The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Greek community divides SMU community

The recent assault at the Sigma Phi Epsilon (SigEp) house highlighted one of the major problems in SMU’s community: an adversarial relationship between different parts of the Greek system.

The historical feuds between houses are not new, but should be viewed skeptically in light of recent events. As Student Body President Alex Mace pointed out, community has suffered and fallen apart in the past year or so, and it seems as if the Greek system has had a lot to do with this.

Fraternities and sororities are meant, ironically, to build a sense of community within a university, and they do within each house. As students pledge one house or another they bond with their pledge class.

But as the system pits fraternity against fraternity, sorority against sorority and as students align themselves with one house, the school-wide community divides itself. Fraternities act like political parties in Student Senate elections, negative stereotypes of sororities get posted on websites like Elite Daily.

A sense of competition between houses is one thing, but it becomes a problem once it escalates into violent or hateful behavior. When it escalates to vandalism, torture or hate there is a serious problem.

If we want to rebuild a sense of community between different Greek houses, this adversarial relationship has to return to friendly competition.

Inter-fraternity conflict needs to cool down.

Perhaps it isn’t entire houses that antagonize each other, but because of the nature of the system, individual actors within the community are very easily able to act on behalf of their entire house. Feuds that should be between a few individuals end up becoming wars between two entire fraternities.

Conflict between sororities may not get violent, but the cliquish relationship between houses doesn’t help foster a strong community either. The Elite Daily article posted earlier this year highlighted this problem perfectly. Saying an entire sorority is filled with “social outcasts” or that another one is no longer top tier because it has some overweight girls in it is ridiculous and hateful.

By and large, the faction-like behavior of the Greek system is splitting the student body and is at the heart of much of the strife within the community that Mace spoke out against in his article.

We as a community need to recognize these issues and try to fix them. We need to return to why students got involved in the Greek system in the first place – it wasn’t to look down on others, it was to bond with like-minded individuals. Returning to this mindset will not fix everything, but it would go a long way toward mending the broken community ties at SMU.

Keene is a junior majoring in political science, economics and public policy. 

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