Last Thursday, University President Mark Schlissel called for a mandatory meeting of all Greek life chapters in which he reprimanded the community for its problems with sexual assault and alcohol abuse. Though a call to reform Greek life was clearly necessary, considering the Treetops Resort ski trip incident and the community’s disproportionate problems with sexual assault, is Greek life truly the only group to blame for the “party image” Schlissel claims the University is beginning to embody?

Schlissel’s comments to the Greek community made me consider party life on campus, and whether fraternity parties are truly as dangerous, racist and homophobic as E. Royster Harper, vice president for student life, claimed their perception to be. I should start by explaining to the (freshman) population that there are two types of parties at the University: fraternity parties and house parties. Club sports, professional fraternities and other general student orgs often fall into the latter category. 

When considering the safety standards put in place during fraternity parties versus general house parties, it would be easy to say that fraternity parties are actually safer. Frats utilize sober monitors, hire security guards, track who is entering the house by people’s Mcards and have other IFC safety enforcements to answer to when throwing parties. These parties meet all the standards to ensure a safe and fun night — right?

Apparently, wrong. Recent statistics have shown that members in Greek life are 2.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than all non-Greek students on campus. This is likely due to the nature of Greek parties compared to house parties. While Greek life parties do set regulations in place that may appear for these organizations to harbor “safe fun,” mixing large quantities of students with dark lighting and hard liquor is a recipe for disaster.

However, there’s a surprising statistic the student body should be aware of. While those involved in Greek life are 2.5 times more at risk than non-Greek life students, those involved with club sports were twice as likely to experience unwanted sexual penetrations — nearly as much as Greek life. And while those involved in the Greek community represent nearly 17 percent of the University, those involved with club sports only represent about 5 percent of the population. 

If I, an average sophomore, know these statistics, there’s no doubt Schlissel knows them, too. Where is the big mass meeting for all club sports? Is Greek life deemed the scapegoat of the unsafe party life on campus solely because it’s more visible?

While Greek life is to blame for a higher record of sexual assaults and alcohol abuse on campus, it isn’t the only population to blame. At house parties, there are less resources put in place for the students’ safety, which could lead to an environment just as unsafe — maybe even more so — as fraternity parties.

My final words: Punish the Greek community, but also be mindful of other culprits. Chastising the Greek community for its inappropriate behavior was good, but this is not the only community deserving of a critical look. Be aware when you go to a house party that’s not at Theta Chi or SAE, it doesn’t mean you’re being completely safe.

Daniel Dixon can be reached at

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