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What is your opinion of fraternities and sororities at Kansas University?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on November 27, 2005

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Photo of Nikki Mahoney

“I think they’re a bunch of kids without a whole lot of life experience. I think their main concern is usually partying, socializing and being popular.”

Photo of Joanne Bergman

“They have a bit of a party reputation, but I’m sure they’ll turn out to be fine, upstanding citizens one day.”

Photo of Mark Lang

“It wouldn’t hurt them to clean up their reputation with the community. They don’t get any publicity for all the philanthropic activities they do. It’s only when they get in trouble.”

Photo of Jason Hopkins

“It seems to me that the majority of them are usually drunken, immature party animals.”

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audvisartist 12 years, 4 months ago

I just don't get the dressing the same (ie. backwards baseball caps, shell necklace and khaki shorts), but other than that, I really don't have much of an opinion on frats and sororities.

average 12 years, 4 months ago

I used to live below the frats on Sigma Nu Place. They hired landscaping companies to keep their grounds in top shape. But, behind their building they had a high privacy fence and tossed tons of crap over it. More than a metaphor, the s--t does roll downhill from the rich man.

b_asinbeer 12 years, 4 months ago

I don't really see them as a necessary thing for a college education. However, like Mark Lang says above, they do a lot of good things for the community. Other than that, I do not see how a fraternity or a sorority is supposed to enhance a higher education better than living with 2-3 roommates, or having a bunch of friends at an apartment complex.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 4 months ago

Lived the first 18 years of my life sharing a room with my sister. No way in he!! was I going to share a house with 50 more! I really couldn't imagine anything worse than living with tons of young, hormonal girls.

I think frats and sororities are seen as they are depicted in the movies. And from the stories I've heard, I can't say that that isn't how they should be seen. I don't get the need for all the parties and social affairs that usually lead to trouble, anyway. Way back when, I went to one frat party. One was enough for me.

dotteboy 12 years, 4 months ago

You sound like a bunch of losers who went through rush and got rejected.

Ceallach 12 years, 4 months ago

Mark: The philanthropic things the greek community are involved in are REQUIRED of them. They are learning young how to give the public impression of compassion for the children of a lesser god, whereby they can perpetuate the image when they become part of corporate America and continue getting rich off the backs of the working people across this and other countries. Most of the young women are still just working hard for a prestigious MRS degree. Things have not changed and are not going to change -- they are part of the academic structure -- they are still pains in the butt -- however, most greek parents are biggggg contributors.

I have observed a small percent of students that do not fit into the rich kid category, but let's face it, that persona is what most of them are striving to accomplish for themselves and their children. Same coin, less polish.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 4 months ago

dotteboy, to me, Rush was a band. I am not trying to be funny here. You seriously could not have paid me to join a sorority. My girlfriends who opted to join a sorority usually did not have sisters of close age of their own. Don't get me wrong, I love my sister and we are very close. Just saying, if I had to live with her......

Alas, I married a frat boy. I still tease him about it but even he opted out of the house his junior year. I just never understood the attraction of wanting to be a part of that scene. Maybe you could explain it to us "losers."

bthom37 12 years, 4 months ago

Bunch of rich kids who have to buy their friends.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 4 months ago

Ceallach, Yes, it's true. Confession time. I married a KSU frat boy! sigh I've since convinced him of the evil of his ways (not really), but being a KSU grad, I figured I would always just have to deal with someone who was just not capable of making all the best decisions. I guess this worked to my favor as he did choose to marry me. ;o)

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 4 months ago

Personally, I don't understand why the fraternities & sororities are trying so hard to look like philanthropic organizations. YOU ARE IN COLLEGE! Everybody expects you to party. Yes, hazing is bad and should be eliminated. Partying is not bad. The majority of greeks spend more of their time partying (whether it be at a bar or at a house-sponsored event) than they spend doing community service. You know what? Who cares. As for their "academics", can you really claim that studying, in college, is a positive thing that you all do? Again, YOU ARE IN COLLEGE! You are supposed to study so, if you do, it shouldn't be lauded as some grand achievement.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 4 months ago

One other thing I have to address: The accusation that "greeks pay for their friends". How many people went to college and immediately moved into an apartment by themselves, or with a friend from high school? Not many I would venture to guess. That being the case, it means that you either moved into a dormitory or joined a fraternity. Guess what! You BOTH paid for your friends! Or did all of you "dormrats" get to live there for free? Go on, tell me that you didn't become friends with any of the people that lived in your dorm.

