Yes, I can think of some reasons, but since all of the ones I think of are… unpersuasive… I continue to wonder whether there are any defensible reasons for having devoted that choice real estate to such a purpose (not to mention putting the Strom Taj Mahal workout center in a location that only the Greeks could walk to conveniently and safely).
If you know of any, share them.
Here’s the thing about this sudden discovery by the university that fraternities tend to encourage unseemly behavior (“USC officials, Greeks debate hospital trips, strippers,” The State) — I’ve never understood why their presence is in any way encouraged at public institutions of higher learning.
At all of our colleges and universities today, administrators know that one of the most serious problems they face is binge drinking, and other activities that most of us associate with… well, Greek life. It astounds me that, in the 21st century, we even allow these organizations onto campuses, much less do anything to make them feel welcome. Not that we independents haven’t been known to chug a brew or two in college, but most of us didn’t join societies that, to the larger world, are essentially seen as drinking clubs.
I could see it if these associations had a salutary effect — say, if they militated against such irresponsible behavior. But I’m not seeing much indication of that.
Of course, I’m prejudiced. I went through college in the early 70s, which is actually the time that the cultural phenomena we associate with the 60s kicked in across most of the country. In my day, there were Greeks, but they seemed terribly anachronistic. It was something my Dad did (Pi Kappa Alpha), but not cool people in my generation. By the 70s — or at least by 1978 — they were associated with a benighted past, an object for satire. It was like, if you were in a frat, what century (or at least, what decade) were you living in? I understood that some people had their arms twisted by their parents into joining their frats and sororities, but what was the motivation beyond that? (There was this one guy who kept calling to invite me to check out his frat, and he only did it because he was bugged by his Dad, who worked with my Dad. I always came up with excuses to be elsewhere.)
The fact that people actually attached importance to this presumed bond — which is a perfect illustration of a granfalloon — has always puzzled me, and even caused me to think a little less of the human race. (While different, it’s distantly related to the way I feel about political parties.) To share another anecdote…
Once, when I was a student at Memphis State, a bunch of us were playing basketball on an outdoor court next to my dorm. Some guy got mad about something stupid and pointless, and put on a disgusting display of petulance, quickly convincing everyone that he was a total jerk. Finally, he decided to walk away, pouting. The attitude of every guy present was, Good Riddance. Every guy but one, who had to chase after him and try to… I don’t know, console him or commiserate or whatever. “We all said, what the hell, man? The guy’s a complete d__k! Come back and play.” There was some reason that his departure mattered to us, I forget what that reason was. Maybe he was taking the ball with him. Otherwise, we probably would have said Good Riddance to him as well.
Anyway, he said he had no choice but to run after that guy, because… he was his fraternity brother. We all looked on in disgust at this display of completely misplaced loyalty based on nothing more substantial than that.
But I’m sure some of you have a different perspective. Please, help me understand the ways that frats contribute to institutions of higher education.
Clue me in as to why those brick palaces, in the core of our community, add to our community.