Volume 91, Issue 62

Tuesday, January 20, 1998

Little Bo Greek


Baaad Press

It was the story no one wanted to tell. No wonder.

Nothing makes a frat boy squirm more than the prospect of bad press – yet time and again fraternities and the InterFraternity Council find themselves in hot water over something that, inevitably, will tarnish their sacred image and perpetuate negative stereotypes about the greek system.

The latest scandal which was leaked, involving the body of a dead sheep being dumped on the doorstep of the Sigma Pi house, has once again called into question just what type of image these people are trying to project.

The sad part is, whenever something like this happens, fraternity members are always trying to find a way to cover it up – by holding secret meetings, refusing interviews, denying allegations, covering rumours... and the list goes on.

Even when it was known who was at fault, members of Sigma Pi did not follow through with a police investigation where perpetrators should have been charged with anything from cruelty to animals to mischief. Why? Because those at fault were greek too – and the actions of a few members end up reflecting badly on the entire system.

And while the InterFraternity council took steps to reprimand the instigators of this cruel joke, one must wonder just how many other 'pranks' people at Western and in the London community fall victim to at the hands of fraternity members. And how many other things are constantly being covered up?

Granted, steps have been taken in recent years to improve the image of fraternities after constantly being associated with excessive drinking and partying, but all one has to do is visit a few fraternity Web sites to see the same old stereotypes projected.

"Beer, plus Pamela Anderson Lee, equals brotherly love," is the colourful graphic displayed on one of Delta Kappa Epsilon's Web pages – right alongside a few pictures of intoxicated frat boys in the midst of a wild party. Hmmm...no stereotypes there.

Maybe what the IFC should really do is try to attack these problems at their source. First of all, the IFC should look into the initiation practices of all the fraternities and either enforce a code of regulation or highlight practices which are obviously unacceptable so fraternity members will know the consequences they face when they do something out of line.

Secondly, take a look at the way some fraternities present themselves to the rest of the community. If their social events always include alcohol and their Web sites project sexism and perpetuate the notion that membership is just one big party – what type of message do they think they are really sending?

And maybe if fraternity members weren't so secretive about what actually goes on, the good acts the frats do wouldn't be overshadowed by the pranks that continually embarrass their chapters.

To Contact The Editorial Department: gazed@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998