What would Lehigh look like without Greek life?

Designed by Emily Ward

Designed by Emily Ward

When the Greek community is considered “a welcoming community” by Margaret Burnett, ‘17, the president of Lehigh’s Panhellenic Council, and a “deeply, morally disturbing“ institution by Kyle Higgins, ‘18, it’s time to think about why these strikingly divergent attitudes coexist on campus.

Higgins, an outspoken critic of Greek culture, said he thinks fraternity and sorority members perceive Greek life to be an inclusive community because they were the ones “cool enough to get into the party.”

He didn’t understand the extent of the Greek community’s influence until he arrived on campus his first year. He said Greek life and the Hill were only mentioned in passing on his campus tours.

Higgins estimates there’s a period of about two weeks after arriving on campus when first-year students come to realize that the social scene is dominated almost entirely by Greek organizations.

“For guys, they see that they can’t hang out with a certain group of guys unless they bring enough of their female friends for them to try to sleep with,” Higgins said. “You couldn’t join these organizations by and large unless you are subjected to humiliations and beatings and sexual exploitation.”

Kyle Durics, ‘17, the president of the Interfraternity Council, said the exclusivity of fraternity and sorority membership is detrimental to the Greek institution. By his calculations, there are approximately 50 men in each IFC fraternity. Like most other Lehigh fraternities, his chapter only holds social and philanthropy events with three or four Panhellenic sororities. He figures that’s 400 women with whom he interacts on a semi-regular basis.

“That’s 450 people. Even if I round that number to 500, I’m only friends with 10 percent of my college and this is a small school,” Durics said. “You’ve got to look at yourself and realize you’re really limiting yourself by thinking you’re the coolest and being so exclusive.”

Durics isn’t alone in his frustration.

Select results from the 2015 Lehigh Campus Climate Survey, which asked students and faculty questions about the campus climate, were revealed to Greek presidents and executive officers of IFC, Panhel and the Multicultural Greek Council in September at the Great Pocono Escape.

Although those results have not been released to the rest of the university, Durics said he was most surprised by the high levels of disappointment that fraternity and sorority members had toward Greek life. Although he found this information upsetting, Durics said it’s refreshing to see the Greek community be self-critical.

“If you can’t look at yourself when you address a problem, the problem will never go away,” Durics said. “If we think we’re great but half the school doesn’t, what good is that?”

 “You’ve got to look at yourself and realize you’re really limiting yourself by thinking you’re the coolest and being so exclusive.” — Kyle Durics, IFC president 

Mikayla Cleary-Hammarstedt, ‘18, thinks Greek life’s presence on campus is so overpowering that many first-years develop the common misconception that joining a chapter is the only way they’ll have social lives at Lehigh.

She has a distinct memory of walking to a party on East Fifth Street her first week of college with a group of about 20 women. She was hesitant about joining a sorority and hoped other people were feeling the same way. When she asked the group if they were all thinking about rushing, she was met with the same response from all 20 women: “Of course!”

She thinks this is indicative of why she decided to join Greek life. All of her friends were doing it. Eventually, she conceded.

Cleary-Hammarstedt went through formal recruitment and joined a sorority the spring of her first year. She remained a member for a year before deciding to disaffiliate. She moved out of the sorority house the spring of her sophomore year.

“My values were not in line with a lot of the things that I feel is promoted in Greek culture,” Cleary-Hammarstedt said. “I had a big problem with the social hierarchy aspect of the system that we have at Lehigh. You’re judged based on the sorority that you’re a part of, and people immediately have preconceived notions about you.”

In hindsight, she thinks she should have taken into consideration the hesitation she felt before deciding to rush. But she said she doesn’t regret joining her organization. She met great people and learned a lot about herself in the process. After becoming in tune with what she truly wants out of her Lehigh career, Cleary-Hammarstedt said she is now happier and more independent than ever. She credits her experience in Greek life for getting her to this point.

Kristen Mejia, ‘17, the president of the Multicultural Greek Council, has had a different experience within her sorority.

“I don’t know if I would’ve stayed at Lehigh if it wasn’t for my organization,” Mejia said. “I have a support system of women who are pushing me to do everything I want to do and empowering me, and I would not have been able to do that without them.”

As a member of Lambda Theta Alpha, an MGC sorority, her Greek experience is unlike the stereotypes. There are only two active members in her sorority and five active members in the entirety of MGC. Mejia said there’s an overarching view of fraternities and sororities in the media that more closely aligns with the IFC and Panhel experience. She said the MGC chapters are more focused on advocating for social change and being a voice for students who can’t afford to have one.

“I had a big problem with the social hierarchy aspect of the system that we have at Lehigh. You’re judged based on the sorority that you’re a part of, and people immediately have preconceived notions about you.” — Mikayla Cleary-Hammarstedt, former sorority member 

When thinking about a future for Lehigh without Greek life, many students and faculty can’t conceptualize it. It’s out of the realm of their imaginations. But Higgins is trying to change that.

He is a strong advocate for dissolving Lehigh’s Greek life. He thinks the process of pledging a fraternity is barbaric, and he fears for the safety of his fellow students.

“Imagine reading in the police log one day that an individual took another individual and forced them into taking off some of their clothing and beat them with a paddle,” Higgins said. “I think you would no doubt be appalled just to think of that happening. Yet we seem to permit this when it’s in a group. We say, ‘Well this many people agreed to it. They obviously wanted it to happen.’ On the individual case, would you ever question that this person wanted to be beaten with a paddle?”

Higgins has friends within Greek life who have confirmed hazing rituals. He said he knows of a fraternity on Lehigh’s campus whose pledging process several years ago required each new member to raise a ferret. The members then had to murder the ferrets before getting initiated into the fraternity.

Higgins said he thinks the secrecy of Greek life allows this behavior to continue. Instead of punishing the fraternities and sororities, the administration gives them “mansions that overlook the rest of the school,” Higgins said.

“Right now we have a campus administration that says, ‘Well our hands are tied, we can’t do anything about it,’” Higgins said. “I think that any student should be outraged about that. Clinging to that sort of political correctness is restricting the administration from actually protecting the safety of its students.”

Like Higgins, many colleges have realized the potential detrimental effects of Greek membership on campus climate. With Greek life under scrutiny in America, it might be time to start thinking about what Lehigh would look like without it.

