Racism, inequality, xenophobia, classism, and other flaws of our culture that we fight against and condemn are rooted in the systems that we exist in. Our systems of higher education, policing, the justice system, and other prominent parts of our society and government that help it to function were never meant to include a significant part of the population today. These rights were reserved for those that looked and lived a certain way. Though 2020 has been quite chaotic, having been disillusioned from the American propaganda that everything in this country is right and just, Americans are now coming to terms with the fact that the United States is far from perfect. There are significant changes that need to be made because the systems in place now did not consider BIPOC, members of the LGBTQ+ community, or even people of different faiths or cultures as “equal”.
Greek life is another system that is dated and rooted in highly problematic values and beliefs that uplift select groups of people while bringing down and excluding others. The Greek system dates back to the fruition of higher education in the United States and the formation of exclusive societies that institutionalized underground social subcultures and cliques. Keep in mind, these societies were founded by and for wealthy white males as more women began entering into academic institutions. Though there are no doubt positive aspects of these societies that allow for further scholarship, community service, and even leadership, these advantages historically and even today are veiled by exclusivity and eccentricity.
“Greek life is not a broken system; it’s exclusive because it was built to be exclusive”: these are the words of a student at the University of Washington who boldly called out the entire concept of Greek life. She witnessed its flaws and inability to adapt to changing ideas of equality and acceptance first hand. Sahiba Gill a student at the University of Southern California similarly criticized these social structures for their elitist methods of exclusion through means of financial self-segregation and discreet cultural and social standards to “evaluate” potential members. They have also become breeding grounds for seriously harmful concerns like sexual assault, racism, and other notable offenses. Students know all too well that the “enjoyable” parts of social Greek life like partying, celebratory traditions, and community come at a cost that is typically hidden under the facade of popularity, social events, and parties. Eradicating the Greek system would open up a significant portion of student housing and create more space for underrepresented groups BIPOC, financially struggling students, and other groups that suffer at the hands of these exclusive institutions.
Without a doubt, there are people that completely disagree with this stance because they have had amazing and enjoyable experiences with the Greek system, but it is inherently exclusive and wrong. Even colleges are indebted to the Greek system for its economic benefits and maintenance of “social networks” and politics. As long as the Greek life exists, its historical legacy of sexism, racism, and elitism will persist, subjugating more voices, communities, and students across the United States on college campuses.