Dear Editor,

Greek life is a rather controversial topic, often under scrutiny on college campuses for incidents related to racism, binge-drinking, social pressure, general elitism and nepotism. A common counterargument to criticism is the charity Greek life provides. In this letter, I have presented some numbers to demonstrate why this is a flimsy counterargument and should not be used as a blanket justification for when Greek life comes under fire.

A December tweet in defense of Greek life shares philanthropy statistics from the University of Purdue for one year. Tri Delta leads with roughly $7.2 million, two other sororities follow with roughly $1.2 million, while three more follow with anything between $800k and $500k. Together, this makes a grand total of $10,350,000. For the sake of argument, let us say Greek life is genuinely concerned with generating as much charity revenue as possible, thus their defense of charity-work is valid if the numbers add up.

From what I have gathered from friends and online sources, sorority dues average to around $2,000 per semester. This does not include shirts, meal plans, fines, very expensive housing and other miscellaneous costs. On Mississippi State's campus, 20.5% of the student body is part of Greek life. Four thousand multiplied by the Greek population of MSU, 20.5% times 17,371, equals a whopping $14,244,220. This is $4 million more than what is being fundraised at Purdue. Mind you, Purdue is nearly double the size of MSU.

If Greek life members are truly concerned with charity, they could generate 50% more philanthropy by not joining Greek life and instead paying all associated costs to a charitable organization.

As such, I argue that this defense is a very poor one, and in consideration of controversies, higher rates of depression, lower GPAs and higher probabilities of sex crimes, I question the merit of Greek life at all.

(2) comments

eplamb

I am disappointed in the lack of research and evidence that this authored provided for this article. The lack of citations for specific incidents, particularly incidents that relate to Mississippi State Greek life as a whole, renders this article as nothing more than an excuse to complain about an organization that one simply knows nothing about and that one clearly went to no lengths to research before sharing their opinion. To address the topic of dues: housing and meal plans for Greek life are no different than housing and meal plans for non-Greek students. It comes down to personal choice. Let's indulge in your weak argument that a real philanthropist would simply give all of their money to the poor (because if that were really the case, the world would be in a much better place than your proposed). You are right, some of that money goes towards food and some of that goes towards housing. Big whup. As a functioning human being student, you have to have food and housing anyway, and if you were to actually look into the numbers, you would see that it is no more expensive than board and a meal plan of a non-Greek life student. I am ready for an honest conversation about Greek life--it is not perfect. But it does hold students accountable academically. Go check those stats and tell me why all Greek women's GPA is higher on average than the all women GPA.

SharkBait

Their GPAs are higher because it is common knowledge that Sororities and Fraternities have old test banks and actively cheat together. Several of them have friends who are TAs/tutors/etc in the business school that sneak photos of future tests and share them among themselves or through GroupMe. For being a group that prides itself on philanthropy, they sure are really mean towards those who aren't in greek-life. They are no better than mega-churches, claiming to give so much to help others while they keep to their opulent buildings that use up those same funds that claim to be helping others.

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