What Prompts Students to Leave Fraternities and Sororities?

Exploring the state (and future) of Greek life

Delta Upsilon Fraternity House, University of Michigan
Delta Upsilon Fraternity House, University of Michigan.
Wikimedia Commons

To date, 2021 has been a harrowing year for those keeping an eye on fraternities and sororities. A number of students have died, reportedly as a result of fraternity events — which has led to individual colleges and national fraternities alike to crack down on local chapters. But these unsettling events in Greek life is only a part of something larger: a full-blown crisis over the role of fraternities and sororities in collegiate life — and whether or not they should continue to have one.

At Vox, Maryam Gamar spoke with a trio of students who ended up leaving their respective organizations. Gamar also explores the reasons why many students are exiting Greek life, from coming to terms with different organizations’ racism (either historical or present-day) to frustrations at the costs that came come along with it.

Will Gatling, a student at Thomas Jefferson University, addressed the ways in which he became disillusioned with his fraternity. He recalled learning that a fellow student had been posting racist comments in a group chat. “Being a Black person, I needed to do something because silence was like compliance at that point,” Gatling recalled. “So I reposted the screenshots on my social media and got the school involved.”

His frustration came when he realized his fraternity wasn’t backing him in this. “What really rubbed me the wrong way was the silence from my fraternity,” he said. “They didn’t support me at all. If you’re my brothers, you would be speaking out on issues like this with me. You wouldn’t be silent or have an issue with me talking about it.” After that, he made the decision to leave his fraternity.

The article offers a number of ways in which members of fraternities and sororities have encountered the limitations of the organizations they’ve joined — and gives readers a lot to ponder regarding the futures of those groups.

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