UK students must end divide between Greeks and non-Greeks

As a member of the Student Senate, it is my duty to pinpoint issues of concern on campus and address them to the best of my abilities.

Two recent Kentucky Kernel columns, and the online comments that followed, show a major issue on campus is the division between Greek and non-Greek students. This disunion has created an unhealthy campus atmosphere that hinders UK’s goals.

Let me first say I do not intend to place blame on a certain group for this divide. I do not think the Greeks are solely responsible, nor do I think this is completely the fault of the non-Greeks. I believe we are all equally responsible for this divide.
Whether we started it or inherited it from previous generations of students, we must be held accountable for the animosity-filled atmosphere that exists. We are all at fault because we have done nothing to change it.

I also do not want to suggest that the Greek system should be disbanded altogether so a Greek/non-Greek divide would not have the chance to exist.

I think it is great that a student can come to UK and find an organization that improves his or her college experience. If that organization is Greek, then perfect. If that organization is non-Greek, then that is OK, too.

Eli Edwards

Rather than focusing on whether Greeks or non-Greeks do more community service or donate more money to charities, we should acknowledge that UK students as a whole are making a difference in the world.

The Greeks were scolded in online comments for only donating “$29.10” per person. While these numbers may not be accurate, still $29 is better than nothing.

We, of course, have no statistics on how much each individual UK student donated to charity, but I would venture to guess that the average would actually be much lower than $29.10 per person. However, as already mentioned, Greek affiliation or lack thereof should not matter.

What should matter is the positive effect that UK students are having on humanity.

We as students can do a lot to help this divide.

First and foremost, we need to evaluate the offensive language we use carelessly. Pejorative terms like “sorostitute” and “GDI” have no place on a college campus. They breed hatred, add distance between students and honestly reflect ignorance. The aggressive dialogue in the online comments is embarrassing to both sides.

Second, we need to acknowledge the countless benefits of all student organizations.

In the online comments, non-Greeks discredited the accomplishments of Greeks and vice-versa. Really, we should recognize the merit of both side’s contributions.

Greek organizations do in fact log many service hours and donate a large amount of money to charity. Their accomplishments should not go unnoticed.

At the same time, many non-Greek organizations, including service and honors fraternities and the Center for Community Outreach, also do a lot of community service and donate to charity. The achievements of these organizations should not be overlooked either.

Finally, we need to realize that we are all the same. We are all UK students. We all bleed red (well, blue). We all have emotions and feelings. We all want to make a difference.

Something as silly as Greek versus non-Greek affiliation should not divide us. Instead, our desire to cause change in this world should bring us together.

I understand this column might accentuate the divide by bringing attention to it. However, I hope by acknowledging the problem, we can solve it.

We have the opportunity to be known as the generation that overcame the divide between Greeks and non-Greeks. Let us make a difference.

Eli Edwards is a secondary English education, English and linguistics junior and a College of Education Senator. Email opinions@kykernel.com.

Some Studies says:

If you all want to throw out statistics about how much money Frats raise, you should at least acknowledge the other side of the equation. I’ve barely heard a single “brother” acknowledge that there may be some problems with frat culture, so here’s some interesting insights:

The 2001 Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study (CAS) (a national study) found a strong correlation between fraternity membership and binge drinking. Greeks drank more heavily, more often, and experienced more negative drinking-related consequences than their non-Greek peers. 75.1 percent of fraternity members drank heavily and regularly versus 48.6 percent of non-fraternity men. 62.4 percent of sorority members engaged in heavy drinking versus 40.9 percent of other female students. A quote from the study:

“Even controlling for variables plausibly affected by fraternity membership, such as current alcohol use categorization (from abstainer to heavy drinker) and time spent socializing, fraternity membership has a large impact on drinking intensity, frequency and recency, as well as various negative drinking consequences that potentially carry negative externalities.”

Another 2008 study titled, “Faternities, Sororities, and Alcohol and other Drug Use” offers this introduction to its findings:

“A report by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) notes the disturbing consequences of drinking on campus each year: 1,400 college student deaths from alcohol-related causes; 500,000 unintentional injuries; 600,000 assaults; and 70,000 cases of sexual assault and acquaintance rape. Fraternities and sororities are among the key groups that foster this culture of drinking on campus.” The report goes on to share its findings.

