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    American college is weird

    Fascinating article about fraternities

    I can't help feeling that american college life would be a lot healthier if the legal drinking age was 18.

    #2
    American college is weird

    Thanks for linking, good read. Word to all of it.

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      #3
      American college is weird

      Followup question - what's it like in Ireland?

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        #4
        American college is weird

        It was 18 when I was at school and it wasn't all that healthy.

        Will definitely read later - at a quick glance it looks as if frats haven't changed in 30+ yrs.

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          #5
          American college is weird

          not like that bruno. Being able to buy drink means that you don't have this whole fraternity thing. There isn't the same emphasis on college sports.

          The only comparable aspect with american college culture would be among the abercrombie wearing south dubliners who went to fee paying schools, and basically spend their college careers in the same groups. I wouldn't like to vouch for those people, but outside of that you wouldn't have so much hazing, or sports based er, feelings of sexual entitlement.

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            #6
            American college is weird

            Haven't read the article yet, but there are plenty of college students who don't go into the Greek life.

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              #7
              American college is weird

              Fortunately, most of them.

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                #8
                American college is weird

                I'm struggling to imagine any of our american correspondents getting up to any of the things outlined in that article.

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                  #9
                  American college is weird

                  The Awesome Berbaslug!!! wrote: not like that bruno. Being able to buy drink means that you don't have this whole fraternity thing. There isn't the same emphasis on college sports.
                  The fraternity thing didn't arise as a way for the under-aged to get alcohol though. Lowering the drinking age wouldn't make it go away. It's bro culture, bro!

                  As Flanagan points out and as is worth emphasizing, only around 1 in 8 students joins a Greek org. Though of course they draw in plenty of victims from the outside. At my school they were the party hubs with seemingly disproportionate influence on campus culture. Taught me right away that getting into a good school is no safeguard from being around a lot of...maybe idiots is the wrong word, but otherwise smart people with a bizarre tolerance for stupid behavior and repulsive living standards.

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                    #10
                    American college is weird

                    The Awesome Berbaslug!!! wrote: I'm struggling to imagine any of our american correspondents getting up to any of the things outlined in that article.
                    I went to one frat party as a freshman and it was about the most unpleasant scene imaginable. Survival of the douchiest, all the subtleties of my charm hopelessly swamped, that kind of thing. Beer that would've been light if it hadn't been 75% foam.

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                      #11
                      American college is weird

                      Sororities, though, are far more interesting places. Close friend of mine was a den mother at one for a few years, and did she amass some anecdotes. I dated a sorority sister for a spell; hanging out in the house had a weird inner sanctum-like feel. You were there with their permission. You were chosen.

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                        #12
                        American college is weird

                        The Awesome Berbaslug!!! wrote: I'm struggling to imagine any of our american correspondents getting up to any of the things outlined in that article.
                        Did an awful lot of stupid shit my freshman year, but nothing as idiotic as in that article.

                        I was dragged to a frat party after just a few days on campus and Animal House it was not. Preppy pricks, shitty music, penny loafers, polo and izod clothing everywhere. I'm getting ill thinking back on it.

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                          #13
                          American college is weird

                          I haven't read yet that but I can imagine what it explains.

                          It wasn't for me, but not all frat people are bad and not all frets are bad. It just depends on the school and the house. At my college there were some really douchy frat guys and they douchiest tended to be concentrated in a few of them, but it was mostly pretty benign and did a lot of charity. Here at Penn State, the Greeks are only about 15% of the population but the Interfraternity/Panhellenic Council spearheads a lot of the big charity and service efforts and have been cooperative with the community on various crime and nuisance reduction efforts. Anecdotally, it seems that most of the bad stuff - alcohol poisoning, fights, sexual assaults, DUI, etc, comes out of random parties at off campus apartments, not the frats. The frats have rules on guest lists, the booze is BYO and they're under closer scrutiny by the university. The bars have issues, but they have bouncers and are monitored by the State Liquor Control Board.

                          Getting rid of the Greek organizations would probably make things worse, on balance. Kids are still going to drink. And the douchebags were douchebags before they got to college and will seek out other douchebags to hang out with and reinforce their douchey attitudes, regardless. At least the national Greek organizations and the campus-wide Greek council (or whatever it's called on a given campus) can and do frequently crack down on bad behavior and try to channel the organizations into more positive activities like community service.

                          Of course it would be best if there wasn't so much assholery and everyone could just get along and not need feel the need to create and Us-vs-them everywhere they go, but people inevitably do anyway. You can't stop it. You can only hope to contain it.