Several small liberal arts colleges  namely Colby, Bowdoin and Williams have successfully removed Greek life from campus without significant financial repercussions. The difference with these schools may be that they weren’t as dependent on Greek life for admissions, campus housing, students’ social lives and alumni donations.

Ashley Baudouin, the director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, said there are approximately 80,000 living Lehigh alumni who were affiliated with a Greek chapter as undergraduates.

Thomas Chaves, the associate vice president for development and alumni relations, said that over the last three years, approximately one third of donations to the Lehigh Fund have come from Greek alumni. That accounts for 24 percent of all donations to the Lehigh Fund. While the number is significant, it is nowhere near the majority. In fact, it doesn’t even match the percentage of current undergraduate students who are affiliated with a Greek chapter — 33 percent of men and 43 percent of women.

“I don’t know if I would’ve stayed at Lehigh if it wasn’t for my organization.” – Kristen Mejia, MGC president  

There’s also no guarantee that donations from Greek alumni will discontinue if their chapters are no longer recognized by the university. In Baudouin’s experience, alumni are generally understanding of the university’s decision to dissolve their former chapters.

Regardless, Baudouin said alumni donations do not cloud the administration’s judgement when disciplining chapters that aren’t upholding the university’s values. Durics agreed with this statement. He said the dissolution of four chapters in his four years at Lehigh is a testament to that.

If anything, Baudouin said the university is more likely to consider the strain that the dissolution would put on residence and dining halls.

When resources, money and logistics enter the conversation, it’s easy to forget that Greek life is necessary for some students to feel like they belong on campus, especially women and minorities.

“Coming to a predominately white campus, I knew that I was going to have to find those support systems and those people who I felt connected to and that I would feel like I had a place here at Lehigh,” Mejia said.

Cleary-Hammarstedt agreed. Even though she disaffiliated, she thinks that dissolving Greek life would mean destroying many students’ “home base.”

Jonah Casella, ‘18, didn’t join a fraternity because, although he likes individual Greek members, he disapproves of the system as a whole. But he doesn’t think getting rid of it all together is the solution.

“I feel like people need it to feel accepted,” Casella said. “You can’t abolish it because that’s what they’re into, and you can’t condemn someone for wanting to feel like a part of a collective whole with other people who share similar ideals.”

Although Burnett said she would be sad to see Greek life go, she acknowledged that there are changes that need to be made within the institution. Bridging the divide between Greek and non-Greek students is one of her priorities.

“I would hope in the future when I come back five or 10 years from now that everyone will be a Lehigh student first, Greek student second and chapter member third.”

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  1. A very big thank you to the Brown and White for putting this article together. I believe this is a conversation that is very important to start having. A general thesis of my opinion on these issues is this: nobody gets a free pass on cruelty. We live on a campus that is unfortunately too often a place for beatings, humiliation, and sexual exploitation to occur. We’re left to hear about these stories in passing, often with a laugh. This cannot be the status quo.

    Unfortunately, only so much can be said in a small place. The quotes of mine that were used even to me seem to paint a very general picture of the situation, which I think is a consequence of only having so much space. However, I want to be very clear about what I am not saying. I am not saying that students on campus should treat Greek members any differently. I do not think all members consent to the nasty facets that are often consequences of the culture. I do not think this is what “being Greek” means to most people. I also think our administration genuinely works very hard to make sure we have a safe environment for students. I believe that the quick snips of what I was saying that were taken from over an hour of conversation could be misunderstood with much of their accompanying thought missing, which is a consequence of limited space. We as a community should never be against someone for taking part in Greek Life unless they are facilitating the behavior I’m referencing. As a community, however, we must surely be against cruelty. We have to really ask ourselves what price we’re paying for this system, even when not everybody participates in these sort of things. Is the fun we find in it worth the suffering it causes to people? Are we so certain that we couldn’t have a nightlife, personal relationships, and professional development without these negative consequences?

    What I am saying is that the consequences that come attached to this lifestyle, and this framework are unacceptable. As students and administrators, we cannot accept them. No parent should have to worry about their pride and joy coming to a new school and being stripped and put on a washing machine so that their new friends can circle what jiggles. No brother or sister should have to worry about their sibling coming to a school and being forced to strip naked and get paraded around to “build their character”. No new student, nervous to fit in in a new place should have to worry about being beaten with a paddle conveniently where no bruises can be seen by their peers the next day. We are beyond this. We are above this. We need an administration and student body who is willing to say to those who make these occurrences normal, that if you are going to hurt our fellow students, we are going to be your worst nightmare. Report everything you see, hold others accountable.
    My genuine hope is that one day no student admitted at this school should have to worry about these things happening to them so they can fit in. They will no longer have to worry about bringing a certain number of their female friends to fit in with a new group of guys at a party. They will no longer have to see a system where men and women are treated as such radically different groups and sectioned off as such. They will no longer have to worry about the secrecy of pledging rituals that allow cowardly people to tear them down for amusement.

    I hope that anybody who has seen this lifestyle and found it troubling will share these ideas around. Write about it. Talk about it. Share different ideas than mine.
    Perhaps, then, we could imagine a campus where everybody could be seen as our brothers and sisters.

    • Casey Cleary-Hammarstedt on

      This is an important conversation for the Lehigh community.

      It would be interesting to read a gender analysis specific to Lehigh. Sorority members are required to attend parties up to 5 nights a week. When they tried to reduce that number the fraternities complained. Perhaps the Greek culture at Lehigh, rooted in the fact that women weren’t admitted until 1970 and were a minority population for decades after, has something to do with the way this culture grew.

      What I find most troubling is that the Lehigh administration, with a very large and highly trained Greek life professional staff, seems reticent to make changes that are so obviously necessary. For instance, how can an institution that is so committed to providing amazing academic programs with real world impact sit back when they are aware of something so basic as the fact that such a large percentage of their female students are required to attend parties at fraternity houses 4-5 nights per week?

