Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Historic Moment in Greek Life


On November 7, 2009 the Brothers of Phi Iota Alpha, Lambda Alpha Upsilon, Lambda Theta Phi, Lambda Sigma Upsilon, Lambda Upsilon Lambda and Sigma Lambda Beta came together for a Solidarity Summit in Albany, New York on the campus of the University of Albany.

Through the efforts of the National Offices of these fraternities over 200 young men decided that an end must come to competitive rivalries that could lead to unproductive actions and this could not and would not be tolerated.

While this historic moment was not meant to be exclusionary in any way.  These dedicated individuals were not mandated, nor were their actions driven by a governing body.  It was the dedication to brotherhood, commitment to unity and an oath of cohesive tenacity that will some day lead to participation of other men, regions, organizations and maybe even one day other culturally based groups.

I was humbled and honored to have been a part of this experience as these young men engaged in dialogue that reminded me why our organizations are important, our presence is needed, and our pillars are true…scholarship, unity, service and academic excellence is the foundation of all of our organizations, these young men not only role modeled these values, they dedicated themselves to improve upon them.

Again, while this event never meant to exclude, I think it has set the precedent for many others in the Greek community, traditional, cultural, men or women, whatever may separates us…for at least one day, to say that even though our colors highlight who we are, the letters are a bond that will last forever.

Submitted by Robert Page, Founder NBGLC

Monday, November 23, 2009

Stop Putting Stupid Crap On Your T-Shirts

I believe in the freedom of speech.

It's a first amendment right guaranteed by the constitution of the United States.

Therefore, I believe fraternities and sororities should be able to put whatever they want on their own t-shirts.

But when you put whatever you want on your fraternity or sorority t-shirt and then complain about your negative media image, you insult my intelligence (and everyone else's). It's laughable just how much of a complete hypocrite you are.

I know it might sound like a good idea in your chapter meeting to do that hilarious t-shirt idea that "somebody" just thought of - but it isn't. Trust me.

I've been tracking stupid fraternity and sorority t-shirts for some time now. Here are a few actual shirts from actual chapters (and these are some of the less harsh ones):
  • Party like Rockstars. Pound like Pornstars. Play like All-Stars. (fraternity)
  • The Hardware Party: Get nailed, hammered, and screwed. (sorority)
  • Hey little ladies, get ready for your mustache ride. (fraternity)
  • When we go down, we don't come up until the job is done. (sorority)
I'll let you put whatever you want on your t-shirts as long as you NEVER, EVER complain to me or anyone else about your negative media image.

To be crystal clear, that means you can never say things like...
  • "The media is always negative"
  • "The paper is out to get us"
  • "They only publish the bad things"
  • "The paper is anti-Greek"
...ever again. Never.

Stop putting stupid crap on your t-shirts. Now.

P.S. - How many people outside of the Greek community know the Greek alphabet? Then how do I know that horrible t-shirt isn't from your fraternity or sorority? (Newsflash: This is the rationale for why your Greek community should have a policy against stupid t-shirts)

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Drugs Found in Fraternity

Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity has been expelled from San Diego State.

The fraternity had been placed on interim suspension pending the outcome of the hearing after the SDSU Police Department searched a nearby house and yielded a large quantity of illegal drugs and implicated Sigma Alpha Mu members in drug sales. The fraternity was required to cease all activities and maintain all chapter-related facilities alcohol and drug-free during the interim suspension. Still, on June 10, another police search of an apartment in the Sigma Alpha Mu section of Fraternity Row found illegal drugs and evidence of drug sales.

[An SDSU Spokesperson] added that the two recent incidents were not the first for the fraternity. In fact, he said that the fraternity has a history of policy violations for more than a year. Another of its violations is serving alcohol to minors. Additionally, during Operation Sudden Fall, the campus drug bust in the spring of 2008, the university placed Sigma Alpha Mu on interim suspension and later lifted it.

[The current chapter] president of Sigma Alpha Mu said that the university’s decision was unexpected: “It’s shocking. It’s like you’ve been devoted to something for so long and then it’s gone”… “It’s like losing a big part of your life; and then, afterwards, you’re wondering what you’re going to be doing next.”

[The chapter president] said the decision was fair, but he believes the punishment was too harsh. The expulsion revokes recognition of the fraternity on campus as an organization for at least four years.

[The chapter president] said that it seems like the Greek community is continually blamed for wrongdoings. “It’s not just the Greeks; (drugs are) everywhere,” He said. “I hate to say this, but it’s college.”

What’s really best about this article are the comments that follow it online.

One commenter called ‘Proud to be a Sammy’ stated: “Sammys has [sic] done countless work for sdsu [sic]and this is how we get repaid. they [sic] never even mention the specifics because they know the evidence is so rediculously [sic] small to expell [sic] a chapter from campus. Its [sic] such a joke that because they are so sad that playboy [sic]rated them the 3rd best party school they have to highly publicize a stupid incident to make it look like they are regulating and all the students would tell you they are just hurting the situation, not changing anything, killing the greek system, and negatively affecting the lives of many.”