Do you honestly believe that just because someone joins a fraternity that they automatically get along with, and are friends with, everyone in the house?!

Let me guess. You all would counter with the "they all dress the same" comment. Okay, take a look at your peer group. If you are a hippie, how many yuppie dressers do you have in your group? How many aren't running around in scavenged clothes from ATC? If you are a punk, how many look like preppies? The "they all dress the same" comment is the worst case of people needing to look in the mirror before they open their mouths.

Miles Garrett 12 years, 4 months ago

It pains me to see that conversations like this always turn immature. " kids who have to buy their friends"? Come on bthom, say something worthwhile (not to mention original). We sound "like a bunch of losers"? I hate to break it to you dotteboy, but you aren't helping your cause. In the interest of full disclosure, I am not part of the Greek community, but I am concerned how the divide between it and the non-Greek community is often bitter, and debate across that divide is rarely intelligent. I would like to suggest that there is nothing inherently wrong with fraternities and sororities, and many of their members show remarkable promise. That said, I think that throwing young people of the same sex into such living situations contributes to both sexism and sameness. We live in a country where perhaps 80% of our youth are delibirately sheltered from the realities of human development. Emphasizing conformity is not, in my opinion, the most appropriate response.

bthom37 12 years, 4 months ago


I didn't become friends with any of the people that lived in the dorms. I made my friends from class or (mostly) from my part time jobs.

And the result of fraternity's methods (hazing) is to foster closer relationships between the people in the frat, than you would get between people in the same situation who did not have that stressor applied to them. It's the same with most high stress environments; you bond with those going through the same thing. That's why fratboys are more likely to become friends with their brothers.

I actually was a legacy, and passed on joining. I was living with my girlfriend at the time; why would I trade living with a woman for living with 70+ guys? I told the deputation from the frat that. They didn't have a good answer.

FWIW, one of my very good friends is a fratboy, from the banned Sigma HappyFace Triangle (or whatever the frat was) that got banned for the 17 kegger. I was at that party :)

bthom37 12 years, 4 months ago

Oops, left propinquity out of my previous post.

I would suggest that not letting people rush frats until their sophomore year is a rule I would like to see implemented. It's probably too easy to jump right into a frat before you see what your other options are.

Ceallach 12 years, 4 months ago

My opinion of fraternities and sororities at the University of Kansas is that they are here to stay (except for a year or two suspension for hazing : ) Want a laugh? -- check out the fine print on a university's misconduct ban.

We should remember that we are talking about kids. I know legally - blah, blah, blah - they are kids. I am very grateful that I do not have to live my entire life as I did during the 18 - 22 years -- and my family was not wealthy -- I shutter to think what might have occurred had I had better financial backing Most of these kids are also doing what is expected of them by parents and other family members. They may have different pressures than other students but many greeks have tremendous pressure to live up to their family's goals.

beatrice 12 years, 4 months ago

I laugh at people who want to do away with affirmative action programs at universities, but then turn around and support such things as guaranteed "legacy" entrance for fraternities and sororities. All and all, it is about wealth, and keeping wealth among the wealthy through "secret societies." This is why George Bush and John Kerry were both members of the Skull and Bones secret society at Yale.

I do know that when I taught at the university, the only kids I ever caught cheating were members of fraternities and sororities. Not saying that all are cheaters, or that non-Greek society students don't cheat, just pointing out what I observed over several years.

So my opinion of sororities and fraternities is not favorable.