If you want to know more, look it up. The research is there. If we’re going to acknowledge the potential benefits of Greek life, we must look at the very real negative effects of Greek life, too.

I would love for all the great Greek leaders out there to explain what they are doing to combat this trend.

Administrators step in? Step in front of what? says:

What would administrators need to step in front of? Are there riots on campus or people picketing greek housing? Let’s get real here, it’s not like an internet argument and supposed feelings of real anger needs to be regulated by anyone..

So please “Anonymous February 15, 2012 – 2:18 am” tell me exactly what could be done?!

Zeke Edwards says:

Raymond- I never said I was under that assumption, or that there is an assumptio out there like that. In fact I said that non-greeks can lead succesful lives, but I wanted to add that fraternities could help improve individuals. I would like for you to actually argue against the point I was making though, and convince me that joining a fraternity would absolutely do nothing to improve you.

If you view joining a fraternity as simply buying friends, then you are ignorant of greek life in the first place, and probably shouldn’t be arguing anything on the topic. How is membership a sign of social incompetence? It seems you’re implying the students who choose to go Greek, must be losers beforehand. Now that’s something to laugh about.

Also, how could you deny that non-greeks aren’t missing something that Greeks have? In the very nature of them being a part of different groups there exists something that Greeks have. I never said Greeks superior, just that they offer oppurtunities to improve one’s self. And I still hold strong to the point that they should be exclusive (just like you will apparently be when hiring workers i the future. Good luck running that company).

Again you are showing ignorance of fraternities by implying we all take aderol and cheat. Show some evidence that aderol consumption is higher among greeks than non-greeks for me (I’d be willing to bet there is none).

I guess you would also like to see the end of team sports. After all, they emphasize getting rid of one’s individuality, and buying into the team montra.

In closing, I’d like to say that resulting to insults such as directly calling greeks “stupid at their core” shows how childish you are. If you want to join a big-boy argument and be taken seriously, then grow up.

Sara says:

Raymond- Why would the author write this article if she didn’t truly believe the division should be ended?

Anonymous says:

The administration needs to step in, honestly. This has gone too far. These arguments alone show how divisive campus is.

John says:

If you don’t want to get kicked out of a Greek party then pay the 800-1000 dollars in dues. After you do that come on in!

Raymond says:

Let me add to my last comment. The divide exists because the Greek system exists. I’ve never been to a party where a Greek was kicked out for no other reason than being Greek. On the flip side, “GDIs” are often kicked out of Greek parties, if even admitted. Hell, Greeks kick EACH OTHER out of their parties. The source of the division is obvious.
There is not equal blame for the division on campus. In fact, to assign any blame to non-Greeks whatsoever is downright ignorant. By nature Greeks are divisive, as an above comment so nicely put, “From the moment students begin to rush, Greek culture embodies a spirit of exclusivity…” If one desires an end to the division, which I don’t really feel the author does, the only means is through the end of the Greek system. That the system still exists should be the subject of a sociological study on the persistence of harmful social institutions.
Aside from being divisive, by nature the system attempts to diminish the individuality of the student in question. Jump through the hoop, take the shot, get with a group and you’re set. While members are busy assembling an imaginary tribe and destroying their individuality they ignore real opportunities to be involved with organizations and issues which actually matter.

P.S. To offset the perceived employment advantage you claim, this is me committing to view Greek involvement as anti-experience when in a position to hire someone.

Raymond says:

Zeke, the sort of pompous superiority that oozed through your comment is exactly why people don’t like Greeks. “Non-Greeks are completely capable of leading successful lives, but would be improved if they joined the right fraternity…” Was there some sort of assumption that we weren’t capable of living successful lives? I, personally, view buying friends as a sign of failure. Membership is a sign of social incompetence and financial waste (although let’s face it, it’s usually the parents footing the bill). This assumption that non-Greeks are missing something you have is frankly why so many of “us” loathe types like you.
Greeks constantly refer to their superior GPA’s, compensating for the obvious stupidity of Greeks at their core. I’d argue that involvement in ANY active student organization will improve GPA. But I’ll also go on the offensive: it’s common knowledge that Greeks frequently maintain GPA’s through adderall consumption, test sharing, and various other methods akin to cheating.
You, without any evidence, even go so far as to assert being Greek helps in gaining employment and receiving scholarships. To the degree that this is true, it’s because some still hold a strange unwarranted respect for involvement in Greek groups. But outside that, I’m skeptical it even has an effect. You know what really helps with employment? Having a job during college, which most of you probably don’t.