                          Here at Penn State, the national organization of XO just shut down the PSU chapter of that sorority. One of their offenses was having a party with a Mexican theme where all the girls dressed in very stereotypical Mexican fashion and, well, it was racist, but none of them seemed to understand why it was racist. Outrage ensued. But apparently there were other offenses, apparently.

                          It's more unusual for sororities to get in trouble. Frats are getting suspended and shutdown or rebooted all the time.

                          In my experience, most kids who rush a Greek organization do so because when they first come to campus they're all alone and very worried about "making the most of the college experience." Greek orgs offer an instant group of friends. On top of the parties, it's also a lot easier to find an IM team and service projects if you're a member of a group like a frat. (It also provides a housing option. At some schools, that can make a big difference. When my parents were in college at Cincinnati, the Greek houses were really the only places to live on campus.) Some kids join their sophomore year after they realize that most of the people they hang out with are in frat anyway.

                          But all of that crap about "bonding" and "brotherhood" and "big brothers/sisters" and all the ceremony and shit they put pledges through - even when it's not hazing per se - is just fucking ridiculous. If you want somebody in your social group, just invite them to future gatherings. It's not hard. Being a social animal need not be so arduous and complicated.

                          Especially as a kid and a young adult, I had a strong compulsion to be independent, never be beholden to one particular clique or group. I wanted to have a few friends who were really my friends. And I wasn't so into drinking.

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                            #14
                            American college is weird

                            i am a member of an american college frat and not surprised by the article

                            what else do you need to know?

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                              #15
                              American college is weird

                              How often are you getting laid?

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                                #16
                                American college is weird

                                I'm running around 2.3 on the Grovel scale. How do you stack up?

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                                  #17
                                  American college is weird

                                  I've been a foreigner since I was a small child and, always having always been an outsider who has kind of had to fend for myself, I have always had a bit of distrust for any kind of organised social societies and things like that. My experience is that a common culture creates a sense of belonging, which I've never actually viewed as a good thing, because that sense of belonging is partially built on things like exclusion and uniformity. I always remember being really, really suspicious of the scouts as a kid.

                                  There were these kinds of things at college in the Amsterdam, with all sorts of stupid initiation rites and all that shite. Nothing on the scale of that article, of course, but a lot of mass intoxication by peer pressure and sect-forming within certain student groups. It doesn't help that the university allows each faculty to have a student run bar in the building with glasses of beer being sold for 0.75 euros. I often thought it would be better for the development of the students' social skills if that kind of facility wasn't provided, forcing the students to pursue a social life outside of the university. Fortunately, I went to a university in an urban campus in a multicultural city, so I generally hung out with the students with a more mixed-background. It was usually the lads from the countryside who were chain drinking Heineken piss water and being ignorant.

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                                    #18
                                    American college is weird

                                    My Scout Troop was a collection of random misfits who weren't especially popular at school. Nothing to fear.

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                                      #19
                                      American college is weird

                                      http://www.theonion.com/articles/fratguy-boyfriend-not-like-the-other-frat-guys,30/

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                                        #20
                                        American college is weird

                                        http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-ole-miss-fraternity-expels-3-noose-20140221,0,2184254.story#axzz2uLeBiSUw

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                                          #21
                                          American college is weird

                                          There were no frats at my college, thank goodness.

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                                            #22
                                            American college is weird

                                            Maybe that was a positive, but it's deluded to think getting rid of frats gets rid of douchebaggery.

                                            Try this. Not sure if the link will work.
                                            http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/2/frat-bro-caitlinflanaganrapecampus.html

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                                              #23
                                              American college is weird

                                              It might not get rid of the douchebags, but they're less organized, so it definitely helps.

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                                                #24
                                                American college is weird

                                                True. But to a large extent, the Greek-free universities are depending on the Greek-heavy universities to attract all the douchebags away from applying to them. So the Dukes, UVas, and Dartmouths of the world and doing a service to Hampshire, Reed, etc. If they were all abolished, the douchebags would be more evenly distributed.

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                                                  #25
                                                  American college is weird

                                                  Reed, have you read the Atlantic article yet? I get the impression its thrust is a bit different to what you are expecting.
                                                  It certainly covers that some frat members are douchebags or worse, but it is more aimed at the national organisations responses to this, mostly their attempts to avoid any liability for what goes on. Some of the weaseling out is rather jaw-dropping, in a way that an article essentially saying 'drunken young males do stupid and/or criminal things' wouldn't be.

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