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On Greek Life
The Daily Tar Heel Wednesday, March 29, 19895
owMes, firateraotties appeal to diverse gronop
Many find niche in social organizations
By CHERYL ALLEN
and DIANA FLORENCE
o pledge or not to pledge?
That is the question.
With approximately 15 to
20 percent of UNC students
involved in Greek, organizations,
obviously something is attractive
about Greek life. But those same
features that attract potential frater
nity and sorority members deter
6ther students from becoming a part
..of the Greek system.
The choice is yours
, "For some people it's a way to
. :make new friends," said Joanna
Carey, a sophomore Kappa Alpha
, . Jheta member from Tallahassee,
'.Fla. "For others who have been
exposed to the sorority system by
. . , their sister or mother, it's the way
. .they've been brought up."
'-. According to Pam McDonnell, a
senior from Hackensack, N.J., and
former president of the Black Greek
.Council, "Idealistically, people
choose to be in sororities or fraterni-
ties because they hope to achieve
goals for themselves."
Sororities are ideal for someone
who wants to be involved in a cam
pus organization with social benef
its, said Joy Diamond, a freshman
Phi Mu member from Canton,
"The amount of people you get to
know right away and the connec
tions you can make through the sor
ority are reasons I chose to rush,"
Also, joining a fraternity or so
rority can give UNC "a small school
quality," said Chris Pugh, a junior
Phi Delta Theta member from
Charlotte. He also said that Greek
life provides a home away from
home for many members.
1 Going Greek
The benefits of being Greek
:.By ADAM BERTOLETT
TTn the last 10 years more than 40
college students across the coun
JLtry have died in fraternity haz
ings and hundreds have been
Last winter, an inebriated frater
- nity pledge at UNC was tied up
naked to the swing on the porch of
the Alpha Delta Pi house as part of
pledge initiation, according to Sallie
Bean, house director of Chi Omega
sorority. Another drunk fraternity
pledge was blindfolded and led into
the Phi Mu house where he was
bound naked to a post, Bean said.
Due to incidents like these, hazing
is now outlawed in 22 states includ
ing North Carolina. North Carolina
: law states that it is illegal "to annoy
"-any student by playing abusive or
ridiculous tricks upon him, to
frighten, scold, beat or harass him,
or to subject him to personal
Hazing is pledge education
brought to a perverse extreme.
' Pledge education usually includes
kitchen duty, house cleaning, run
ning errands and other chores.
Pledges are also expected to know
"information and trivia about their
I fraternity or sorority.
"The purpose of pledge education
I is for the pledge class to go through
! similar things together. It's supposed
i to strengthen their unity," said
Andre Zwilling, a former member of
: Delta Upsilon at UNC. "Hazing
1 occurs when the learning aspect of
pledge education is forgotten and
1 indignation becomes prime."
'. This indignation can easily lead to
' injury or death. At the University of
; Texas, a freshman died of alcohol
; poisoning after being forced to drink
1 more than half a bottle of rum as
. part of pledge initiation. Two win
ters ago a pledge at Alfred Univer
sity in New York drank a bottle of
Jack Daniels, a bottle of wine, and a
six pack of beer, and was then
locked in the trunk of a car. He died
: of alcohol poisoning and exposure.
In 1987, a brother at Omega Psi
'. Phi at North Carolina A&T was
'. sentenced to two years in prison and
! six months probation for beating
'. pledges with a 2-by-4 block of
'. As a result of hazings like these, a
hazing committee was formed at
! UNC last year under Lee Marks,
; J assistant to the dean of students.
; i "Hazing is up. on campus espe
; i cially with women," Marks said.
""The purpose of the committee is to
include exposure to a variety of peo
ple and activities, new tnendships
and a home away from the dormi
tory, Carey said.
"Your brothers or sisters are peo
ple you can rely on," McDonnell
According to Layton Crost, a
freshman Sigma Nu member from
Charlotte, being in a fraternity has
given him the opportunity to get to
know a diverse bunch of guys
extremely well. "It is really incredi
ble how tight we all are. I have
really made lifelong friends," he
Russell Dula, a junior Omega Psi
Phi member from Chapel Hill, said,
"The closeness associated with
myself and my line brothers is very
dear to me."
"Through the pledging process I
made nine best friends," Dula said.
"1 always have someone I can count
After two months of grueling
pledging, becoming a brother was so
important to Dula that he had the
Omega symbol branded on his
upper arm because he wanted to .
show that Omega will always be a
part of him.
In addition to the many social
functions such as cocktails, formals
and weekly mixers, members have
the benefit of prepared meals and a
comfortable place to relax among
Responsibilities of a Greek
Once in a Greek organization,
members are expected to meet cer
tain guidelines. Though duties vary
from group to group, weekly chap
ter meetings are mandatory, accord
ing to John Carey, a freshman ,
Sigma Chi member from Hartford,
According to Diamond, members
of Phi Mu who miss chapter meet
ings are fined $5 unless they are sick
or have another good reason for
alleviate the situation and to
increase awareness of the problem."