Mr. Proud, you spelled a few things wrong in your rebuttal, otherwise, you are TOTALLY right (sense the sarcasm?)! SDSU is totally just trying to pull itself from the trenches after that dang Playboy ranking. I mean, those rankings are really important and expelling a chapter (even though it’s for NO reason… obviously) is going to make everything better.

Isn’t it funny (if by ‘funny’ you mean ‘too bad’) when people completely miss the point?

After doing a little more digging, it turns out that the drugs found were specifically approximately two pounds of marijuana.

One commenter stated “go through your damn dorms and I'm sure you'll gather MUCH MORE than a stupid 2 pounds worth of pot”. Okay, we get it… on the scale of harmfulness we can all agree that marijuana is less harmful than other drugs, like heroin. But ‘two stupid pounds of pot’? This writer clearly has no clue about the basics on marijuana. Two pounds of marijuana is 32 ounces. Considering most smokers buy weed by the eighth of quarter of an ounce, that’s enough weed for at least 200 people’s personal use. This is not a stupid and meaningless amount, it’s enough to fill up a regular sized school backpack – and you’d really have to shove it in there. Furthermore, considering that an ounce of pot sells for somewhere between $300 and $400, two pounds is more than 11 THOUSAND dollars of merchandise. We don’t think it’s that farfetched to say that if you collected all of the weed from the all of the pockets on all of the people at Woodstock, you still might not have two pounds of pot.

Not to be a jerk, but any person with basic math skills and social awareness knows that nobody EVER has two pounds of pot around unless they are selling it. I mean, we hate to say this, but it's obvious.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Anti-Hazing...There Should Be An App For That

A good friend of mine, Dr. Martin Neumann (and member of Sigma Phi Delta), happened to be on a campus recently and called me. He said, "Hey, I'm standing outside of a sorority chapter house right now and they're hazing their new members. They're all dressed in white, lined up two by two outside of the house, and the seniors are yelling at them."

I said, "Absolutely that's hazing. There is nothing in that sorority's official documents or ritual that would have them line their new members up, outside of the house, and yell at them. You should call the Greek Advisor." At which point he did.

A few days later, we were talking about it again and we both thought he should have taken a picture of it. This got me thinking...

While I totally support hazing hotlines, we need to develop a new 21st century strategy for combating hazing.

We need to create a way in which people can take a picture or capture a video of hazing or inappropriate behavior occurring right there on their cell phones, and let them send it in anonymously to a national organization like Hazing, F.I.P.G., the headquarters, or fraternity/sorority affairs office. We need an app for that.

What stops a campus or headquarters moving forward with an alleged violation? Evidence and proof that it was occurring.

We need to create a way that anyone - and I mean anyone - anyone in the chapter, anyone in the Greek community, and anyone outside of the chapter (including non-affiliated folks), to take pictures and capture videos that can be anonymously submitted to any Greek Life Office or inter/national headquarters. Imagine, it's like planting hundreds of little, small, hazing detection devices in and around the fraternity/sorority community. The best part? They're already there and it doesn't cost us any more money.

It's already happening. It's already popular and integrated through iReporting on CNN and other news networks in their coverage. You take a picture, video, send it to CNN, and often times it is instantly broadcast on the network. We also saw a version of this when the news agencies were covering the war in Iraq with "embedded" reporters. We need the same thing to report hazing.

We need posters and emails with how to submit pictures and videos placed in all chapter houses.

Councils could sponsor street signs posted near fraternity/sorority row like neighborhood watch signs.

If a fraternity/sorority headquarters or Greek Life Office was really committed to eliminating hazing, they would specifically target all of the neighbors who live right next door to chapters and say, "Hey, if you see or hear anything suspicious, please take a photo or video on your camera and send it in anonymously to us."

We need to make it so easy, it's effortless. We need to utilize the technology that virtually everyone already has. We need an app for that.

The other aspect is the deterrent factor. For every one hazing incident captured, how many will be prevented because in the back of the members heads, they’ll remember that there is the possibility of being caught? We have security cameras on campuses, security cameras on sidewalks/highways, why don’t we have hazing security cameras?

I believe we already do.

I can see the tagline on the anti-hazing posters and flyers, "You have the power to stop hazing right your hands."

***11.18.09 Update: Now YouTube has an app for that!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Frat boy or Fraternity man?

These days, it seems like "frat" is used in a negative context almost everywhere we turn. Recently, I've heard these phrases on TV, in airplane conversations, and played out public. Every time I see or hear "frat" or "frat boy" or "frat house" used in a negative context, I get a little bit worked up. Depending on the situation, this sometimes freaks people who are with me or around me out a bit. I am totally OK with this.

