A few days ago, Bloomsburg University sent out a campus email message announcing that it will no longer recognize its campus Greek organizations.
The message was short and sweet:
Effective immediately, Bloomsburg University is terminating its fraternity and sorority life and severing ties with all national and local FSL organizations currently affiliated with the University.
Bloomsburg is not the only university to lose patience with its fraternities and sororities. Earlier this year, the University of Miami suspended three fraternities and permanently removed another for allegedly hosting large parties in violation of the University's COVID rules.
But it is fraternity hazing that has frustrated college administrators more than any other issue. Hazing is illegal in all fifty states, but college Greek organizations continue hazing their pledges.
From time to time, pledges have died from abusive hazing--usually from alcohol poisoning or injuries suffered while inebriated.
In fact, Justin King, an 18-year-old student at Bloomsburg University, died in 2019 when he fell off a 75-foot embankment after attending a fraternity rush party. His mother is suing her son's fraternity for recklessly serving him "life-threatening amounts of alcohol." And Bloomsburg University kicked the fraternity off its campus.
So, if you are an undergraduate male at an American university, do you want to join a fraternity?
Maybe the answer is yes. Perhaps your father and grandfather belonged to a particular fraternity, and you want to carry on the family tradition. Perhaps your friends are joining a fraternity, or you think being a frat boy will help you meet girls.
So go ahead and join a fraternity. But if you do, please heed two pieces of advice:
First, do not participate in hazing, either as a pledge or a fraternity member. Hazing is a crime in most states, and you could go to jail. And if a pledge dies because you poured grain alcohol down his throat, his family will probably sue you for wrongful death.
Second, don't engage in casual sex at a fraternity party if your sex partner is inebriated. You may think drunken sex is fun, but universities have been charging male students with sexual misconduct because they had sex with female students who were incapacitated by alcohol.
Of course, not all drunken sex occurs at fraternity parties, but Greek social events often involve excessive drinking followed by casual sexual encounters. You don't want to be kicked out of college because you had sex with an inebriated partner.
I know men who were in fraternities during their college years, and many say they formed valuable lifelong friendships with their fraternity brothers.
But I also know men who fell into a pattern of alcohol abuse after boozing their way through college with their frat pals. And some of them picked up the nasty habit of using alcohol to prey on vulnerable young women.
If you are thinking of joining a fraternity, I urge you to watch Animal House, that classic 1970s movie about life in a college fraternity. You may think the film is a lot of laughs, and it is. But in real life, the characters in that movie would go to prison for some of their fraternity antics. And that would not be funny.
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