Jamesaust 12 years, 4 months ago

What a stupid topic? What's next: What I think of Methodists? or doorknobs?

bthom37 12 years, 4 months ago

What do you think of Methodists vis a vis doorknobs?

Grundoon Luna 12 years, 4 months ago

One summer break, back when I was a suggling single mom/college student, for some extra $ I helped a friend that had a cleaning business clean some sororities and franternities that she was contracted for. It was nothing short of appaling what condition these kids left the places in. I would have been embarrased to have left a place in such condition. I think that is rather telling of them . . . They'll just pay someone to clean up their mess for them. I don't think that gestaldt applies only to their former living quarters either.

Grundoon Luna 12 years, 4 months ago

Ah-hem, excuse me "struggling" single mom . . . can't type today

Harry_Manback 12 years, 4 months ago

The only reason I never lived in a sorority is because there seemed like there would be way too many rules. I have a really hard time having people tell me what to do, especially my own peers, and I just immediately knew it wasn't the best choice for me. I think joining one would probably be a good way to meet new people, but it seems like you have to put up with too much bs in the process. Also, as I started to learn more about KU and the cliques here, I learned that the greek people just keep to themselves. A lot of them don't associate outside the system (some do, but it's not the norm), and I can't respect that kind of exclusivity. I want to have a diverse group of friends, and I just can't deal with the drama of living with 100 other girls.

Harry_Manback 12 years, 4 months ago


I'll agree with you about the cheating stuff. I knew a bunch of guys I went to high school with who are in a frat here, and they spend more time figuring out ways to cheat on tests than actually studying. They also have a fake ID making machine in their possession. I also know most frats keep test files, but any teacher that doesn't change the test each semester is just asking for something like that to happen. I know not all frats encourage this kind of cheating, but I've seen it happen firsthand, and was even offered the info. I needed from the to cheat, but didn't.

beatrice 12 years, 4 months ago

Doesn't that cheating make you mad? To think, here you are struggling to accomplish something (despite being a girl with a harry manback?) and they are skipping through on the work of others. I hope they get what is coming to them, and if caught with a fake ID machine that could well mean jail.

I have to disagree with you, however, on blaming the teachers who don't alter their tests. Blame the cheater --always! It is never the teachers' fault that some students cheat. Since students are paying!! for their education, shouldn't the assumption be that they won't cheat and that they want to learn while in school? It is like blaming a home owner for having their house robbed when they don't have a security system, or a girl being assaulted because she wears something sexy.

bige1030 12 years, 4 months ago

beatrice: In this world, a great deal of college students aren't paying for education anymore. They're paying for a degree - purchasing that magical piece of paper they call B.A. or B.S. - so that they can get the job that they want and work up the corporate ladder. To them, studying and classes are just meaningless bureaucratic hurdles to jump.

As a KU student who actually enjoys learning, I see so much of this "degree as a commodity" view around the university, and it's sickening in a way. But yet, isn't the real world sickening, too? So goes life, I guess. Life is so sickening.

dotteboy 12 years, 4 months ago

Losers, those of you jealous of the Greek tradition, quit complaining about the choices made by our young attending universities. You're right, you have me figured out. The only reason I joined a fraternity was so I could keep the little guy down, to release him of the burden of his failed and useless life. It's a conspiracy. W and J.K. (John Kerry) were telling me in a top secret communication the time to act is now. Don't clean up after yourself, pay single moms to do it for you. Cheat on your exams with other Greeks, so Beatrice will have stories to tell her friends at the old folks home without doorknobs. (Note to Beatrice: teachers that do not take the time to review and revise their lesson plans make for lousy teachers. I should know. I majored in education.) And just think of it, me, a teacher. Kids don't go to college for an education, they go to school for job skills. Oops! I've said to much. By now you have figured out our plan!!

People make their own decisions. And, people will always act in their own best interest. So I find it funny that people that spout off about ending stereotypes, embracing other's cultures and beliefs will gang up on a bunch of kids that joined a house. And don't go political. I'm a registered Dem.