  2. While I don’t disagree that the Greek community has its issues, why does every single article in the media feel the need to stress the “dangers” of Greek life? Where are the interviews with students whose Greek experience made them better people? I am part of a Panhellenic organization, and without the friendships I made, I would not have had the enriching college experience tht I did. Being part of an organization gave me a level of responsibility, both to my chapter and the Lehigh community. As a chapter member, I knew I was held to a higher standard than those who were unaffiliated, because everything I did carried my chapte name with it, and I was proud of that.
    Without the Greek community, philanthropic involvement would plummet. As disheartening as it may seem, many people would not choose to spend their Saturday night at dance marathon or relay for life or the countless other events Lehigh holds, if it were not required by their fraternity or sorority. We need this level of accountability, it forced me to stay involved in the Lehigh community, and I don’t regret it for a second.
    Not every fraternity hazes. Not every sorority hazes. Abolishing Greek life will by no means abolish hazing. You’ll have to remove half the clubs and sports teams as well. Rather than remove an entire group of students from their friends and homes, a better solution would be to change the way the groups operate. Yes, going out 4-5 nights a week was tough, but that culture is changing already. The opinion of a non-Greek student about her experience in a system she was a part of for a brief time 2 years ago, is very different than the opinions you will get from current Greek chapter members. Again, I don’t pretend the system is perfect, but I don’t believe in throwing something away just becaue it’s a little broken.

  3. This is the most absurdly biased and patronizing article I have seen in awhile. Since when did the Brown and White evolve into the Huffington Post?

    • I rushed (because I felt like I had to- even if it went against my beliefs) and got a bid and didn’t take it because the things described in this article are entirely how I feel about Lehigh’s Greek community. I’m so glad I didn’t join a Greek organization and frankly, I’m very fed up with the whole Greek culture at Lehigh. I think your response to the article sounds very uneducated and rude- maybe you didn’t read the article all the way through.

  4. Seems like Kyle has very little experience with Greek life and all of his accounts are secondhand.

    I’d like to be interviewed on how I think a professor who’s class I’ve never taken is being unfair

    • I would like to have more quantitative information, as I think would many. Perhaps there has been a large conspiracy to misinform many of us about what’s really happening to our peers and friends. I don’t mean to get caught up talking about whether it should be on campus or not. This is an opinion about how to best handle the situation. I don’t think anyone else should get hung up on it either. My point is this, where hazing, sexual exploitation, and otherwise forced and humiliating acts are taking place, we need to do everything to stop them. These organizations do not come first if they perpetrate them. We know that these things happen. I don’t think anybody who doesn’t cause them deserves punishment. But I think you would agree as would many others that our bottom line needs to be to stop these things where they occur.

      • Not all fraternities perform hazing rituals which you have described in the article. Hey, it is up to each and every student to decide how they want to spend their four years at Lehigh, whether it be on the hill on down on campus. Do not put down the people in greek life. Situations that you spoke of are most likely fewer than none. If you are so concerned about your fellow students safety during pledging, how about working at preventing hazing rather than try to take down the Greek System entirely. It seems like your disapproval towards the greek system at Lehigh stems from you not fitting in.

  5. While I appreciate the perspectives laid out in this article, I feel the message was exceedingly one-sided. Yes, Greek life isn’t for everyone and it shouldn’t be – but as a member of a greek organization I feel I speak for others when I say that this article isn’t an accurate representation of what our organizations are about. They are not set up to exclude or humiliate; they exist to provide a community and a support system to anyone that feels it may benefit their Lehigh careers and their lives in general. Not everyone will have a positive experience in their house. Not everyone will have a positive experience at Lehigh – but that doesn’t mean the entire system is to blame. To dissolve greek organizations at Lehigh would be to discredit the tireless efforts that go into making fraternities and sororities operate successfully, safely, and for the benefit of their members. To say that the greek system is “deeply and morally disturbing” is to misunderstand the foundations upon which our organizations stand and have stood.

    Over the last 3 years being a part of my chapter, I have learned to be a better person and a better friend. It has instilled in me the values of accountability, responsibility, respect, and dignity, and there is not a single second I have questioned or regretted what the greek system at this school has done for me. I am confident when I say that my Lehigh career would be nothing were it not for the friendships and experiences I have made through my sorority. I will carry them with me forever and its unfortunate that not everyone can say the same.

    • I want to be clear again about quotes of mine that may seem out of context. I do not believe that the majority of those who take part in Greek Life are “deeply morally disturbing”. This comment was made in reference to the hazing and exploitation the lifestyle sometimes results in. I want to reiterate my point. I was prompted with an interview about imaging Lehigh without it. I believe there would be good reasons for getting rid of the system, however, I don’t disagree with someone who thinks it may be best to keep it around. I know how the comments look in the article. This was never the point I was making. The point I must make is that we have to be unrelenting in fighting these very real negative consequences of the lifestyle. This means we put students first. Nobody gets a pass on doing something terrible. I would much rather have a conversation about that sort of thing than what to do with Greek life as a whole. This is not what I am primarily concerned about.

    • You could call the article deeply biased it it was called “Exploring the Pros and Cons on Greek Life”. It’s not. This article is examining a completely hypothetical scenario where Lehigh’s social scene isn’t dominated by Greek life. You can’t call something biased for not being about what you’d like it to be about.

  6. Completely biased. Does not mention any positives of Greek life. Embarrassing that the school I attend would even allow this to get published. Not sure why a super salty kid was picked to ramble non sense that he has heard through the grape vine as rumors. If 1200 guys in Greek life didn’t like you enough to get a bid anywhere, maybe you should look at yourself and not blame the system.

    • This article isn’t about the pros and cons of Greek life! It’s about a hypothetical scenario where Greek life doesn’t dominate Lehigh’s social scene. The author is under no obligation to write about the positive and negative aspects of Greek life, because she’s not claiming that’s what this article is about. An article isn’t biased just because it’s on a topic other than the topic YOU think it should be about.

  7. This is a joke. on

    Yet another article written to stereotype every single person in Greek Life. You may argue that the exclusivity of the Greek community only hurts its members by restricting their ability to explore new friendships, but that is my own choice, not my organizations. If someone wants to expand relationships beyond their chapter members, they will do so. However, ill-researched and incredibly biased journalism from a student who does not even know what he is talking about and yet holds this stigma against those choosing an organization to be a part of, only creates an even wider gap between the Greek community and the Non-Greek community.

  8. I don’t really know how to say this any clearer: I do not think all, or even most Greek members are people who stand behind the sort of extreme details that often arise due to Greek life. I was prompted in an interview to comment on whether or not I would support the possibility of a Lehigh without Greek Life. This is not what I care about. I did not choose the quotes of mine that were used in this article. In a conversation that lasted more than an hour I discussed primarily the problems of hazing and sexual coercion that very really take place as a result of certain organizations. It is a completely legitimate opinion that Lehigh may be better off with it. My stake is to whole-heartedly stand against the hazing that is happening to our peers. These are terrible things people are really put through in certain situations. If the countless reports that students on campus have about hazing really are fabricated, which I don’t find to be likely, then they could easily be discredited by removing the elements of secrecy that come along with initiation rituals and the like.

