When I was in grad school, I was a grad assistant for a wellness program on campus. We did a number of events but by far our most popular events were alcohol education events, so I have a bit of an interest in this. I have recently noticed a number of universities suspending Greek organizations on the basis of alcohol related deaths or sexual assault allegations. While I am someone who admittedly has some biases against Greek orgs, I have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Even at universities where Greek life isn’t big, there are still alcohol related deaths and sexual assault. It’s not just about punishing the Greek organizations. It’s about taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture. Getting wasted and drinking games that promote binge drinking are popular on college campus. So popular that it is almost expected of college students to go out and get wasted. And when you are drunk, your decision making skills are impaired as well as the fact that in most states, you are not legally able to give consent if you are intoxicated.
What needs to change isn’t that more frats and sororities need to be punished and suspended. What needs to change are the cultures of college campuses. Which, someone who studied org change in grad school, is not an easy feat at all. However, colleges are a unique setting, because unlike a typical organization that retains staff members for years, decades, and even longer…a new college class comes in every year and in 4-6 years ish, that class is gone and moved on. We need to start with incoming students and start working on changing the culture of universities. Right now, we have universities that have parties going on where students are soaking tampons in alcohol to get drunk. Students are playing binge drinking games to get hammered because it’s the “cool” thing to do. How is any of this an accepted behavior? We throw phrases around like, “there is a time and place for everything and that is in college” and while that is true for some things, there is never a time and place to soak a tampon in vodka and insert it into your body just to get more drunk.