In recent years, the Greek system and affiliated organizations like the Inter-Fraternity Council and The Panhellenic Association have made a conscious effort to combat the persistent safety issues surrounding Greek-sponsored parties. Their latest step in this process is a plan to purchase 4,200 identification cards for all Greek members.

Leaders within the organization have labeled this move as one that will reduce conflicts and safety problems arising from admission to Greek parties. This is a laudable effort by the Greek system to clean up its act. However, underneath the surface lies a fundamentally defective system whose problems are much deeper than who is and who isn’t allowed in at the gate.

Identification cards represent yet another attempt to gloss over a troublesome and archaic culture. Present an ID card, gain admission and then immerse yourself in the real problems facing the Greek system. The IFC has a history of convincing itselves that its band-aid solutions address its actual problems. In doing so, the IFC sidesteps the fact that it strives so hard to keep alive have been and continue to be bastions of underage drinking and sexual subjugation.

Despite the best intentions of the IFC, these ID cards serve to further separate the Greek establishment – which is at its core already an exclusive entity – from the rest of the University community. Through selective entrance standards, monetary fees and private functions and events, the Greek system is every bit an exclusive club. The addition of membership cards can only perpetuate the estrangement of the Greek establishment from other students and campus groups.

Many Greek members maintain that fraternities and sororities have been given a bad rap by administrators and the media. They insist that due to their educational, reform and enforcement initiatives, many of the stereotypes surrounding Greek membership are now in the past. But much like past reforms, ID cards, while reflecting a genuine reform effort by the IFC, provide nothing but the illusion of safety. This project seems to imply that the abundance of safety issues that currently plague the Greek system are wholly or mostly the fault of outsiders, rather than the fault of their own membership.

In fact, it is easy to see that the proud Greek tradition of binge drinking carries with it a variety of dangerous side-effects, not the least of which are the potential for rape and violence. These problems will certainly continue unabated, with or without proper identification. These are problems far too ingrained, and far too serious, to simply treat with an ID card and a generous amount of lip service. The reforms the Greek system so desperately needs will only be postponed by any measure short of complete overhaul.

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