    To any Greek member who feels as if I was stereotyping them, read the first comment that I wrote on this article. I wrote it for a reason. I don’t think my opinion was completely and accurately portrayed by this article. I don’t believe that most people legitimately stand by the worst of what happens on campus. I know many Greek Organizations go above and beyond to make sure there is no hint of humiliation or psychological damage to their members. The fact remains that not all groups on campus do. I speak out as someone who is very concerned about this. We are above this. It’s time for it to stop. If you are tempted to respond that not all Greek organizations do this sort of thing, I am there with you. One thing I would expect you to agree with then too is that the organizations that do need to be stopped. If every organization that previously took part legitimately abandoned all rituals that hurt and tear down their new and current members, then Greek Life could wholly do what it often aspires to do on a campus. Until that happens, we need people willing to speak out.

  9. a sorority chapter member on

    While I don’t disagree with some the negatives of Greek life pointed out in this article, there was also not enough of a defense for Greek life. Personally, I feel that there are many more benefits to Greek life than just friendship, a social scene, and a sense of belonging to which this article eludes. For some, Greek Life helps people mature and evolve, it makes them a leader, it teaches time management, it provides an additional alumni network, it teaches you to be part of something greater than yourself and that your actions don’t always just affect yourself, it even gets them involved in other activities on campus. Yes, I do not agree with hazing, and yes, I do not agree with an exclusive social hierarchy. However, I also feel that a social hierarchy manifests itself in some form with or without Greek Life (we’ve all been to high school, and there was no Greek Life there). This article was supposed to be about what Lehigh would look like without greek life, but I don’t feel that it accomplishes this task, except to say that maybe alumni donations wouldn’t be affected. I understand to prove that point, it had to be illustrated why Lehigh would be getting rid of the institution, but it did not provide enough opportunity for a defense. While I very much appreciated the quote by the president of MGC, I would find it extremely hard to believe that the presidents of Panhel and IFC did not also have other quotes besides those cited in the article that better defended Greek Life and all that it has to offer. At the very least, it would have been nice to at least one perspective of a current member of an IFC, Panhellenic, or MGC member. There are negatives of Greek Life, I do not disagree, but in my opinion, not enough to outweigh the pros, and this voice was not heard in this article.

    • This criticism would be fine if the article was entitled “Pros and Cons of Greek Life at Lehigh”. It’s not. The author isn’t claiming to present a complete picture of Lehigh Greek life, she’s presenting a hypothetical situation where Greek life doesn’t dominate the social scene. If you want a comprehensive look at Lehigh fraternities and sororities, that’s great. But this article isn’t “biased” because it doesn’t do that. Bias isn’t an article being about something other than what you think it should be about. That’s not what that word means.

  10. This is a pathetic article based on hearsay and several anecdotes. Newsflash people brag and lie about things for attention and to make themselves look tough, doesn’t mean they actually happened. Joining is voluntary and there are such a wide variety of Greek organizations that almost anyone can find a fit. We are all 18-22, not naive children. There are people our age sitting in the desert getting shot at and surviving boot camp. If you can’t make a choice to say “no I’m not gonna do this. kick me if you want” you have bigger problems. That said if you know of crimes being committed you should go to the police so they can be prosecuted. In my experience people who have the biggest problem staying in Greek life or joining are those who aren’t willing to pull their weight within a group and who can’t adjust to doing dish duty and cleans rather than watch netflix. Everyone I know who dropped did so because they didn’t like having to be a dependable contributor to a group and couldn’t bear to give up the minuscule amount of personal space and freedom that living with a group of individuals entails. It’s not for everyone, but if an individual is willing to put in the effort it can be one of the most rewarding aspects of Lehigh.

    The social life argument is laughable. If an individual wants to spend their money, liability, and time to host an event they don’t have to invite you. If you want more diverse options then please drop thousands of dollars over 4 years, take on risk, and put hours into organizing and running an event I’ll gladly come over and trash your house. Or go enjoy one of the beautiful bars in South Bethlehem, I’d suggest funhouse. Greek Life is Lehigh and the biggest reason Lehigh is still relevant. It’s a small school in a small city that has zero sports culture and has dropped academically compared to other places. Go to a football game. We’re an hour from Philly and an hour and a half from New York where thousands of alumni live. We can’t fill half our stadium. Go to a basketball game it’s depressing. We have the exact same student population as Wake Forest and are closer distance wise to most of our alumni, but average 6,500 at football games while Wake averages 29,000. There’s zero school pride and we’re not in a major metro area. The only tie most alumni have to the school is Greek Life. Greek Life enables Lehigh to say “look we have this great system where you learn life and leadership skills, network with alumni, grow academically, and have a good time.” Without it I don’t know what justifies paying 50k to go to a awkwardly small school ranked 44th by US News and World Report with zero school pride and community, declining academics, and no real entertainment options in the immediate area

    • Well said. There’s really not too much to do in Bethlehem, especially at night because the townies lurk. Plus this offers an opportunity to build relationships and a brotherhood/sisterhood with other students, as well as network with alumni. Citing one bad instance that has been blown out of proportion after the story has been passed around many times is unethical and dishonest.

  11. Unfortunately another negative portrayal of Greek Life that completely ignores the positive effects that being a member of a Greek organization can have on a person and how valuable it is to become so close with so many people. Those who say that’s not how fraternities work are either doing it wrong or doing it for the wrong reasons. There are no statistics in this article that were not produced by “rounding” or “guessing” and every speculation that was made about the inner workings of fraternities has been made by individuals who have never actually experienced it themselves.
    To see the President of the IFC say that he’s restricted to being friends with the 50 guys in his fraternity and the 450 girls that he sees regularly is absurd. If anything that only makes Greek Life seem like an impenetrable bubble of exclusiveness, and that’s coming from the person whose sole responsibility is to make it more inclusive! The fact of the matter is your Greek affiliation gives you a close group of friends who, if you’re in the right place, you can trust with anything. Nowhere in that statement does it say you must be friends with ONLY those people. Your number of friends on campus should never have a “cap”. Especially not one as small as only 50 guys.
    I believe in freedom of the press, but to see articles published with such a homogeneous set of views and then the comments disagreeing being clearly being filtered out is really a shame, especially as the Freshmen are nearing the point of making their decision. Now more than ever they deserve to hear both sides.

