Why frats never seem to face consequences

…and just get a slap on the wrist

In mid-September, two UMass fraternities found themselves in hot water following a rambunctious weekend of parties. Theta Chi was suspended after an unspecified event at a party that caused the university to look into a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. The suspension was lifted after a month and the events in question were never specified which leads to the question: what are they hiding?

Phi Sigma Kappa also hosted a party that erupted in a fight at 2 am, leaving an 18-year-old with a bitten ear. The fraternity was placed on interim restriction while the university investigated the situation. However, odds are, the brothers will never face any real consequences. Most frats never do.

Greek life frequently lets fraternities off with a slap on the wrist for infractions that would get any other organization banned. Sure, lots of frats get suspended, but usually only under two situations: someone died or the offense went viral. Such is this case in the instance of the Penn State fraternity that forced a pledge to chug at least 18 drinks in under two hours; this resulted in the death of underage Timothy Piazza. In these cases, the school is backed into a corner and forced to take action to satiate the public.

The suspensions given to the selected fraternities that do get in trouble are likely to be lifted once the incident is out of public eye or the next big on-campus event occurs.

Some may ask why frats are just now doing things that warrant punishment, and why you haven’t heard about these events in the past. The simple answer is: social media.

Social media holds people and institutions accountable for their actions. It makes what would have been, in the past, an unheard of incident, finally observed. It allows victims' stories to reach any of the roughly two billion people on social media.

However, there is also a culture of fear that surrounds the seemingly untouchable fraternities. This can even lead some survivors to be too scared of ostracism or too ashamed to tell anyone what had happened to them.

An example of this was the gang rape of a UMass college student at a fraternity back in 2004. According to a personal friend of the survivor, who we will call Jenn for the sake of anonymity: “She went to a bar close to campus. Last she remembers, she met some guys there who went to her school. One of them offered to buy her a drink. She accepted, and remembers nothing after drinking it other than waking up in a cold dark room naked on the floor and somewhat beat up, she remembers multiple men’s voices, knew she was raped but didn't know by how many…she felt sore down below and sticky everywhere and knew her drink was drugged with something that made her pass out. So, crying and realizing all this, she grabbed her stuff, ran out and realized she was in a Frat House on campus.”

The friend of hers continued on to tell us that she was too afraid to go to the police because of the glorified status of the fraternity on campus. She did, however, go to a hospital to get tested and found out that the result of this heinous crime was an STD.

I think it’s time that universities and colleges put the safety of the general student population over the special interest of a certain group of students just because they are more likely to donate as alumni. I do understand that not all greek life is bad and not all frats have a culture of rape, violence, and crime, but the ones that do should be held accountable. If you are a part of greek life and disagree with that then maybe it’s time to reevaluate whether you’re a part of the problem.

UMass Amherst