Many of you know that I was a leader in my college fraternity and I continue to be a volunteer for my fraternity as an alumnus. As such, I’m hooked in to a few different mailing lists that help to spread the good (and bad) word about the fraternity scene. This morning a news story came in that annoyed me.
Without naming the fraternity (because since this is now a national story I’m sure those kids are dealing with enough crap), a Greek chapter based out of the University of Utah did a pretty unintelligent thing last fall. As The Salt Lake Tribune states:
Chapter leadership wanted [the pledges] to do something fun together to build lasting bonds of brotherhood. Instead, according to neighbors, they marched naked across Butler Avenue and up an alley to the Chi Omega sorority, where they serenaded the sisters with loud hoots and taunts.
Neighbors were not amused. Todd Jenson was inside his Butler Avenue home when the sound of hollering drew him out.
“I saw a group of fully nude young men who had surrounded a young woman sorority member who had the unfortunate luck of being outside when they marched,” Jenson says.
Come on, guys. How much alcohol did it take for someone to think that this was a good idea? First of all, does that type of shit really fly out there in the far west? I couldn’t imagine a group of guys sauntering around any college neighborhood in New Jersey in nothing but their bare asses for “fun,” much less to build lasting bonds of brotherhood. Frankly, it sounds like a five minute scene in one of those direct-to-DVD movies more than anything else.
The rest of the article goes on and on with some interesting discussion on how Greek Life is progressing at the University of Utah. You can click the link to read it, but I only wanted to point out this act because it’s so stupid. There are any number of things that a group of pledges or the larger chapter can do to “build brotherhood” (which is really nothing more than bonding with your buddies). Go camping, go fishing, build something, go to the bar, go to an NFL game, go the racetrack (favorite of mine) – basically you can do any of the traditional “guy” things and get a better outcome than hooting and hollering around the neighborhood with your ass hanging out.
As an alumni advisor to my fraternity, whenever I hear about something like this I always wonder what the deal is in terms of the advisors for these groups. Is there a chapter-based advisor who has been out of school for a little bit and thus can provide some perspective? What about a regional volunteer and traveling consultants for the national office? Those are the questions that pop into my mind.
I should point out though, that while this story is annoying I’ve had much worse stories pop into my inbox. Something about this one just rubbed me the wrong way. This fraternity – and the fraternity movement as a whole – has to do better than this…