  12. What would Lehigh look without Greek life?

    Higgins answer-A beautiful paradise of equality and frienship.

    Reality-Applications to the university would decline dramatically propelling Lehigh further down the rankings and declining the academics of the school. Donors, most of whom are Greek alum, would stop giving money.

    Classic far left outrage at something they neither understand or are involved in which would lead to unforeseen disastrous consequences. This is why America voted against PC liberalism.

    • I would like to refer you to the rest of my comments on this article. I have made it very clear time and time again that I answered in an interview that I could imagine a Lehigh without Greek Life. This is not what I’m interested in. I’m interested in stopping hazing and sexual exploitation. These are real things that happen on our campus. I can imagine a slew of other solutions that would just as easily resolve this problem too. Many of them surely involve Greek members standing up against these details and improving Greek Life for the future. Please do not put words into my mouth.

      • Perhaps the most ridiculous part of your far left outrage is that you have absolutely no first hand knowledge of this occurring (when you refer to “hazing and sexual exploitation”). The evidence you cited in the article is hearsay and would not stand up in a court of law. You’re making assumptions of a system in which you have zero experience with completely based off hearsay and rumors which most likely come from non-Greek sources who similarly have zero direct experience with the system itself. Your fraudulent claims are vague and unsubstantiated–I cannot believe the Brown and White published this article based on basic journalistic ethics. Mr. Higgins, this type of holier-than-thou far left outrage is what fuels anger and division in this country and now on this campus.

        • Alexander Derish on


          “far-left outrage” OKAY COOL BIAS THERE
          “The evidence you cited in the article is hearsay and would not stand up in a court of law” WHAT ABOUT ALL OF THE DOCUMENTED (FILM/AUDIO/WRITTEN/PICTORIAL) EVIDENCE COLLECTED OVER THE PAST 20+ YEARS PRECISELY TO THIS EFFECT? (I’ll refrain from posting links. You can do a very cursory ‘Lehigh + Greek’ search in your engine of choice…start on the second page via Google and perhaps you’ll find something interesting. Perhaps not!)

          “Your fraudulent claims are vague and unsubstantiated” NOT SURE ABOUT EITHER OF THOSE – PLEASE REFER TO MY ABOVE POINT

          “…this type of holier-than-thou [attitude]” LMFAO I’M JUST GOING TO LEAVE THAT ONE ALONE COMING FROM AN ANONYMOUS SOURCE

          Here’s why I care about this whatsoever as a GDI-turned-double alum:

          Kyle spoke from his heart, and invites dialogue with his words. You? I’m not seeing any evidence there.
          So it would be okay if you just kept your mouth shut. But you felt the need to take to socialized media…not to promote anything, and not to offer differing opinion based on evidence, but to spew hate.

          I do not tolerate hate. At this campus; or anywhere else I can see measurable ways to understand it, talk about it, and work past it.

          About a year ago, and many times prior, I’ve been involved in lengthy discussion with numerous parties as to the STRONG, LASTING, AND MERITORIOUS BENEFITS OF THE GREEK SYSTEM AT LEHIGH. I couldn’t be a more staunch supporter of the Greek system at this University because…frankly…it helps to make Lehigh a great place for an undergraduate education. It is in the University’s best interests to have a healthy Greek system – and those interests include ALL current and prospective students, and alumni, of said university. Not to mention the innumerable stakeholders around this wonderful place.

          In fact, I go a step further in some disagreement to Kyle’s words in this case…Lehigh without Greek life could be a much-diminished place. Lacking some of the unique characteristics that make it so special, and valuable, as a live-in higher educational institution aka a university.

          But wait Kyle didn’t say that. He just answered interview prompts honestly, and has been since crucified by trolls such as yourself.

          What Kyle did was find the balls to say his words and stand by them. And to his articulate, well-defended (I find it disgusting that free speech needs to be defended in a public forum in this day and age in America but I guess as long as people are scared to stand behind their own comments they’ll feel emboldened slinging garbage at others) point I have only this to say:

          I love Lehigh. I bleed for Lehigh. I honestly hope that you do too, REALITY CHECK. Because – though I’m ashamed and disappointed at your above contributions – you are (hopefully) a student here, and that makes you my brother. Fam doesn’t let fam slip.

          The type of culture – which is abhorrent – that you seem so quick to defend is not healthy. Argue with me as much as you want, in person preferably. You know it. I know it. The people reading this know it. THERE ARE WONDERFUL BENEFITS TO GREEK LIVING – FACT. AND THERE IS SOCIAL PRESSURE TO CONFORM – FACT. AND SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN THOSE TWO POLES, PEOPLE HAVE HAD GREAT EXPERIENCES AND PEOPLE HAVE BEEN HURT.

          To make the comments you did spits in the face of our University, and all of those people. Unlike Kyle, who has taken a step towards promoting dialogue, you have attempted to intimidate, bully, and silence it.

          And today, you lost.

          I hope that is a new feeling for you. I hope that – like Kyle – you actually, in your own perverse way, care about making this place better. About leaving a positive and lasting impression on AS MANY PEOPLE AS YOU CAN, NOT JUST THE ONES YOU LIKE.

          But, based on your earlier comments, I think that you’re just scared right now. Scared that working towards a more understanding campus could make Lehigh a less comfortable environment for the kind of juvenile, bigoted, frighteningly-emboldened, vile garbage that started in your soul, worked its way through your brain, and somehow ejaculated out of your fingertips (and probably your mouth numerous times in the past) onto the Brown & White comments section yesterday evening.

          Don’t be scared REALITY CHECK. Be brave. Be like Kyle. And hope that your karmic clapback for this silly oversight will come about one day when you have the chance to help someone.

          Yours in fellowship,
          Alex Derish

          PS: ‘memba that this happened in 2016, in a court of law? http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/01/us/brock-turner-release/

          I know a lot of people who remember. So don’t you ever, for one second, forget. Make a point not to forget the next time you open your mouth, and pray that you are nowhere near me if you do.

          • @ALEXANDER DERISH First of all, having “balls” is not fraudulently reporting lies that you are not sure to be true on any level and that seek to denigrate and demonize a certain section of the student population. Using lies to menace a group is a cowardly action. Imagine if a Lehigh fraternity member publicly stated unsubstantiated lies as fact to systematically denigrate a certain ethnic group or other group (such as the band or an athletic team at Lehigh), you guys would be jumping all over them about how they are bullies and full of privilege (your go to line). However, when it happens the other way around you applaud.