A few weeks ago, I was on a plane headed home after a long weekend away. It was a fun flight, people were in a good mood, and I even shared some small talk with my seatmate. (I am usually a VERY anti-social flier...) The young man across the aisle from me was swapping stories about his weekend fun with his seatmate. I didn't eavesdrop on their whole conversation, but when I heard, "It was like a great frat party. My liver might not recover." I cringed a bit. Their conversation continued on, with several more negative references to fraternity life. When I had the chance, I jumped in, and asked if either of them were fraternity men. The young man with the potentially failing liver said he "was in a frat" when he was in college. More cringing. I explained what I do for a living and he looked at me like I had two heads. I didn't ask where he went to college, because I didn't want to know the answer. This young man (and presumably, most of his brothers) missed out on a lifetime of opportunity because they were members of a drinking club and not a values-based fraternity living out their ritual in daily life.

Fast forward a week or so. I had the chance to cheer on my favorite college football team when they played an institution not far from my new home. It was a late morning game on Halloween, and the culmination of Homecoming week for the host institution. I arrived on campus about an hour before the game, and headed toward the stadium with my friends. As we neared the gates, we passed a group of young men dressed in "togas" (they looked more like diapers to me, but I digress...) acting rowdy and openly sharing swigs from several large bottles of liquor. Their drunken babble could be heard over the voices of the hundreds of fans passing by on their way into the stadium. Because they were basically wearing diapers, their fraternity letter tattoos were on display for those who passed by to see. The middle aged woman in front of me commented to her husband that she was glad their son had decided not to join a frat. I can't blame her after that display. Seriously? It was roughly 10:45 in the morning. That behavior is not appropriate at any time, but was further magnified by the bright sunlight and relative sobriety of everyone else around these boys. I commented to my friends that at least these young men were providing me with some job security. You might wonder why I didn't stop and confront them (I wondered too) but I realized that they were so far gone that the scene that was sure to follow wouldn't be worth my time, and would draw even more attention to their drunken display. Somewhere, the founders of this organization are rolling over in their graves.

These are two perfect examples of why "frat", "frat boy", "frat house", etc will continue to be used in a negative way. Because we allow it. We allow our members to tattoo our letters on their arm and act ridiculous in front of hundreds of people. We allow our members to join a drinking club, and never hold them accountable for anything other than throwing a great party. We allow young men (and young women) to join organizations, go to great parties for four (or five) years, and then graduate without ever being able to articulate the values of their organization. We live up to the stereotypes that we like to complain about. We need to start expecting nothing short of "fraternity man" or "sorority woman". And it can't just be some of us. It needs to be all of us. The women are just as responsible. Until then, the rest of the world will just see us as frat boys living in frat houses. It doesn't matter how great your service project was, or how much money you raised for your philanthropy. Respecting your organization, your ritual, and your values matter. Don't do things to get noticed, do them because they are the right thing to do.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Risk Management for Dummies

(this post is brought to you by Scott Clark, Coordinator of Greek Life, University of Missouri)

We like it.

Risk Management for Dummies:

The Checklist – The New Policy

• You can drink every night of the week, of age or not, with the intent to get blackout drunk.
Disclaimer: By agreeing to this bullet, you cannot hold anyone accountable for any injuries, hospital visits or death claims in the event you do not wake up from one of your nights out. 

• You may haze every member, new or active, in the hopes of creating a unified force that stimulates stronger brotherhood/sisterhood.

Disclaimer: By agreeing to this bullet, you agree that you cannot use any excuse that would put blame on any member, new or old, for your actions in the court of law. Furthermore, you cannot file a lawsuit or ask for money if you are found guilty in the court of law and sent to jail for your actions. You also agree to demonstrate your hazing activities to your family, friends, and the victims family and friends as well. 

• You are more than happy to degrade members of your organization as well as members of other organizations. It will boost your self-worth.
Disclaimer: By agreeing to this bullet, you agree to showcase your actions to your friends, parents, alumni, and national headquarters. Heck, showcase it to the media and news outlets. 

• You are more than welcome to get shitfaced at philanthropies and service events. Why not serve yourself first before you give back to the community?

Disclaimer: By agreeing to this bullet, you acknowledge that philanthropic endeavors are worthless and that helping others is a waste of time. 

• Go to class only when you feel necessary. Academics are only a small portion of your collegiate experience.
Disclaimer: By agreeing to this bullet, you agree not to hold your friends, fraternity/sorority brothers, alumni, University administrators (faculty or staff), significant others, etc. accountable for your poor academic performance. 

• In your chapter, don’t worry about others, worry about yourself. It is your experience that is important.
Disclaimer: By agreeing to this bullet, you agree that you are more important than your pledge class, the chapter, and the national organization. 

• When throwing parties, don’t have any rules. Anything goes at your events. No lists, no security, no laws to follow…you are invincible. 

Disclaimer: By agreeing to this bullet, you agree to be held accountable for any policies broken, you agree to be arrested, you agree to be sued, you agree to go to jail, you agree to go to a funeral in the event of a victim’s death, you agree to speak to the media, you agree to inform news outlets of your “no rules” policy. Finally, you agree to not hold anyone else accountable except for yourself.

This policy was created to provide you as a student with what you wanted. If you agree with these bullet points & disclaimers, please sign below. 




*Disclaimer: This is not a real policy. This is for idiots.