Editorial Board | Greek life will not be the answer for Stanford’s social drawback

This text is the primary of a three-part sequence on how the Stanford group can revive social life on campus. This primary piece covers Greek life, and will probably be adopted by articles on sexual violence prevention and administrative reform.

After the slogan “Enjoyable Strikes Again” dominated polls within the current ASSU election, scholar assist for the rebellious motion of “Stanford Hates Enjoyable” has seemingly peaked — however the place can we go from right here?

Sophia Danielpour ‘24 and Kyle Haslett ‘25 had been not too long ago elected Related College students of Stanford College (ASSU) Executives, with the objective of recovering the enjoyable that Stanford has misplaced. Their victory comes almost a 12 months after the Palladium article that began all of it, “Stanford’s Warfare on Social Life,” through which the writer Ginevra Davis casts Stanford’s administration as a bulwark to the vivacity of post-pandemic campus tradition.

The Palladium article’s strongest grievance is with the College’s crackdown on the “hubs of scholar life”: specifically, “fraternities and cultural theme homes.” This, together with wistful anecdotes about fraternities of yore, erroneously implies a elementary hyperlink between the restoration of Greek life on campus and the revival of Stanford’s previously legendary scholar tradition. Whereas Greek life absolutely performs a component, Stanford’s social life has a terrific deal extra to supply.

With rush wrapping up and new pledges chosen, fraternities and sororities have been very energetic as of late. “Abolish Greek Life” (AGL), however, has had an especially quiet 12 months, leading to fewer conversations in regards to the harms of Greek life.

Hopes for Stanford’s social life have more and more been pinned on fraternities, which host nearly all of all-campus events. Earlier than 2021, dorm RAs typically advised residents that consuming in dorms was tolerated in the event that they left their room doorways open. However the Stanford Workplace of Scholar Affairs revealed a brand new alcohol coverage in 2021, which put an finish to Stanford’s unofficial pre-pandemic “open-door consuming coverage.” Consuming tradition due to this fact grew to become centered on the Row, naturally resulting in the notion of the Row as the one place on campus the place you’ll hear bumping music and rowdy partygoers.

Along with throwing events, Greek life is thought to be an area the place college students can discover and construct group, particularly the place the neighborhood system has failed to take action. Greek life is rife with networking alternatives — that’s, if you may get in. De facto programs like “soiled dashing” contain members of a Greek group selectively recruiting (and basically bribing) potential new members with items and favors — and, as you possibly can think about, these chosen people possible have present ties to the group or different benefits.

Whereas Greek life absolutely contributes to a section of the social scene at Stanford, there are severe harms to idealizing Greek life and fraternities particularly. Though range statistics should not obtainable, it’s evident by way of commentary and speaking to members of Greek organizations that a lot of Greek life stays extra white, rich and well-connected than the common Stanford scholar; the membership charges stacking as much as lots of of {dollars} per quarter are sufficient to drive some college students away.

Much more pertinent is the difficulty of security. In 2020, a Stanford scholar died from a drug overdose in TDX fraternity. In 2015, Brock Turner assaulted an unconscious girl after a celebration at Kappa Alpha, which led to widespread reckoning with sexual violence referring to frat events and Stanford extra typically.  Within the 2019 survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct, 29% of undergrad/coterm girls who skilled circumstances of penetration by pressure and 18% of undergrad/coterm girls who skilled circumstances of sexual touching by pressure reported assembly their perpetrator at a fraternity home. Frat homes are due to this fact hubs of sexual violence on campus, compounded by the truth that all-campus Greek occasions are hosted completely at fraternity homes, since sororities should not allowed to host events or have males of their residential space — insurance policies that time to Greek life’s misogynistic roots.

To their credit score, many fraternities should not ignoring the difficulty. Members of Phi Psi, Sig Ep and Sig Chi confirmed out to “Take Again the Night time,” an annual occasion to boost consciousness of and confront sexual violence on campus. If you wish to enter a frat social gathering, you could learn out an indication that describes and agrees to stick to the ideas of consent in the home. All fraternities have launched Violence Intervention and Prevention members, and every occasion is supposed to be attended by sober screens.

In good religion that these measures are honest and never merely performative, we assist the above initiatives in addition to the introduction of DEI chairs in all Greek organizations and different efforts to make Greek life extra inclusive. So as to promote a safer and extra numerous Greek social scene, we encourage housed fraternities to moreover:

  1. Host open boards to assemble suggestions from the Stanford group about how events may be made safer, and to elucidate present insurance policies that fraternities have round sexual violence prevention and response. These needs to be necessary for members of the fraternity to attend.
  1. Launch transparency stories in regards to the demographic breakdown of pledge lessons — for instance, self-reported race and socioeconomic background statistics. This may enhance accountability and assist Greek organizations establish areas for enchancment. This could apply to all sororities and fraternities.
  1. Accomplice with non-Greek/cultural scholar organizations to host joint occasions that encourage a broader scholar turnout, particularly college students who’re underrepresented in Greek life.

We must also create and preserve social hubs separate from Greek life to diversify the vary of occasions on campus and scale back dependence on fraternities, thereby making a extra sustainable social ecosystem. Along with present discourse round how Stanford can facilitate enjoyable, we advocate for the next adjustments:

  1. Neighborhood councils ought to promote alternatives for college students and dorms/homes to request neighborhood funds, and simplify the method for acquiring funding. There’s particular neighborhood funding for substance-free occasions that’s presently barely requested, however could possibly be used to host live shows, sport nights and different occasions which have been traditionally well-attended. By reducing administrative obstacles to entry funding, a broader vary of occasions may be hosted to cater to completely different pursuits and life.
  1. We assist the current Farm Fridays initiative: a robust begin to internet hosting open, inclusive occasions on the Row. Now that theme homes have been renamed, we hope that they are going to regain a few of their previous identification, facilitating extra campus-wide occasions which have turn out to be uncommon in recent times.
  1. Late Nite at Arrillaga was a extremely widespread vacation spot that supplied college students with a secure and gratifying late-night social atmosphere earlier than 2020, but it surely was discontinued attributable to price range cuts. By restoring this providing, college students would have improved structural entry to a group house for learning and socialization on East Campus.

These options are solely a begin, and may solely type a part of the answer. Finally, it’s our particular person actions that collectively outline our campus tradition. Every of us, as Stanford college students, can select to be open-hearted and spontaneous; to precise ourselves, to be beneficiant to mates and strangers, and to grab small pockets of pleasure and create them for others. Step up in your dorm group. Host a film night time to your mates. Present up. Collectively, we will envision a social life at Stanford the place everyone feels welcome.

The Editorial Board consists of Opinion columnists, editors and members of the Stanford group. Its views characterize the collective views of members of the Editorial Board. It’s separate from Information.

A earlier model of this text incorrectly acknowledged {that a} complete of 47% of undergrad/coterm girls who reported sexual touching/penetration reported it taking place at a fraternity home when the truth is 29% and 18% of undergrad/coterm girls who skilled circumstances of penetration and sexual touching by pressure, respectively, reported assembly their perpetrator at a fraternity home. The Each day regrets this error.