            Using anecdotes of bad things happening such as Turner raping a woman after drinking at a fraternity party at Stanford does nothing whatsoever to prove anything you said or anything Higgins said. It is totally unconnected to anything that happens or has happened at Lehigh. It is simply qualitative, cherrypicked stories that you turn and say, “oh its like this everywhere, all ‘cool’ kids take advantage of girls and are bad people.” You cherrypick stories to fit your perceived narrative that is no doubt shaped by your, probably, bad experience like getting denied into a fraternity party or something like that.

            You have confirmation bias in which you try to ram selected stories into some conspiratorial narrative. Typical far left liberals, such as yourself and Higgins, selectively choose stories about oppression or violence or whatever and become outraged and then fit that into some narrative over how people are getting systematically oppressed. And you’ve applied that to greek life at Lehigh

  13. Yeah I remember when I was a freshman and believed that frats actually had to kill ferrets etc., then I found out it was a RUMOR tracing back to delts who was kicked off what like 8 years ago?

  14. A Lehigh Student on

    Props to Kyle Higgins. This is a real issue that needs to be addressed, and he’s earned my respect by publicly taking this platform no matter how unpopular it is. Also, based on his comments after the article, I don’t think his opinions on the matter were accurately expressed. But his later comments clarifying the interview show he does not have as extreme a view as portrayed, and that his views are well thought out and reasonable. And I agree with him. Greek life is not inherently bad, but there are no doubt practices within the system that are detrimental to people’s well being. So again, much respect to Kyle for taking a stand against this issue. Not enough people are entering the conversation about trying to change these practices.

  15. The Greek system at this Lehigh runs the entire social life at the school. Last year the illegal and abusive levels of hazing were reported to the national chapter headquarters and members of the administration. The year before an internal survey was conducted at Lehigh and 3/4 of the students reported they had either been involved in hazing themselves or had witnessed hazing at Lehigh. There are not two sides to this illegal and factually present behavior at the school. So many legacy parents look the other way and claim it is our culture. Shame on all of you. It is happening, it is terrifying and it is illegal. Someone must finally press charges this upcoming season of hazing. It needs to stop.

    • No, shame on you to people such as yourself who try to be the hero that no one wants. If you’d like to join a greek organization, then join. If not, then don’t. If you feel that it’s unfair that you need to pledge to join a secret organization that you believe controls the social scene at Lehigh, then form a club or make friends and host your own parties…believe the fraternities when we say that it’s not too much fun to front our houses, money, and time to throw parties for the school. We’d welcome with open arms organizations that could help split the burden. I, along with who I would say makes up the majority of greek life, see the value in our pledging processes and would make the same decision to pledge and join a frat or sorority all over again. So don’t try to tear something apart that many of us enjoy being a part of, and don’t assume that the majority of us feel saddened and marginalized by the current way things work. You know what they say about assuming.

  16. I am glad I will be graduating before Lehigh inevitably changes with modern culture and enforces harsher restrictions on fraternities and sororities that will in effect only serve to limit students and Greek organizations at large from making their own decisions and self-regulating. I respect Kyle’s point of view as an independent but he is simply an outside observer who has heard things. Oh I heard that Greeks raise ferrets and kill them so it must be true. The writer of this piece did the whole Lehigh community a disservice by giving any credit to these accusations based off of hearsay. The quote at the end says it all: “I hope everyone will be a Lehigh student first, Greek student second, and chapter member third.” First of all, how would anyone be loyal to the Greek community over the chapter they are actually engaged in on a daily basis. Being involved in my Greek house has been the most rewarding experience of my life. Not only have I developed my interpersonal skills (which I am learning are the most valuable skills that employers want) by constantly being surrounded by peers with like minds and interests, but I am developing a network I will use throughout the entirety of my career. I’ve had the chance to lead a large organization and give back to the community all while being surrounded by my closest friends in the world. There is nothing more fulfilling than being part of something greater than yourself and I am proud that I have had this blessing over the past few years.

    This is my view point, but I know that most Greek members out there reading this agree with me. For me, Greek life is everything I will cherish about my college experience and why I am proud to be from Lehigh.

  17. I’ve been a huge critic of greek life. But other colleges do it right. Greek life at other schools are systems for philanthropy, sister/brotherhood, and positive change. Some Lehigh chapters (from what I know, often the ones that are deemed “lower tier”) are just that. Most Lehigh greek chapters need to recognize their flaws (exclusivity, hazing, etc.) and make a point to fix them. Dissolving them entirely is not the solution.

  18. The exclusivity that you discussed here is not because of the fraternity structure at Lehigh. It comes a result of the changing social atmosphere of basically the entire world. This article is incredibly biased and it seems as though there was not enough background research put into it. The author wrote this article simply to cause a reaction, full well knowing that the fraternity and sorority culture at Lehigh is imbedded in its history and will never change.

    Also… what do you supposed Lehigh should do with the 20-somewhat fraternity and sorority buildings after the system has been abolished? If you leave them as student housing it wont change the culture at all. If you move students out, where do you suppose Lehigh should house them?

    P.S. Bring parties back on the hill. Parties off campus are not safe… and my house hasn’t been cleaned in weeks.

  19. Greek students are Lehigh students too. We are the SAME as all of you. Why are Greek students being portrayed by the media and non-Greeks as some sort of menace or as criminals. Greek life is supposed to be secretive, those who aren’t in Greek life don’t get the chance to deeply examine themselves and follow a series of values which they have come to accept as true. It is a chance to deepen your thoughts and interact with people who you believe are just like you. Yes there is a social side, people enjoy having fun in college and alcohol has emerged as the norm for doing so. Greek students simply choose who they want to be their friends, what is wrong with that? You have your friends too, Kyle. Can I come criticize your life?

    Do you think all of these Greeks spend 100% of their time in their chapter houses doing illegal, “morally disturbing” things and performing acts of “sexual exploitation” all day long? Is that SERIOUSLY the image you have in your mind of members of fraternities and sororities. You are so laughingly wrong. Each and every member of the Greek community is involved heavily on campus extra-fraternal or sororal activities. Presidents of clubs, members of honor societies, students who are interested in learning more. The fact that people think that Greeks are not Lehigh students first is rather amusing. Why can’t we have a place of privacy where people we have all come to like can get together?

