Pride, Responsibility, and Accountability in Fraternities

in Blog,Leadership,Men & Masculinities,Sexual Violence Prevention,Student Affairs

I just dropped my five year-old daughter off at kindergarten today. Emotional moment for me as a parent. So proud of her but so aware of how vulnerable she is the world. As I was sitting and waiting for her to walk with her classmates to their classroom on their first day, I see a barrage of social media posts about fraternities and other all male houses* hanging banners about parents (often father’s particularly) dropping off their daughters at the fraternity house. The Hufffington Post put together a collection of NINE of these signs here. But above is just one example from Old Dominion University.

This is rape culture. “21 to drink. 18ish to Sleep Over.” To those who think it’s funny: imagine this father (ME) dropping off my daughter at kindergarten this morning and consider how funny I find it. OR imagine dropping YOUR daughter off at college and how funny you would find it that day. Keep that banner. Never throw it out. Hang on to it with pride at your cleverness. And then…on the day YOUR daughter goes to college, you hang that fucker that day.

Every fraternity house I’ve ever been in has had pictures of famous alumni – Congressmen, actors, President’s, businessmen, etc. I find it fascinating that these chapters take pride in their alumni from decades ago from chapters at different institutions and use these alumni to recruit new members and highlight their proud tradition. BUT when members today of their chapters on other campuses do stupid things like hang these banners it’s all “Well…each chapter on each campus is different.” Either take pride AND responsibility for all of your members or take none. If you’re gonna own the accomplishments of the former President of the US from a chapter across the country nearly a full century ago, you have got to own the idiots at your brother chapter across the country and their actions today. I know it’s tempting to distance yourselves from them. I get it. But that’s not leadership. Those aren’t your values. You set a higher standard. Live up to it. Speak up. Hold them accountable. Show some leadership.

*Updated to reflect that these banners are not just on fraternity houses, but many of them are.

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