After reading about recent debates at the University of Virginia about rules intended to keep sorority sisters safeKelly Elder, a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority at North Carolina State University, in Raleigh, was struck by how chapter rules were playing out on her campus.
Elder, a junior political-science major, a student-government senator, and a member of the university honors program, wrote this lightly edited piece. Those are her words in the headline.
On Monday evening, my sorority chapter voted on whether or not to place a woman who snuck a boy into her room in the middle of the day on social probation. As I listened to my sorority sisters debate whether or not to take away her social privileges, I started to seethe with anger.
Most, if not all, parties are held at fraternity houses as opposed to sorority houses. Quintessential films such as Animal House and Old School depict such parties, which leave fraternity men only a hop, skip and a jump away from their own rooms, where they can bring in members of the opposite sex without any restrictions. Meanwhile, most sorority women do have these restrictions, which means girls with long-distance relationships or local boyfriends have to leave the sorority house in order to hang out with them, unless of course the couple would like to sit in the one public area in the house in which people are constantly exiting and entering, hardly offering the type of romantic atmosphere a couple struggling over long distance requires.
I prefer not to blindly accept rules without knowing the reason for their existence, so I found myself asking the purpose for this rule. I was told the reason we still have the rule was because in January ofTed Bundy walked into a Chi Omega house at Florida State University through a door with a faulty lock, ending the lives of two women.
Out of respect to the sisters of Chi Omega, sorority leaders kept in place the rule that men were only allowed in the public area of the chapter facility, officially banning men from the bedrooms. I understand the emotional reaction one would have to ensure such a tragedy never happens again.
However, there is flawed logic in this reactionary measure.
And the logic is flawed because women have been sexually assaulted in fraternity bedrooms countless times. I am not arguing that fraternity men are sexually assaulting every woman that walks into their house. However, sexual assault is very prevalent, and fraternities have recently been in the spotlight for this subject. So why are men still allowed to have women in their bedrooms? My sorority sister who snuck the boy into her bedroom simply wanted to talk to her friend who happened to be a male.
She was having a bad day, feeling quite down, and he was her support system. Those who believed she should not be put on probation brought up these reasons for her committing the offense.
When I listened, I felt as though I had traveled back in time to the s. Worse yet, a fraternity man would never consider being put up for probation for having a girl in his room — he probably would have been high-fived. I contacted a few of my advisers in the sorority and explained that I felt the rule was unfair, but they told me the rule was not up for discussion.
I disagree. Why are women constantly told how to behave? I am sick of the double standards I face in Greek Life.
Just because I am a woman does not mean that I should be held to a different standard than a man who is also in Greek Life participating in the same activities. I want the acceptance of rules like these to be questioned for their validity.
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