    This isn’t to say that every single person should join Greek life, because I do believe that not everyone is cut out for this life, simply a message to those non-Greeks saying to stop criticizing your peers who you chose not to associate with because you have these “pre-conceived notions” we perform countless savage acts on a daily basis. You, who aren’t in Greek life, don’t know what it is like to be a part of one, so stop criticizing those who are.

    Also, side note, if any student is able to interact with or on a first name basis with upwards of 3,000 people in their time at Lehigh, I would love to meet them. That’s incredible! 450 is realistically a perfectly solid number of friends to have at any school. In fact, that seems like a lot of friends to have. That point was terribly stupid. Such a biased article, really uninformed and opinionated.

  20. (1) Hazing brings people closer together. You ever wonder how 20 or so kids get so close over just one semester? It’s almost entirely because of the collective suffering involved with being a pledge; the times you look to your brothers/sisters for help fosters a deeper connection.

    (2) Hazing teaches you to respect your organization. If I didn’t work my ass off for 13-weeks in order to join a fraternity/sorority, I wouldn’t care half as much about preserving its’ integrity.

    (3) Since the dawn of man there have been civilizations/cultures that induce initiation processes because actually do something. To write them off because they’re cruel/humiliating is soft. Quit being soft.

  21. One of the never ending concerns when it comes to fraternities and sororities is the issue of hazing.

    This link provides Lehigh’s definition:


    The first sentence of this definition reads as follows:

    “Hazing is any action taken or situation created, whether on or off campus, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule.”

    Think about how utterly absurd this is. Especially if you take seriously the words “any action”

    Suppose the requirements imposed upon a pledge during new member education are that he learn the history and songs of the fraternity and be able to stand up and demonstrate that he has learned them in a oral examination conducted by the brothers of the fraternity.

    Suppose further that for whatever reason the pledge failed to study these things adequately, performs miserably when quizzed, and is admonished for his poor performance. The result would be a bit of mental discomfort and embarrassment.

    Is the fraternity then considered to be guilty of hazing?

    Clearly the hypothetical situation I described above is no different than what occurs in the classroom. Is a professor guilty of hazing if she scowls and sniggers a bit when a student performs poorly?

    When I go back and read further down the page on the hazing link, I see the following prohibited activities:

    “. . . brutality of a physical nature, such as paddling, whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the elements, forced consumption of any food, liquor, drug or other substance. . . ” etc.

    These, I agree have no place in the new member education process and a fraternity or sorority found guilty of doing so should be expelled from Lehigh.

    Nowadays I read about no end of absurdity going on at campuses around the country with students whining about “microaggressions”, demanding “safe spaces”, etc.

    Enough already, of such psychobabble drivel. It is time to “suck it up” and prepare for the harsh realities of unforgiving real world.

    As I think back to my days as a fraternity pledge, the training proved invaluable in later years when my work required me to make presentations in front of audiences, some of which were rather hostile to say the least.

  22. Obviously Mr. Higgins and others like him did not do their due diligence on student life before deciding to attend Lehigh. So now that they have arrived on campus, it is time to dissolve the entire Greek system after 145 years because Lehigh’s social life didn’t meet their expectations, under the guise of keeping everyone on campus safe from the apparently rampant “humiliations, beatings and sexual exploitation?” Wow – sounds more like they have been watching Animal House than what is actually going on at Lehigh today. I’m wondering if Mr. Higgins and his like-minded friends ever stopped to consider if the many things that make Lehigh great – the tremendous alumni loyalty, incredible networking connections, camaraderie and school spirit, leadership, and success after graduation – might actually have evolved from the Greek system itself? Or that many Lehigh graduates are more successful post-graduation BECAUSE of their Greek experience, not in spite of it? Or that they are better able to deal with the adversity that is inevitable in life because they have already experienced it as a Greek at one of the most rigorous academic institutions in the country, and can successfully juggle the many demands placed on them both socially and academically, in addition to possible athletic, club, and work commitments?

    As a proud Greek alum, I concur with other commenters here that the best part of my Lehigh experience was my fraternity affiliation, and the lifelong bonds of friendship that were nurtured there through shared experiences including yes, even pledging and hazing. If fully 40% of the student body is Greek, it certainly isn’t because they were forced into it. Maybe there actually is something appealing about Greek life that others simply choose to ignore because of what they have seen on the internet or in the movies! Truth is, there are enough fraternities and sororities at Lehigh that almost anyone seriously interested in Greek life can find a match. However, if Greek life is not for you, that’s not a problem, and no one holds it against you. Lehigh has many other alternatives in the form of clubs, alternative living groups, sports teams, etc. There is a place for everyone, and that is another thing that makes Lehigh great – you have choices. But if you choose not to participate in Greek life, please stop using Lehigh’s Greek community as the scapegoat for all of the things you see wrong with Lehigh. Lehigh’s Greek community is already under the microscope and has been for years, as much more is expected of the average Greek student than their non-Greek counterparts in the way of academics, philanthropy, leadership, responsibility and conduct. These same accreditation standards and expectations are NOT applied equally to other living groups and clubs on campus – somewhat unfairly it should be noted – and the consequences of not meeting them can be quite harsh, even permanent (loss of recognition and house). And since fraternities are at the core of Lehigh’s social scene, it is also true that they bear the brunt of the financial cost for parties as well as the liability if something bad happens, especially to an unaffiliated person – so don’t get upset because they see the need to bar or eject unaffiliated students from their parties occasionally. It is actually prudent risk management!

    Finally, to answer the question posed in the article, IMO without Greek life, Lehigh as we know it would be dead. It would lose its identity and tradition. It would become less prestigious; the donor base would dwindle over time; its students would be less sought after by employers; there would be less school spirit, less loyal alumni and a less effective career networking environment. Oh, and the social scene would be virtually non-existent.

  23. Nicholas Noel III on

    So has Mr. Higgins reported the hazing incident he describes, (the paddling), or is something he’s “just heard”? The only way you make positive change is do something and not just cast stones. Doesn’t matter whether Greek or not, every society evolves (or devolves) into social groups who make up their own “membership rules” however loose or informal. From what I have read, the Greek system at Lehigh has elevated its game much higher than what existed decades ago. The philanthropy efforts directed toward fellow Mountain Hawks, the Bethlehem area, or the greater world are amazing. The Greek organizations have created a means for many Lehigh students to learn about how a lot of the ‘rest of the world lives’ and provide opportunities to impact others lives for the better. Will there be miscreants in some of the Greek organizations? Likely, because that is the way of the world. You will find them in athletic teams, music organizations, theatre groups, book clubs, you name it. It serves no purpose to cast aspersions without providing a positive thought toward how to address perceived problems. See someone being assaulted and what do you do? Contact the authorities or whine to a newspaper? What did McQueary do at Penn State? The gutless wonder (he was “only 23 or 24”) rather than intervene and save a child ran off and told his daddy. So if you see wrong, do something about it. It is the only way positive change can ever occur.