Paige Elrod, a junior on the com
mittee, said that problems with haz
ing occur when sorority pledges go
on treasure hunts or chases where
they drink alcohol and have embar
rassing things done to them.
There's usually one small group in
the sorority that had to go through
hazing and they believe that the new
pledges should also have to go
through it, Elrod said.
The committee would like to have
sororities replace pledge hazing with
an activity that is fun for the whole
group like a fund-raiser or a party.
One creative example of an alterna
tive to hazing comes from the Uni
versity of Denver. Earlier this year,
the Beta Theta Pi house there
decided to replace their traditional
"hell week" of pledge hazing with a
hiking and rock climbing trip
through Outward Bound.
"We're fortunate that hazing is
defined in North Carolina," Marks
After repeatedly missing chapter
meetings, a member may be put
before the standards board, at which
time it is decided whether or not she
will be suspended from chapter
events. Suspension can last from one
to four weeks and includes dances
and other such social functions.
In addition, "members are
expected to be at most of the meals
and pay their dues," John Carey
Sororities' dues for non-residents
are approximately $800 per semester
including meals and $1,500 per
semester for residents. Fraternity
dues range from roughly $750 per
semester for those who don't live in
their houses to $1,500 per semester
The cost of black fraternities aver
ages around $50 per year, while
black sororities cost about $50 per
semester, McDonnell said.
Members who fail to pay their
dues may be declared inactive,
which often results in losing privi
leges such as eating at the house and
participating in house functions.
The national chapters usually
decide the penalties for rule viola
tions, said Becky Mustard, president
of the Panhellenic Council, the
governing body of sororities. Often
there are ways in which a member
can compensate for his or her infrac
tions through kitchen or hostess
Other duties of a Greek member
include participation in such activi
ties as rush, study hours, Derby
Days, Greek Week and each organi
zation's national fund-raising events.
Paying the price
Cost often prevents people from
becoming Greek. "Financial obliga
tions are a definite disadvantage,"
Sharon Sever, a sophomore from
Shelby, de-pledged Phi Mu for
said. Another purpose of the com
mittee is to help people understand
that hazing can include emotional
abuse as well as physical abuse.
Many people do not realize what
a serious problem hazing is. "Any
house that hazes would probably
lose its chapter," Zwilling said. "I
don't think there's a problem (with
hazing) at UNC nothing that jeo
pardizes anyone's health or safety."
Right now, the committee is
working on ways to spread aware
ness of hazing. The members are
thinking of putting on a skit about
hazing that would address the prob
lem with humor to make it interest
ing and fun as well as informative,
"We want to get all the sororities
together and going on this before we
involve fraternities," Elrod said. -
Although the committee grew out
of a concern for sorority hazing,
Marks said that in the future the
committee will address the problem
of hazing at fraternities also.
Members of the Delta Phi Epsilon
exactly that reason.
"It was really hard for me to get
over there (the house) too often, and
as a result I didn't have the sense of
sisterhood everyone else seemed to
have," she said. "I felt that I wasn't
getting enough out of it for the
amount of money I was spending."
Dula, on the other hand, said,
"The cost wasn't a factor to me. I
would have overcome any obstacle
to have the opportunity to pledge. I
already had it in my mind that I
wanted to be an Omega and no cost
was too high."
McDonnell said the low cost of
black greek organizations rarely
Lack of time also can prevent stu
dents from joining a Greek organi
zation. "I haven't had the time nor
the energy to concern myself with
fraternities so far," said Joseph Holt,
a freshman from Fayetteville. When
asked what he thought distinguished
Greeks from non-Greeks, Holt rep
lied simply, "Three letters."
Chris Ellis, a sophomore from
Butner, said "there are enough other
student groups on campus that I can
be part of."
"My freshman year I didn't need
to get involved in something so
time-consuming," said Michelle
Reid, a freshman from Washington,
D.C. "I wanted to get accustomed to
my work load and my schedule."
Others simply don't have the
desire to pledge. Devon Gambrell, a
By ANNA TURNAGE
I he screams can be heard a
block away as excited sorority
11 members dance around and
sing on the front lawns of the stately
old houses on Franklin Street. It's
UNC's annual bid night, the final
stage of sorority rush.
Every fall nearly 1,000 girls of all
ages, majors and backgrounds
gather together in the race to join
the sorority of their choice.
Some will walk away elated, while
others will face the disappointment
of not receiving the bid they want or
getting no bid at all.
The whole reasoning behind
spending two weeks rushing from
house to house, going to parties,
meeting too many people to
remember and facing possible disap
pointment is simple. "It's a way to
meet a lot of people in a short time,
so we need a structured system like
rush to provide that for those who
want it," said Lee Marks, faculty
adviser for the Panhellenic Council,
the governing body of the women's
"It's hard to come to a school as
big as Carolina and find friends and
a place to identify with. Joining a
sorority is one way to do that," said
Becky Mustard, president of the
"Sororities offer a lot of oppor
tunities to get involved on campus,"
she said. "The sororities are there
for you and they want you to come
and try it out."
Rush "can be hectic, exciting and
confusing, but on the most part it's a
good experience to go through
rush," Mustard said. "The most
important thing is to go through it
with an open mind."
