FSL aims to change stigma in Greek life

Kent State Fraternity and Sorority Life has made attempts in recent years to distance themselves from the stigma often related to Greek life.

Kent State recently made the decision to no longer call FSL “Greek life.” 

“When people hear the term ‘Greek life’ there is a negative connotation that surrounds that, so they made the change to stay clear from that,” Panhellenic President Katie Beatty said. 

Last year, Panhellenic Council decided to lengthen recruitment to be more “values-based.” This change lifted the stress of working, going to class and attending the mandatory recruitment events in one week for the women. Now, recruitment takes place only on the weekends across two weeks.

Sororities “recruit” and fraternities “rush.” The difference between the terms is small; recruitment is more formal than rushing, according to an anonymous source who was involved in FSL. 

An article written in 1985 for the Daily Kent Stater states “since the introduction of ‘Animal House’ and ‘Revenge of the Nerds,’ a stigma has surrounded fraternities and KSU fraternities seem to agree that students have a tainted picture of their organization.” 

Despite having almost 2,000 people involved in FSL and hosting Hazing Prevention Week every year, it is difficult to combat a stigma that has been around for so long.

“The stigma is present on Kent’s campus,” a source who was involved in FSL said. “I have heard it from non-Greek life students multiple times that they think all they do is party.”

Kent State Interfraternity Council and the Center for Student Involvement began having fraternities and sororities file an off-campus event registration form if they plan to host a house party.  

“I’m not sure [fraternities and sororities] can do much about the stereotype,” an anonymous source said. “I think the popular opinion is that some chapters are great but there are others that are no place you would want to party, let alone join.” 

CNN reporter Thom Patterson reported what to know about Greek life before joining. The article included the four alcohol-related deaths of men involved in Greek life at different universities. Earlier this year, Ohio University suspended several fraternities, sororities and groups associated with the university for hazing. Kent State’s Kappa Alpha Psi was suspended for three years in 2013 for hazing. 

Dakin Andone reported in a CNN article about the cycle of hazing in society and how people still join knowing they could get hazed. Included in the article is Jo Hannah Burch’s story, which discusses how hazing is a violent cycle of receiving trauma, then inflicting on someone else to regain something you lost.  

“I debated joining Greek life,” an anonymous source said. “But I found the lifestyle to be alcohol- and drug-oriented and that just wasn’t right for me.”

The Kent Stater reached out to members of the Panhellenic Council and Dennis Campbell, the assistant director for Fraternity and Sorority Life — all of whom were unavailable to comment.

Contact Samantha Simcox at [email protected].