Penn State students want to ban frats
… these have failed previously, so some are skeptical about success
I have written on my old blog about a conversation that I had with a young woman who had been a reporter and anchor for a Philadelphia television station. She told me about how two Penn State players had raped her best friend back in the 1970s — and nothing ever happened to them.
Today, at Penn State and around the country, women are protesting against sexual violence on campuses, and their major target are fraternities.
The intensity of their anger makes this a little different than in previous attacks on the Greek system, which overall have failed.
Will they win?
The wave of protests against fraternities and sexual violence has been on the East Coast, but also throughout other areas of the country,
From Northwestern University and the University of Iowa to Syracuse University and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, a growing number of students say they believe that fraternity culture can’t be fixed.
In recent weeks, students have been protesting a wave of reported sexual assaults, many of them in fraternity houses. Students say they are tired of what they describe as years of institutional inaction, when colleges have turned a blind eye to the abuse that they say happens in predominantly white fraternities. They’re tired of watching the organizations, as they see it, get away with harming women.
Some of them want to get rid of certain fraternities — or all of them — for good. “Greek life is violence,” said one protesting student’s sign at Northwestern. “Greek life supports rape culture,” said another, at the University of Kansas.
Sarah Brown, “The Fraternity Dilemma: Would abolishing frats actually reduce sexual violence?” Chronicle of Higher Education, October 6, 2021
Penn State protests
Last week, students at Penn State demonstrated against “sexist violence” on the campus and challenge the university to become serious bout the problem,
Students Against Sexist Violence at Penn State organized a protest against “Penn State’s policy of intentionally disregarding the safety of women and enabling rape on campus” Friday.
The “Untimely Warning” rally and protest began at the Allen Street Gates and ended at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house.
Student Julia Furst, who was present at the event, said she feels tired of receiving the Timely Warning notifications.
“At some point, it has to come to an end, and I know there are a lot of people on Penn State’s campuses who feel the same way, but enough is enough,” Furst said.
Furst (sophomore-industrial engineering) said she believes the culture at Penn State may have to change in order to foster a safe space for all people.
“[Penn State is] such a big campus, and we can inspire so much change in Pennsylvania and for public universities across the country, so why shouldn’t we be at the forefront of this?” Furst said.
Paul Sabini, “ ‘Untimely Warning’ protest hosted by Students Against Sexist Violence calls for change at Penn State,” The Daily Collegian, October 3, 2021
Will this be much ado about nothing?
The problem is that the protests against fraternities have emerged previously, but nothing has resulted from them,
Sometimes it feels like higher ed is having the same conversations over and over again about hazing, sexual misconduct, and racism in Greek life.
“Today people are asking whether fraternities have fallen out of step with the times,” The Chronicle reported in 2015. “A string of ugly incidents has reinforced the image of entitled white men egging each other on to behave badly: chanting racist songs, sharing pictures of incapacitated women, hazing their pledges.” The headline was, “Do Fraternities Have a Place on the Modern Campus?”
Six years later, the vast majority of fraternities are still right where they were.
Recent attention on fraternity problems has tended to be cyclical. After a student dies at a fraternity event or concerns spike about sexual assault or racist incidents, the college’s leaders promise to take swift action. An investigation ensues, and the offending fraternity is banned — sometimes for good, sometimes for a few years.
Criminal convictions and prison sentences are extremely rare. Even in the most horrific cases, a few students might face low-level criminal charges. Usually, no one is punished at all. After a year or two, the focus on fraternities fades.
Sarah Brown, “Anti-fraternity protests are sweeping campuses. This is
how we got here,” Chronicle of Higher Education, October 1, 2021
Penn State has tried to clamp down on frats
After the death of student Timothy Piazza as a result of a hazing ritual a few years ago, Penn State has tried to force fraternities to clean up their games, even closing some frats.
However, despite some violence has still occurred at the frat events,
“I think given all that happened last year, that aspect of fraternities is still fresh in people’s minds, and the idea certainly is worth merit,” Shields said.
On Dec. 3, 2020, the State College Police Department reported the identification of seven men who allegedly brought an intoxicated woman out from the suspended Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity and left her on the sidewalk.
According to a press release, the men were observed bringing the woman from the former fraternity house — located at 329 E. Prospect Ave. — and placing her on the sidewalk of a property adjacent to the prior location at an unspecified time.
Even though the press release did not specify a time when the incident occurred, Penn State described a similar incident occurring during 2020 Halloween weekend in a letter sent to students about the suspended fraternity on Nov. 6, 2020.
Paul Sabini, The Daily Collegian, October 3, 2021
Whether or not this changes matters is a question for the future and with the acceptance of people on the US Supreme Court like Brett Kavanaugh, things do not look good.
Men do not like to accept the fact that many rapists exist within our ranks.