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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Pyle Files: Brandeis needs Greek life

Published: October 19, 2007
Section: Opinions

As a middle school Latin student, I remember thinking that Zeus was a much cooler name than Jupiter.

When Caesar was out of the question, I took my salads with oil, vinegar, feta, and olives. I once argued that Alexander, conqueror of the Persian Empire, should be called Alexander the Greatest. So, yes, you could say I am a fan of Greek life. While I have yet to pledge any Greek organization and have no plans to do so in the immediate future, I recognize the important role they serve. I also understand the decision to not recognize fraternities and sororities, and more recently to not allow the ZBT chapter, which happens to have many Brandeis students as its members, to identify as ZBT Brandeis. Really though, while Brandeis might need Greek life, surely Greek life does not need Brandeis.

Ask a Brandeis student what his major qualm is with life on campus and the majority of the time social life will come up. I can be lectured for weeks about the community service work Greek groups do, but in reality, above all, they provide one thing for the average Brandeis student: a place to party. Put the rotten tomatoes down, I never said that was a bad thing. Often a place to socialize and meet new people is just what this campus needs. Student Events and Student Activities do good work, but many Brandeis students are just looking for something else. There are students on campus who want to go to parties. That much is beyond debate. Are Greek organizations satiating that desire such a bad thing?

Without fraternities and sororities, students would be even less satisfied with the social outlets. Fewer parties would not necessarily mean less drinking, but that more of the drinking would be pre-game style drinking in smaller groups, which is possibly more dangerous than the wide open drinking at a typical Greek party. If we suppose that the number of parties would not decrease, that generous, fun seeking upperclassmen would take up the slack, then a greater percentage of the parties would likely occur on campus. More police visits to campus, more BEMCO trips, more issueskeeping the parties off campus is in the best interest of the administration! Many Brandeis students want to drink, and fraternities and sororities provide a social scene which addresses the students inevitable desire to consume alcohol which is certainly better than any existing alternative.

Clearly, Brandeis needs Greek life. Okay, it has good reasons not to recognize Greek life, but Brandeis needs unrecognized Greek life. That being said, why should Greek life need Brandeis? Why should ZBT want the universitys name in its chapter title? It is said that you should not bite the hand that feeds you. You also should not massage the hand that slaps you in the face. Brandeis has time and time again expressed its desire to not be affiliated whatsoever with these groups. Greek organizations wanting to attach the University to their name despite all of this is like a Brandeis applicant listing on his application all the Ivy League schools he did not get into. The University wont be reversing its decision to not recognize Greek life any time soon. That much is the reality. That being said, isnt being the coolest kids on campus good enough?