P.S. “Fraternities do help people improve their social skills,” made me audibly laugh.

Geoff says:

Once they stop woo-hooing at all hours of the night on my street, then we can get along.

Call_Me_Tha_Dude says:

Oh, and John is a douche. Just as an internet personality. Maybe you don’t suck in real life, like your looks or money or something validates the fact that you can’t logically take a piece of information, remove your own perspective from it and make a comment, but on the internet my friend, you suck a big one.

Call_Me_Tha_Dude says:

YO. It’s my first year at UK as a transfer student from NKU. I was suprised at how big of a role the fraternities played on campus here, and as a rabid apathetic, decided not to get involved. So, watching all of you interact has been interesting. What’s the real problem? Well, after deciding that the world couldn’t have just forgotten how to relate to each other (took a long time to discount) it seems like we’re just a bunch of kids being thrown into a new situation, probably with a substantially crippled social circle. We’re all down here expecting the time of our lives, crazy parties and good times- a la The Hangover or similar depictions of burgeoning adult life. Instead, we’re thrown into large auditoriums where we are serially educated in a failing system of higher education. Between the stress of school and socializing, most people are anxious to find structure. “What is there to do tonight?” Greeks always have that and it’s easy. Greek life to me is like school for your social life and the benefit of this is greater opportunity for leadership (someone’s gotta get the keg ‘Gotcha bro’) but those that don’t join a group with this thriving social life are forced to develop a different mindset. From what I’ve read, non-greeks find greeks to be taking the easy way out of what their own self-serving bias leads them to believe is the easy way out of figuring out how to socialize. The attacks on character probably come from the feeling of character building this difficulty can evoke. And be honest, how much do you hear EVERYONE talking about how they drank SO much last weekend. Another subject but probably a bigger problem. Thanks Greeks for the $29.10/person. Thanks to the non-greeks for throwing parties I’m allowed to go to. Fuck you if you don’t get it. It’s life baby.

Feelin’ like The Dude, or Jackie Moon. ‘E.L.E.’ (That’s ‘Everybody Love Everybody’ Get NetFlix. Damn.)

Zeke Edwards says:

I’d like to start by saying I am the President of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity at Centre College in Danville, Ky. I am also Eli’s brother, but I will not let that bias my opinions on the comments that have been made.

“Are you serious”- I would be willing to bet this is not the only issue pressing on his mind, so when he writes an article about ending the Greek/Non Greek debate, it does not mean he is focusing more on that than getting an education like you implied above. Your point about ending the debate is the exact point he was making in his article, so I guess thanks for furthering his point.

Also, education is the most important part of college, but it is not the only thing that’s important. There is a social aspect of college that every student should take apart of. Student’s can go to college and stay in their room and study 24/7 making a 4.0 gpa. However, at the end of the day if their social skills have not been improved, then employers will pass right over them, as will ptoential scholarship donors (such as the Rhodes scholarship). That social aspect does not mean getting drunk, partying, etc… Fraternities do help people improve their social skills, as well as other things. Fraternities were not created to be party spots, but rather social groups with the intentions of improving its member’s leadership, scholarship, community service, and so on. Thus either the fraternities have now evolved away from their original values and standards, or people have misguided views on fraternities based on ignorance of the operations of Greek organizations.

I personally believe it is both. It’s apparent from some comments that some non-greeks have no idea what really goes on in a fraternity, outside of the parties they see. It’s also apparent by looking at situations fraternities have recently found themselves in (such as SAE at UK), that the values may have evolved in a negative way. However, I assure you that even at SAE those orginal values were still present, and the members of SAE were made better leaders and given more resorces for overall personal improvement. That is what happens with Greeks.

As to the academic thing, I can assure you at Centre College the greeks have higher GPA’s then non greeks. For most fraternities around the nation there is a minimum 2.0 GPA requirement to get in which helps the Greeks out. My personal chapter recorded a 3.29 overall GPA for last year. Most greek organiations also do things such as mandatory study tables to help better their members in terms of scholarship.

