Frats are Frats: A Response to The Dartmouth’s “Frat Enough or Nah?”

Fraternities are fraternities.

Fraternities are fraternities.

Fraternity. Sorority. Certain words inherently invoke certain meanings. The word ‘fraternity’ is derived from the Latin word ‘frater,’ meaning brother. Likewise, ‘sorority’ is derived from the Latin word “soror,’ meaning sister. A fraternity is a brotherhood, consisting of male brothers, united by their similarities not just in gender, but in personality as well. The same goes for the female equivalent.

This is why it is egregious for a single gender-nonconforming student to suggest that a storied system (one prevalent not only at Dartmouth, but at institutions of higher education across the nation) should alter its most basic nature to cater to a miniscule minority of students. Fraternities and sororities are organizations that cater to men and women, genders to which the overwhelming majority of Dartmouth students (and people in general) prescribe. This system is heavily rooted in tradition. It is worth noting that organizations are not discriminatory in any way; they simply function as a node around which like-minded individuals gather and bond. Gender happens to be one of these commonalities. The author also insinuates that those Greek houses are united “by virtue of similar-looking genitalia,” writing off the idea that people rushing a house are similar people in all sorts of spheres (a fact that tends to be indeed true).

The author makes an interesting assertion that the Greek system is the only worthwhile social scene at Dartmouth. This is a rather unfortunate assumption. Perhaps it may be true that the Greek scene is the dominant social scene (dominant, though, as in volume of people served, or popularity? This term is admittedly ambiguous). However, Dartmouth indeed possesses of many social scenes, from coeds to open Collis After Dark events. Another disheartening statement is the author’s thought that “I didn’t want to close myself off to the larger social scene simply because I was gender-nonconforming.” The system simply is not, as the author deems it, binarized. Pledging a coed in no way binds one to only participate in coed society activities. Indeed, any student at Dartmouth, regardless of gender, affiliation, or age (barring the first six weeks of fall term) may enjoy the Greek social scene.

It is unfortunate that the author sees no place for himself in any of Dartmouth’s various social scenes. Ultimately, though, the purpose of the Greek system is not to discriminate or, as the author says, to “actively hurt and alienate;” it is simply for people with like characteristics to come together in the bonds of siblinghood.