The process begins at the end of
each school year with a sign-up in
Aid' " 2. I
sorority raise money for cystic
i- i r i g
freshman from Monroe, Ga.,
initially considered rushing a soror
ity but said that without Greek life
she has made friends and doesn't
feel like paying to make more.
One of the disadvantages of
Greek life is that it can be somewhat
sheltering, McDonnell said. "It can
both expand you and seclude you
from some spheres of life." Often
members are inclined to associate
with fellow Greeks rather than try
new organizations, she said.
This can happen with rushees,
especially out-of-staters, who pledge
their freshman year, Mustard said.
"Although sororities can open up
many different doors, there is the
potential to close yourself off to
other campus activities," she said.
Another disadvantage, McDon
nell noted, is how the campus com
munity looks upon Greeks. Stereo
types persist in the minds of many
The stereotypical Greek
"I think the fraternity image at
Carolina is really conformist," said
Matt Ginn, a junior from Harris
burg. "A lot of the appearance ste
reotypes hold true, but on the per
sonal level, they don't hold that
Dula said that many non-Greeks
have the attitude that Greeks are
rush for opportunity
sorority of choice
the Pit. The council also holds sign
ups through mail in the summer and
again in the fall before the formal
At the beginning of formal rush
each fall, the rushees consult with
rush counselors, who guide them
through the process and help answer
any questions they may have.
"They're an unbiased counseling fig
ure for rushees," Mustard said.
"During rush period counselors are
not allowed to reveal which sorority
they're in or associate with that sor
ority until it's over."
The process consists of four
rounds, held over a two-week
period. During the first two rounds,
the rushees travel to all 16 houses to
meet and mingle with members.
"The first two rounds are the
hardest," said Casey Hickey, a
senior from Greensboro who was a
rush counselor this past year. "It's
all real structured and you only have
a certain amount of time to spend
with each girl. Most of the time you
feel like you're being hoarded
around," she said.
"It's a real exercise in your cock
tail skills," said Mary Pat Carmel, a
junior from Greensboro who rushed
three years ago. "You have to sell
yourself quick and that's it. If you
can't do that it can be a real uncom
According to Hickey, "It's more
frustrating than anything, but no
one's been able to figure out a better
way to handle over 1,000 girls."
Each round allots more time to
spend with the rushees, Hickey said.
The fourth and final round, called
Pref Night, is the night when all
rushees pick three sororities by pref
erence and hope to get a bid from
one of them.
"Some girls may only put down
one or two, but it's better to leave
X Jtr - - J
DTH David Surowiecki
fibrosis with a balloon ascension
"Some of the fraternity people
think they are better than others,"
said Steve Bass, a sophomore from
Raleigh. "For certain Greek organi
zations you need to have the right
amount of money, the right clothes,
the right background."
But, Dula said, "The only thing
true to that is that we've endured
something to become brothers or
According to Matt Schofield, a
sophomore Sigma Alpha Epsilon
from Greensboro, many of the ste
reotypes of Greeks are derived from
movies such as "Animal House" and
"Revenge of the Nerds."
"Of course there inevitably are
some of those types but as with all
stereotypes, they are just too much
of a generalization," he said.f:
"Some of the fraternities try .to
live up to their stereotypes," said Joe
Bedell, a freshman from Syracuse,
But Diamond insists that the ste
reotypes are not justified. "When
you get a group of 150 people
together you can't fit one stereotype
to them," she said. One hundred and
fifty girls cannot possibly be the
McDonnell said that in the future
she would like to see Greeks and
non-Greeks work together at com
batting stereotypes. "Stereotypes ;
work to cause separatism," she said.
your options open and put down
three," she said. "It can be real dis
appointing if you only choose one
and then you get cut on bid night."
On Bid Night, rushees meet with
their rush counselor, who has a list
of who got bids and who didn't. The
rushees who get bids go to the sor
orities for the Bid Night party.
"Some girls feel like if you're not
Greek, you're nothing," Hickey said.
"For those girls who don't get bids it
can be a real emotional letdown. A
lot of girls get pressure from home
because their mother was in a soror
ity or their boyfriends put a lot of
pressure on them."
As a rush counselor, Hickey was
' trained by Student Health Service to
help bidless rushees cope if they
become over-emotional. "We try to
inform them of other options on
campus and let them know that it's
not the end of the world, that there's
always next year," she said.
"There are a lot of people who get
incredibly stressed out," said Car
mel. "They need to understand that
it's not that important. You're going
to have friends whether you're in a
sorority or not."
One of the main setbacks of for
mal rush is that there is not enough
time to spend with each rushee, said
Erika Huth, a junior from Clayton.
Huth is a member of Delta Phi
Epsilon, which holds informal rush.
"In informal rush there are no
rules," she said. "We can set our
parties anytime we want and we can
spend as much time as we want with
According to Marti Bradshaw,
rush chairman last year, informal
rush is less stressful. "It's a lot more
relaxed," she said. "You get to know
them (rushees) for who they are, not
just on the surface."
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