Letter to the editor: Response to ‘ Sorority rules contribute to sexual assault’

Posted on Apr 5 2018 - 4:59pm by Elizabeth Condra

A recent op-ed argued that sororities play a much larger role than they actually do in the instances of assault that happen on college campuses.

While it does seem unfair to hold college-aged women in 2018 to the same standards as Victorian predecessors, the argument doesn’t acknowledge that sororities are privately funded organizations.

Membership is obtained only through invitation, and many women who join sororities are aware they will be held to certain expectations that differ from the rest of the student body. Should sororities refuse to host parties, not allow guys in bedrooms or not permit alcohol, that is their decision alone.

Another flaw prevalent in this claim is that fostering more socialization between guys and girls would help quell assaults. It fails to account for the assaults and other preventable instances of sexual misconduct that happen within our on-campus dormitories, where both male and female students are permitted to socialize in each other’s rooms.

While it seems apparent that fraternity houses are a breeding ground for these kinds of violations (and there is a toxic persistence of rape culture present there), statistics show just under half of assaults occur in freshman dorms.

A project called “Mapped” from The Tab, which tracked assaults and where they occured on campuses, found that “freshman dorms are the epicenter of campus sex crimes.” These violations occur in dorms ahead of Greek organizations and other campus locations.

Wanting to create a level playing field between male and female Greek organizations is a distraction from the underlying problem. Sororities and their private policies pertaining to their members are not contributing to sexual assault. The perpetrators of these crimes and the uneducated environments that allow them to grow are contributing to campus sexual assault.

Instead of attempting to change the rules and regulations of private institutions on campus, perhaps we should commit our campuses to dialogue and education on consent, both in our Greek system and in our dorms.

Elizabeth Condra is a sophomore Spanish major from Birmingham, Alabama.