A lot of news on the potential inclusion of Greek life at SOU has been buzzing around the proposed fraternity Kappa Sigma. But a sorority is also in the running to join the University.
Currently a group of young Raiderettes are attempting to bring the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority to SOU but at the moment this is subject to change. A sorority is not allowed to declare itself on campus until officially recognized by the University, which SOU has not yet done. So another sorority may be able to swoop in and take over Alpha Omicron Pi’s spot if recognized by the school.
“I believe (sororities) can offer a social aspect is very hard to find here at SOU,” said SOU freshman and sorority sister hopeful Christine Newman, “I think it would benefit SOU very well in the social realm because it is very difficult to make friends here. Also fundraising and community service can only improve the sou campus as well.”
Sororities do offer an opportunity for young women to socialize with one another, conduce feelings of school spirit and participate in philanthropy. These benefits aside, the many concerns opposition members have to Greek life at SOU have seemingly been unaddressed by the Greek leadership. One of the most prevalent of these being the heightened risk of sexual assault.
A study in 2014 by the University of Oregon found that women who are affiliated with greek life are twice as likely to have non consensual sexual contact with a person than those who are not.
“I think the expectation within Greek life of attending parties and social gatherings is very high. So that kind of atmosphere does lead sexual assault especially when alcohol and drugs are present which they are probably going to be present at these parties,” said Women’s Resource Center Staffer, Erica Lautrup.
Grandmaster of the proposed fraternity Kappa Sigma Michael Archer, adamantly claims that the introduction of Greek life on campus will not change the current rates of sexual assault at SOU in any way shape or form. Archer further claims that rape and sexual assault are unavoidable at any university, regardless of the presence of Greek life. Newman agreed and continued saying “girls have a voice as well, a yes and a no it’s not just the fraternities, and people don’t join (Greek life) because they want to rape.”
These comments claiming that the rates of sexual assault at SOU will not change have yet to be backed up with a solid claim as to why. They also seem to follow trends of dismissing issues as inevitable, and thus unpreventable. When Florida International University suspended the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity in 2013 for posting naked photos of sorority sisters with offensive captions, one sorority sister was quoted as saying “well who hasn’t been called a slut before, (via Washington post).”
Tony Suverkropp, a Kappa Sigma supporter, proposed that fraternity members watch educational videos and participate in seminars in order to inform and prevent sexual assaults from occurring on campus. Citing a study from Tulane University showing that when fraternities attend seminars such as these campus wide sexual assault rates do decrease. Suverkropp also claims Kappa Sigma members are willing to work with APD on programs to prevent binge drinking among students.
“Girls in sororities are at a higher risk of abnormal or disordered eating than girls outside of a sorority. Which is very important to know because we live in a very eurocentric and very thin Centric culture. Having a body on campus that fuels that is not good for female identified students,” said Lautrup touching on another concern about sorority life. A journal by the Psychology of Women Quarterly finds that young women who are members of a sorority have an increased likelihood of developing disordered eating habits and body image issues than those who are not.
“I think it is important for girls to be comfortable in their own bodies,” said Newman when asked if this trend would be different at SOU, “(At SOU) We are very open and including of everyone be it size weight gender whatever, having a sorority on campus would not increase eating disorders. I don’t think we would make girls feel like they would have to fit a certain body type.”
Currently Greek life is legally allowed to have gender exclusive organizations, even at SOU. Right now it is up to the University to decide if the very inclusion of Greek life on campus will affect its image as being an inclusive accepting, and progressive University.
Published May 5, 2016. The Siskiyou.