Rutgers hasn’t had a piece of good press in a long, long time. First they let Gratz into school there, then they had their basketball coach chucking basketballs at the team like he worked for Globo Gym, then they had to fire their athletic director, then the new one was accused of verbal abuse calling the players she formerly coached “whores, alcoholics, and learning disabled” (don’t believe that shit though Julie Herrmann is the fucking truth), and then there was a whole bunch of other shit that happened with the University both before and after. All those stories (besides them admitting Gratz) were national headlines. This year however has been particularly rough for Rutgers’ greek organizations as explained in further detail by NJ.com…
“In September, Rutgers student Caitlyn Kovacs, 19, of Monmouth Junction, died of alcohol poisoning after friends took her to the hospital after seeing her in distress at a party at the Delta Kappa Epsilon house in New Brunswick. Authorities did not say if Kovacs was drinking at the house or elsewhere that evening.
In a separate incident about six weeks later, a severely intoxicated 20-year-old member of Sigma Phi Epsilon was hospitalized. In March, the national headquarters of Sigma Phi Epsilon “indefinitely suspended” the Rutgers chapter in reaction to the incident involving the hospitalized student.
Delta Kappa Epsilon, the fraternity where Kovacs attended a party before her death, has been suspended by Rutgers pending a university review, Miranda said. Another five unnamed Rutgers fraternities are also facing campus discipline reviews for alcohol-related incidents.”
First, It goes without saying how unfortunate it is for a 19 year old person to die, regardless of how it happened, especially someone who is a part of our immediate community. The way Rutgers is handling this semesters mishaps however is a fucking joke.
You know what happens when you tell a bunch of 18-22 year olds that they can’t drink…at college nonetheless? The answers quite obvious: they shrug their shoulders, pack up their book bags and then head over to the library to get a head start on exams since they can’t party. Just fucking kidding!!!! When you tell college kids they can’t drink and party all that does is make them get creative with how they get their fix of alcohol and drugs in. Listen, I’m not saying that fraternity parties are safe, they aren’t, but at least there are sober brothers running risk to effectively handle any potential harmful situations. Also, when you have fraternity parties, they’re registered (or at least they should be) which lets the office of fraternity and sorority affairs (OFSA) know exactly what’s happening and where around campus. When you cancel social events, then thats when all the mayhem really starts, kids will go wherever they have to to get fucked up where there are no rules, no risk, and no accountability. Random houses and apartments all over will soon play host to all sorts of fucked up activity and OFSA will have no idea where the naughty behavior is taking place.
Instead of taking punitive measures, it’s time for Rutgers brass to take a more proactive (and realistic) approach to greek life rules and regulations. There’s so many pre-existing rules, so what does that say about their effectiveness if shit like this keeps happening? Some of the rules for greek life social events are so archaic it’s laughable. Take this one for example, for all the 21 year olds who can drink at a party (because you can obviously only drink if your 21 duhh!) you’re allowed to bring one six pack of beer for yourself and that’s your alcohol for the evening. Most kids drink six beers before they even fucking shower and shave their pubes (not recommended though) and then go to the liquor store to get their real alcohol for the night. Not saying that it’s unreasonable to expect greek students to have only six drinks but…it’s unreasonable to expect greek students (or any college aged student) to have only six drinks. The thing is that’s not even the point, the point is that nobody follows that rule anyways, and that more focus needs to be on implementing real strategies to deal with real issues, like what to do when its 3 am and a freshman girl is on her back heaving at your fraternity house. Fraternity leaders (the presidents, vice presidents etc.) commonly known as the “exec board” are often the ones who have to go to the OFSA meetings that address these issues when they are elected, but thats only a handful of brothers and the majority of the brotherhood doesn’t have any real training on what the hell to do in case of a crisis. From my point of view, it seems that Rutgers is less concerned with the well being of its greek students, and is more concerned with protecting themselves from any potential lawsuits or crisis that they could be liable for.
I’m also sick of this preconceived notion that since someone was at a fraternity party, then the fraternity is the one at fault for someone in the hospital. That needs to be squashed, right now. Showing up at a party that’s full of your peers sober can be awkward, that’s why its common practice to drink before even going out. That’s what us young people like to call “pregaming”, which is often times done with our immediate circles of friends before venturing out and seeing the rest of the characters our age. You know where one of the biggest hotspots to pregame for young naive freshman is? Right there in the dorms, the very property of the university. So what happens a lot of the times is these kids get so amped to go out and be a college kid, they slam back a sickening amount of shots from a plastic bottle that costs less than 10 bucks and can be likened to battery acid, and then go out and roam around the campus without a clue of what the fuck is actually happening. Fraternity houses and house parties are just the end destination, and doesn’t mean that all the drinking for the night, if any, actually took place there. Unfortunately though given the stereotypes any set combination of greek letters carry, they are an easy scapegoat for the university. There’s no real due process either, at least at Rutgers anyways. If a freshman girl gets blacked out and stumbles into a fraternity house, then ends up in the hospital and her friends say she came from ________ fraternity, then that fraternity is going to get fucked by OFSA, hard, without a real investigation as to what actually transpired that night. It’s very possible she drank way too much in a brothers room before she got sick, but it’s also very possible she drank way too much in a Rutgers dorm room, with her RA (that Rutgers hired and is paying for their room and board) down the hall either oblivious to what was happening or just not giving a fuck at all and letting it happen. Sadly, just her being there at ________ is enough to hand down a harsh sanction to the fraternity and that’s that. Seems fair right?
For this post I originally planned to crack a few jokes about how much Rutgers greek life sucks, hit a few punchlines, and move on with my day. But after seeing this story make national headlines, and waking up to a text from my mother (a jewish mother so it’s even worse) asking what I thought about the matter, I decided to…expand a little bit. When I pledged our chapter advisor came in and talked to our pledge class about what it means to go greek. The part that resonated the most was that every damn day you’re going out to fight a stereotype about greek life. It’s unfortunate that these incidents happen. Normally, this wouldn’t be national news, but ever since “there will never be a nigger SAE” and Kappa Delta Rho at Penn State’s Facebook group (went there once, had a blast), any negative news about fraternities and sororities is going to get blown the fuck up by the media to paint the picture that greek life is made up of purely barbarians. What do I think? I think Theta Chi does awesome things for The Wounded Warrior Project, I think Theta Delta Chi does awesome things for Autism Speaks, and I sure as hell think Sigma Chi does awesome things for The Children’s Miracle Network. I think it’s sad that these incidents keep happening. I think… actually I know, that greek life indeed parties hard as fuck (fuck yeah we do) but that there’s also a lot of good that can come from greek organizations. But I also think Rutgers (and the media) tends to ignore the positives and focuses on the negatives and that it’s time for each respective party to take a long look in the mirror.
You can check out the original article right here: