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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Sanctions on UA Greek Life cause more problems than they solve

Thirteen percent of UA students on campus are involved in Greek Life. 

While that number may seem low to some, Greek Life’s presence cannot be ignored when actually walking around the UA. The sorority backpacks, the fraternity T-shirts and tank tops-: It’s a prospering world of its own.

As a member of UA Greek Life, I know firsthand what a house can provide to an individual. 

While some—including my former self—roll their eyes at the mention of a “home away from home” and “lifelong friends,” Greek Life really does set students up with optimal resources for achieving college happiness. 

But what happens when, in search of such college happiness, basic morality and visions of the future become hazy? Pun intended.

Fraternities are a beacon of parties and excitement on college campuses. They provide everything a college girl could ask for: alcohol, boys and something to talk about with friends in the morning. However, hazing and disorderly conduct go unmentioned during those gab-sessions over grande lattes.

It only takes a few seconds to Google the houses on campus and see what kinds of sanctions they’re currently under and why. 

These sanctions are penalties greek houses face when they break the rules listed in UA policy and codes of conduct. Though the language in these documents can be vague, most likely to prevent freshman boys’ mothers from having aneurisms, the message is clear: Their various monetary fines for “hazing” and “alcohol” are listed numerous times. 

The listings show that there are currently eight UA fraternities that are under “loss of recognition,” meaning that by the technical definition, they are not UA fraternities at all. However, their former members don’t just disappear after the first conduct violation. Instead, off-campus parties and more secretive modes of party-going are employed, creating a rebellious—and oftentimes more appealing—nature to a house under “loss of recognition.” The school’s recognition might have an effect as far as funding and on-campus access goes, but the basics of party life essentially go unscathed. 

Girls patiently await the month until recognition can be granted and shirts representing the houses are still worn with pride throughout campus.

If a house has not quite completely disregarded the rules, however, and only breached a few clauses in the code of conduct, it gets put under a variety of different sanctions. 

Some of these include the aforementioned monetary fines, while others might include prohibition of holding certain events or more public displays of distancing the university from the house. These houses get the most attention as they are still allowed to host certain functions and keep their charters and houses, usually easily accessible on campus; little can be done to shut them down forever.

This gray area created by the sanctions is dangerous. The mysterious, rebellious vibe that is created when a house is kicked off campus is even stronger when the house is under judicial trouble. 

Parties are still thrown when the sanctions are removed. There is no right or wrong way to discipline, as long as the rules are clear and the judicial board is fair. The system of sanctions hardly seems effective. 

If real change and real accountability are to exist at UA, houses must either be more severely punished or more properly educated about the severity of their actions. 

Most importantly, women attending events promoted by these houses should educate themselves about the nature of each individual chapter and consider whether they want to promote the disrespectful and harmful nature of some houses. 

It’s a serious problem, but it’s on us, as college females, to remain vigilant, educated and aware.

Follow Stephanie Shaw on Twitter

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