Get on with your lives. The kids are.

memoirs_of_a_sleepwalker 12 years, 4 months ago

dotteboy, Yer in edumacashun, and u write lyke that? Oh, lordy, lordy.

beatrice 12 years, 4 months ago

dotteboy, I claim that cheaters, like thieves and rapists, are responsible for their own actions. Period. I'm sorry you somehow missed that point. I wrote nothing about the quality of the teachers who do not change their lesson plans, who I agree make for poor teachers. But poor teaching is still no excuse for cheating. For you, however, it appears that any excuse or any action is justifiable as long as one gets ahead.

By the way, when I am sitting in that old folks home at some point in the future I will reflect on the choices I made, the life I lived, and remember that I was once, indeed, young. Life just keeps going on and on and on ... for all of us. Don't worry, if lucky, you will see.

memoirs_of_a_sleepwalker 12 years, 4 months ago

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bthom37 12 years, 4 months ago

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Harry_Manback 12 years, 4 months ago

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Staci Dark Simpson 12 years, 4 months ago

No one likes frat or sorority chics unless you are one. When I was a kid we had the unpleasant experience of being neighbors to the Kappa Sig house in Baldwin. We always saw kids pissing in our yard and my mom had a keg stuck under the bumper of her car one morning. A kid I went to high school with was killed after leaving a frat party and after testing his blood it was almost a lethal level of alcohol anyway. I am not against having a good time but be responsible!! IT seems drunk kids in large numbers is trouble waiting to happen. That is why we stereotype. We have heard all the bad stuff, the needless deaths, girls getting raped, etc. Sometimes it seems like college is just a way for some kids to prolong the whole high school experience. Look out when you get in the real world.

Ceallach 12 years, 4 months ago

omb: I believe they did! Although, I think that would be micro and not macro evolution, unless they evolved from a hinge : )

Ceallach 12 years, 4 months ago

btw, all, I attended the Lawrence Community Theatre for this afternoon's performance of "Beauty and the Beast." It was quite enjoyable, my granddaughter loved it, but I almost choked when my daughter told me the ticket price -- IMHO a little pricey for community fare.

jayhawktownie 12 years, 4 months ago

dotteboy, you simply perpetuate the stereotype. as for what i think of greeks, i think the majority of them suck. Their arrogant sense of entitlement is ridiculous and the idea that they are "philanthropic" is a joke. Just because you participate in required community service does not give you the right to be an ass. Grow up.

Harry_Manback 12 years, 4 months ago

Jayhawk, that's exactly what I said too in a mature way also, but apparently he reported me and got my post removed. Apparently it's not okay to criticize others on here...

badger 12 years, 4 months ago


I think sororities and fraternities are mass aggregates of people who gather because there is something about the image of the particular fraternity or sorority that they wish increased in their lives. If a frat has the reputation as party animals, then if you're a party animal you want to be in that frat, but if a frat has a strong academic reputation (which none of KU's seem to, but some at other colleges do), the more scholarly types will be attracted to it. Likewise, if a sorority is just considered to be a vehicle for girls looking to collect the MRS degree, husband-hunters will look for that similar group, but if a sorority is openly known to be heavy on the women intending to storm the business world, then the driven capitalists will gravitate towards it.

It just seems that at KU, the Greeks have gotten themselves a lot of bad publicity, and with it has come a lot of pledges for whom that bad publicity is a desired lifestyle.

And with spokesmen like dotte, there, who could possibly imagine why anyone might have a bad perception of fraternal organizations?

raven 12 years, 4 months ago

I was in a sorority in college. There are a lot of benefits to it, friendship, sisterhood, leadership, and yes community service. It is required however, each one has there own philanthropy that they work at and most really believe in it. I am sorry that you all have such hard feelings toward them they are good organizations that are stereotyped. I was not born or raised wealthy-I am not wealthy now-I did not cheat in college. I did party but not to a point that I did not get everything else I wanted to accomplished. Those were my choices and I am fine with them.

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