An Instagram account calling for the abolition of Greek life at Mississippi State University has caused a stir among the MSU student body, Greek and non-Greek students alike. The account, featuring anonymous testimonials that detail negative experiences students have had with Greek life at MSU, has attracted hundreds of followers and been the subject of conversation in various student circles.
The account's first post, entitled "why abolish," outlined their mission and the reasons behind their call for abolition. These reasons included rape culture, racism, homophobia, nepotism and power imbalance.
The Reflector spoke with the creator of the account, a current student with personal experience in the MSU Greek system.
"What I like about the page and what I'm trying to do is bring awareness to the fact that something has to change," the anonymous source said. "We can't just sit here and keep saying we're trying to do this — 'we see you' and 'we hear you' — it's bullshit. No one's doing anything, and nothing's changing. So I like that it brings the voices of people who aren't able to speak out because Greek life is so powerful."
Visitors to the account are able to submit their anonymous testimonial through a Google form in the account's bio. As of Sunday, the account has posted seven testimonials, dealing with topics ranging from tokenism to assault to exclusivity.
According to the creator of the account, there have been almost 60 submissions, although some of these are just people expressing their dislike for the account through colorful language.
One of the hallmark elements that makes the account possible — anonymity — is also one of its biggest criticisms. Jackie Mullen, the director of fraternity/sorority life at MSU, said part of the problem with the account is that it is difficult to make real change from anonymous claims, as it is a challenge for the university to investigate these stories.
"If there's not a name associated with it or informant for us to investigate, it's hard to investigate something off of anonymous or one general statement. So not to say that we haven't, that's just a difficult investigation to lead," Mullen said.
Mullen said the university has the authority to sanction any chapter or individual within the chapter for breaking the university's code of conduct.
One of the visitors to the account who submitted an anonymous testimonial, a current MSU student who was formerly in Greek life, said they were very excited for the account's existence but did not agree with the call for abolition.
"I don't think that abolish is the answer. I think that it's a really, really cool account, and I think that the testimonies being shared are so important. And I think that it's really good that it's on Instagram," the source said.
Katey Koon, president of MSU's Panhellenic Executive Council that oversees the MSU Greek sororities said she is glad the account is giving people a place to speak up about their experiences but disagrees the system is hopeless. Koon said in her two years serving as Panhellenic president she has never had someone come to her with one of the issues mentioned on the account. If they had, she said, she would be the first to bring down severe discipline on anyone involved.
"Of course I know my organization isn't perfect, and I'll be the first to tell you there are flaws in the system. And we've got a lot of work to do," Koon said. "That's the reason I'm here,"
Interestingly, while the name of the account calls for the complete dismantling of the Greek life system, the creator of the account seems to agree that abolition may not be the answer. The name "abolish ms state greek life" serves to tie the account to the hundreds of other accounts that call for the abolition of Greek life at colleges across the country, including Vanderbilt, Duke and Washington University.
"I'm not naïve," the account owner said. "I don't think it's going to be abolished. I don't know if I think it should, but it will not happen anytime soon."
When asked what the best thing Greek life could do to remedy its criticisms, the creator said even they were unsure – and that was the crux of the issue.
"Personally, I don't know, and that's the problem with it," the creator said. "That's why so many people say 'abolish' because so many people have tried to reform it, but what do you even do? How do you change it?"
The creator said their plans for the account moving forward included posting more testimonials as well as diversifying the account's content with statistics and research. Readers can view the account on Instagram @abolishmsstategreeklife.