s Greek life in February 2013 and posted on colleges.niches.com, “If you don’t wanna be a loser sitting in your dorm playing video games with your spare time and only making acquaintances for friends, then you’ll stop being a b**** and join Greek life… The only way to have solid lifelong friendships at Monmouth is by joining a fraternity or sorority or else you will not have fun and you’ll not make as close of friends as you thought you would. You can’t be popular here or have a large group of friends if you’re not on a sports team or in Greek life. Go Greek, don’t be weak.

A non-affiliated Greek senior business student, who wishes to remain anonymous due to maintaining social relationships with Greek friends, said, “Greeks are constantly talking about social responsibility, but from what I see, some of them barely do it. It even seems that some sororities and fraternities at this University get suspended all of the time because of this, yet it is a taboo to talk about for some reason.”

The senior continued, “Alcohol poisonings here, party busts there, fights breaking out at a house one weekend . . . I understand they do ‘good’ with their philanthropy events, but that can get overshadowed by their undeniable, sometimes drunken, mistakes. Some of these members need to really learn to become better members of our community. But don’t get me wrong, there are some really great role models that emerge from these fraternities and sororities. It’s just a shame that there are other members who continue to darken these shameful stereotypes.”

Madelynne Kislovsky, President of the Greek Senate (the governing body for Greeks at Monmouth University), serves as the leading force on the judicial board that handles charges brought against any of the current 921 active fraternity and sorority members at the University, and determines the repercussions. “We make sure students are implementing and upholding the standards of service, community, and attendance,” the Zeta Tau Alpha sister commented. 

“A fraternity or sorority’s values, philanthropy, and brotherhood or sisterhood is what makes us who we are. We should respect that,” said Gordon.

Regardless of students’ opinions of Greek life, Moscato believes that the recent events portrayed in the media can serve as a reminder to students bearing Greek letters across their chests, as well as those looking at them from afar, to maintain their integrity and be the absolute best version of themselves that one can possibly be. 

Kislovsky said that although there are scandals in the news that “seem terrifying and not worth the risk of joining,” she assures students that joining Greek life was one of the best decisions she could have made at the University. The junior communication student reflected, “I’m so lucky to have been provided the opportunities I have and I can’t wait to see what other opportunities my organization will provide me with. Being a part of a sorority allowed me to become part of something bigger than myself, to become a better version of myself than I thought I would ever be, and it taught me more about myself than I ever thought I’d learn.”

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University