In closing, I think Greek organiations are good for some, and are not for everyone. The greeks should be exclusive with their groups, as they have a certain identity they want to form about themselves. That is up for each individual chapter to decide. Non-Greeks are completely capable of leading successful lives, but would be improved if they joined the right fraternity who still practices the values its founding fathers practiced. The divide should stop though with both sides understanding that Greek life is not for everyone. That doesn’t make either side better or worse, but instead shows that people are different. We live in a time period where differences should be embraced as being ok. Good article Eli!

Are you serious? (Being serious this time.) says:

To “What bothers me about the Greek system,” you’re absolutely right. Those comments were inappropriate. John is notorious for trolling the kernel, offering jabs and insults whenever he posts. Ironically, the jabs and insults are consistently directed at the most articulate and interesting articles or letters to the editor. I guess I just got fed up with it. If it’s somebody offering commentary about the flaws with the Greek system, John resorts to insults. If it’s somebody who offers opinions on the environment or the country’s dependence (or UK’s) on coal, John offers insults. Unfortunately, I stooped to his level in some of my recent posts, and I am regretful.

Your posts on this issue are well-written and insightful, and I couldn’t agree more. I think this debate unfortunately is characterized by the Greeks as boiling down to Greeks vs. non-Greeks who want to be Greeks. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I think the Greeks need to understand that as sure as they were about wanting to be in the Greek system, those who are not in it most likely are that way by choice. I chose to attend a small college that didn’t have any fraternities or sororities because I wanted to focus on education and, more important, I wanted to be around others who wanted to focus on education. The exclusivity and materialistic focus of the Greek system had zero appeal to me. I fear this is a concept most Greeks can’t understand. I think they are hopelessly stuck in the mindset “who wouldn’t want to be like us?”

And that’s coming from somebody who hasn’t played a second of D & D.

What Bothers Me About the Greek System... says:

To the poster who said: “Exclusivity? There are 19 fraternities and Over 16 sororities. Your telling me you can’t get in at least one? Seriously?”

You are missing the point of my post. Go back and re-read my points and perhaps you will understand what I’m getting at. This is not about me. I didn’t rush, don’t have an interest in being involved in Greek life, and couldn’t afford the dues anyway. I was pointing out aspects of Greek CULTURE that foster exclusivity and materialism for both those who are accepted, those who are rejected, and those that don’t even apply.

I also want to note my disappointment that “Are you serious” has sunken from offering valid opinions to exchanging personal insults and accusations with John. “Don’t get stuck in the keg tonight.” To “Are you serious”… ARE YOU SERIOUS?

John says:

Have fun playing dungeons and dragons tonight!!!

Are you serious? says:

John- I certainly expected that kind of a response from you. No substance whatsoever.

And I really doubt you know how to carry out a research project.

Don’t get stuck in the keg tonight.

REALLY confused says:

Actually, “are you serious”, the author made the point about “sorostitue”, not you. I still do not understand why you talked bad about the article, but you seem to care greatly about the divide between students.

John says:

Are you serious

go to ifc website and find everything you need. Im not doing a research project here and to be honest i really dont care if you want to believe the facts or not. take some of that good old fashioned initiative and look yourself. use that “quality education” you got.

Are you serious? says:

John- Still no hard facts to back up your Greek/non Greek GPA claims? You know, you’re a regular in these forums, and you typically just blow a lot of smoke without providing any foundation or substance. And you’re in a frat? Hmmmmm….I think somebody has just made my point. I was hoping with this subject, though, you would actually present some facts and not just empty commentary.

And to “Offensive,” you’ve also made my point. “Sorostitute”?
You should really be ashamed of yourself with that kind of talk. Grow up and make your college experience something more than getting drunk and chasing skirts.

John says:

Ahhhh finally I was wondering when the university editor would come on and critique spelling and grammar instead of trying to add something to the convo. Guess that’s all you could come up with…… What a disappointment

Hmm says:

“Your right college is for education. and last time i checked greeks have better gpas than non greeks. so how can you claim that the greek system is counterproductive to a quality education. obviously we are doing something right.”

John, seeing as you can’t tell the difference between “you’re” and “your”, I don’t think whatever you’re doing is actually working.

Offensive says:

The author is probably a “GDI” who will never be with a “sorostitute”.