Opinion: Miami University’s Greek life situation is ugly for everyone

Jimmy Miller is a journalism major and managing editor of The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]

Jimmy Miller

Over the weekend, I took a trip to Oxford, Ohio to see my friend perform in Miami University’s “Pride and Prejudice.” Even for me, a guy who rolls his eyes at the thought of reading classic literature, I thought the show was wonderful. The two-hour performance undoubtedly validated the four-hour drive.

However, I walked onto Miami’s campus in the midst of trying times for what’s estimated to be 30 percent of the university’s undergraduate student body: Cleveland.com reports that Miami is ending its pledge process early in light of at least 21 hazing allegations against fraternities and sororities on campus. Although the sororities completed their pledge process already, the fraternities had to end on Friday, two weeks earlier than anticipated.

There are no details of the alleged hazing released by the university and among the 50 chapters on campus, none have been officially identified as the problematic groups. What we do know is understanding this is just the latest in a sequence of Miami’s Greek Life mishaps, as the Dayton Daily News reports a dozen chapters have been discontinued since 2010 due to inappropriate behavior.

I’m sure you’ve heard this opinion before, but Greek life presents wonderful opportunities for plenty of students at Kent State and countless other campuses across the country. Despite the latest set of allegations, I’m sure these opportunities are still present at Miami as well, but fraternities and sororities everywhere carry with them a stigma.

There are facets of Greek life at Kent State that I’m not fond of, but I’ve seen firsthand through some of my dearest friends how beneficial the organizations are. These benefits of joining Greek life are what I keep in mind every single time I read social media posts about how “disgusting” fraternities are, or how “repulsive” sororities are.

With that in mind, what’s allegedly happening at Miami — and what’s happened at a plethora of other universities across America — makes it increasingly difficult for anyone to convince skeptics that Greek life is a good thing.

Hazing is a term that’s been rooted into the culture of Greek life and although I’d implore anyone to support the community in any way possible, I would also ask anybody involved in it that thinks this is okay a simple question: Why? It does nothing but damage the victims of hazing and tarnish the reputation of their organization, the respective university and Greek life as a whole.

This probably isn’t the first time you’ve seen this opinion and it’s likely not the last. But if we fail to address the severity of hazing every time it happens, we will forget how damaging it truly can be. If these situations eventually become just another incident in a string of horrific events we ignore, we’ll forget that Greek life was ever a positive thing in the first place.

Jimmy Miller is the managing editor for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].