  24. Amy Charles '89 on

    While I’m not at all surprised by the Greek pile-on here — I mean that’s the point, isn’t it? Loyalty forever? — as an alum and a parent I’m in full agreement with Kyle. I remember the Hill quite well, and I”m just as pleased that my daughter doesn’t seem to be interested in Lehigh. Minus fraternities and sororities, I’d be happy to support her application there. But — as a parent — do I want to send her off to a place where the social life revolves around sexual harassment/assault central? Nope. And I sure don’t want to pay Lehigh-scale tuition to help make it happen.

    I can’t think of any other university social clubs or student groups that wind up in disciplinary proceedings and courtrooms with anything like the regularity that fraternities do. You guys have a serious problem, and I get it, you don’t want to take it seriously. I also can’t think of any other student organization that turns out to be such a disaster for students with a proclivity to addiction. Because that too was part of my Hill experience: watching young men turn into alcoholics. I’m old enough now to have seen what it does to a life and — why mince words? — how it kills. You get a kid in a fraternity and all of a sudden it’s very hard for him to get away from the booze; in fact his parents are helping pay for it through social dues. And then it’s hard for him to extricate himself. Yes, it’s possible for a student to become an alcoholic almost anywhere. But without a fraternity I think the likelihood that he’s living with a group of young men whose culture is focused on hard, even stupid and suicidal, drinking is probably much lower.

    As for sororities — I remember the pressure to join a sorority; I thought it was dumb then, and it still sounds dumb today. Choose your friends for life on the basis of…some kind of group speed-dating contest with housing consequences? I don’t see the point.

    Here’s what was pretty great, though: Taylor Residential College with Rich Aronson as Faculty Master. Co-ed, full of generally bright kids, extremely sociable, with programs put on for us routinely. Aronson took us to my first opera; I remember, too, the South African students he brought in for us to meet, and many others. And it was run by adults, which turned out to be a good thing. There was absolutely no us-and-them “you must be loyal to Taylor, Taylor is the best” pressure — people were there because they wanted to be there, and if they didn’t, they moved out, with no thought of hard feelings. It was warm and familial. You knew everyone in the building. And, bonus, I was never sexually assaulted in my dorm. I was never called a “little slut”. Instead I just got to witness two of my dormmates knocking down walls in fights for gay and lesbian student rights. (During which time one of them got threats and slurs from fraternity brothers, a practice that apparently continues today.) One of them was Lehigh’s first gay Gryphon, and he fought the admin to make it stick, no small feat in the early days of AIDS.

    I don’t expect Greek life to end at Lehigh. Too much alumni money rides on it. But it’s a large part of why so many of the people who did become my friends at Lehigh have not been back in over 20 years. Just have an aversion to the place, and find that even if they’re in the area, they’d rather not. That’s not the case for me; I went back and worked in the Music department after graduation, did some graduate work, and had a good enough time that setting foot on campus makes me want to crank the tunes. But I think it’s accurate to say that none of those memories, none of that happiness, is associated with fraternities. And I think that without fraternities Lehigh would be a better, smarter, and happier school.

    • Ms. Charles (AMY CHARLES ’89) has a tendency to write anti-fraternity comments on articles posted on the Brown and Whites website. Anything she says should essentially be null and void and should not be taken seriously due to her extreme bias probably resulting from bad experience with fraternities while on campus.

      Examples: https://thebrownandwhite.com/2016/05/17/sigma-chi-fraternity-disciplinary-probation/

      • Amy Charles '89 on

        If you’re paying attention in your classes, Student, then you’ll know that there are differences between bias and informed opinion.

        If I’d been the only one with such experiences, that’d be bad enough, but of course I’m not. And if fraternities had straightened up and flown right in the meantime, well, then it’d all be out of date and moot, my view of fraternities. Unfortunately, fraternities are still regularly in the news for sexual assault, racism, misogyny, and alcohol poisoning. Lehigh’s frats seem to have an extra twist: assault, property damage. (They’re rougher now than when I went there, apparently.)

        If it were not for the fact that so many alumni-donors are fraternity brothers, Lehigh would’ve gotten rid of the frats long ago. The liability must be a continuous source of worry (and high insurance premiums). They’re stuck now and I get it. But maybe there is a solution, and it’s the one taken by my own fraternity (yep): Sigma Chi Alpha, the chemistry fraternity. Men and women are both “brothers” (we’ll get around to the nomenclature eventually); men and women live in the houses together; the chapters have strong oversight from faculty, and any bad behavior there reflects poorly on the associated department as well, so there’s strong departmental incentive to keep things on the rails. Is there still stupidity that goes on, sure. And there are parties, and the two aren’t mutually exclusive. But if there’s assault, racism, all these things you see so often in fraternities, there’s enough diversity and oversight to put an end to it right quick — and the departments have that interest too. The presence of men and women on an equal footing goes a very long way towards creating the atmosphere I knew at Taylor — which was co-ed, where men and women got along in a mostly-civilized and unusually mature way, where faculty were involved, where there was a strong sense of community, and where, as I mentioned, I wasn’t assaulted or demeaned, and an activist gay Gryphon served with the respect of his hall. Of the entire dorm, actually.

        I would recommend replacing each fraternity booted off-campus, however temporarily, with an academic co-ed fraternities under a finders-keepers renewable-lease basis. Rent them the houses, maintain the loyalties, and maintain the donor base.

        I notice, incidentally, that you’re not saying, “Yeah, you’re right, these are demonstrable problems, all you have to do is go through the newspapers to find the stories, and those are just the ones that make it into the paper. Let’s fix them and fix them for good, and let’s do it now, not in five years.” Instead you’re immediately on the defensive. Let me suggest, Student, that you learn to accept criticism when there’s something to it, and use that criticism, rather than hitting out defensively and refusing to hear whatever’s being said. It’s another good thing to learn in college, and reluctance to learn it is a bad look for fraternities, too.

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