Gender and diversity courses should be mandatory for fraternity and sorority life students

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Photo Courtesy of Cameron Hubbard

Bayley Bogus

According to the National Institute for Justice, fraternity men are three times more likely to commit rape than non-Greek peers. Fraternity houses have been described as “dangerous places for women” again and again by academic journals. Additionally, sorority membership nationwide is considered to be a risk factor for young women, as 25 percent of sexual assault survivors surveyed were women involved in sorority life.

Statistics do not lie unless they take place on a college campus, where sexual assault numbers are heavily skewed in the university’s favor. Coincidentally, Texas State’s statistics regarding sexual assault on campus are quite low. However, in a speech to a Texas State class, Title IX coordinator Ameerah McBride said Texas State falls into a “red zone” at the beginning of every fall semester; there is a high probability sexual assault will occur in this time period.

To add on to such contradictory information, McBride said there were roughly 270 reported sexual assaults from Texas State students during the 2017-18 academic year that resulted in suspension, expulsion or deferred suspension.

Rarely do Texas State students, faculty or staff hear about said reports or charges. So, given the more likely chance a fraternity member will commit the act of rape, readers can infer where a lot of sexual assault reports may stem from.

Additionally, it is no secret members of predominantly Panhellenic fraternities or sororities repeatedly face trouble for discrimination and racism. From the women in Alpha Delta Pi who culturally appropriated traditional Native American and Mexican dress to a Texas State-affiliated Twitter account titled “IFC” posting a photo of a man hanging and using racist slurs against African-American people, Texas State is no stranger to bigotry.

The sad thing is the countless examples of this abhorrent behavior by students involved with Greek life. To make matters worse, if possible, this is an obvious and blunt nationwide issue among fraternity and sorority members. Men associated with The University of Georgia’s Tau Kappa Epsilon chapter were recently suspended and dropped from the fraternity after a “pick my cotton” video hit the web, with similar occurrences taking place at Syracuse.

Racism amongst Greek life is nothing new. In fact, yearbook pictures taken in the 1970-80s from Cornell University emerged showing fraternity members wearing blackface, Ku Klux Klan attire and mocking lynchings.

This rampant discrimination has been occurring for too long with little to no consequences for those who take part in discriminatory actions, concluding the wrong-doers think they have done no wrong.

This is where a university’s jurisdiction should interfere: any individual who seeks to rush a Panhellenic fraternity or sorority, as well as current members, should be required to take gender and diversity courses upon becoming involved with Greek life or continuing with it. This mandate would solely apply to organizations registered with the school.

Topics regarding bias, discrimination and prejudice may be brought up during University Seminar, but are sloppily done and insufficient; they are not working nor do they get the message successfully across. Schools need well-put-together classes taught by trained professionals in the subjects of women’s studies, sexual assault matters and racial discrimination. Texas State should start utilizing student funds in a wholesome way in an attempt to make the university safer and friendlier.

While mandatory courses may not completely work, they will, at the very least, put ideas in students’ heads that rape is not a part of a man’s biology and is not natural; cultural appropriation is not okay; candid racism is no longer considered cool and it is acceptable to be something other than a white, upper and middle-class man or woman.

If students find attending courses revolving around women’s issues or topics over racism problematic, this shows they believe sexual assault is valid as well as racism and discrimination is not a big deal.

– Bayley Bogus is a journalism senior

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