By Reagan Passmore
It’s time we reflected upon a reality. Greek life is, for many, the social life-blood at UCLA. Where else can first and second years, without the golden ticket of a valid ID, or faked equivalent, go to let out stress on a Thursday or Friday night? [Where can daddy’s little girl go with her new collegiate independence to try alcohol for the first time, if not for The Frats™. Or, a young man go to discover what it’s like to be an adult amongst masculinity at its peak, if not at The Frats™?] College is rigorous, the pacing unforgiving, so when we finally get that long awaited break from our schedule that our sober-selves concocted for our futures, we need an outlet for our stress. And, because we are the educated few, the money-minded young adults set to rule the future, we have to weigh our options. We want somewhere close enough that is walkable, especially when inebriated, and relatively cheap, where we can get the greatest bang, and impurest proof, for our buck. The Frats™ are where these needs converge with highest ease and lowest standard.
In the past year, UCLA’s Inter Fraternity Council (IFC) has imposed several threats to the Greek way of life. No longer can we serve liquor out of our own, later regretted, free will. Now, fraternities have to pay to relinquish their services to a 3rd party bartender, and withhold their self-service creations from the eager public’s lips. Are The Frats™ their guests’ keeper? Let them limit themselves according to their tolerance. Should each fraternity be held responsible for every person who comes in, who knows they shouldn’t be drinking, and gorges their underaged self on alcohol? By no means. The majority of their evening guests fit this criteria. Prohibiting these guests would ruin the ratio, and that would ruin the party. The overworked, heavy-laden students must get their very necessary, proper selfcare. The party must go on.
The new policies do little to achieve their goal, anyway. They were implemented, firstly, in response to a number of assaults occurring during the previous school year, from the usual suspects. The council figured, instead of enacting more stringent punishments on the actual perpetrators of the crimes, they would limit the real problem: hard alcohol. Everyone knows hard alcohol is the reason assaults happen. IFC reaffirms their decision, stating that since the policies’ implementation the number of Thursday-night incidents have gone down. What IFC is referencing, however, is not a decrease in assaults, but rather the number of students who—despite attending a top public university—dimly overestimate how much liquor they think they can consume before their body’s lack of consent rejects the endeavor. Even with the new liquor codes, shockingly, several assault allegations have rumored throughout Greek Life each quarter. Hard alcohol ban leads to less hard alcohol consumed. Go figure. But assaults don’t suddenly stop happening? Now who would have thought…
Since we’re in the business of implementing outrageous policies, why don’t we add one that merely institutionalizes a pre-existing pattern. We’re already ignoring violations of “self imposed” punishments and looking the other way at fraternities with sexual assault expectations. Why not make it official? I suggest we pass a new policy, one that does more than just disrupt the flow of our prestigious university’s social lubricant. I propose we allow fraternities three assaults, or “alleged” assaults, per year. If a fraternity goes beyond this, clearly there must be a problem; four is obvious more than a coincidence. Three is not enough to signal a pattern, though. That’s not a reflection of the fraternity’s values. With this policy, after three allegations, the fraternity will be either fined a great deal, put on social probation until the accused member graduates, or kicked off campus altogether. The punishment thereby being decided depending on the severity of the claims, the judgement of the survivor, and perhaps the results of an official investigation.
Outside of Greek Life, the majority of the student body is unaware when an accusation is brought against a fraternity. Some Thursday night parties, quarterlies especially, see no shortfall in attendance even when, in that quarter alone, multiple members of the hosting fraternity have been “allegedly” accused of assault. Walking into a Frat Party™ unaware of that fraternity’s recent history with assaults is comparable to reading a sarcastic piece and not knowing it’s a satire. The results could be devastating.
“But shouldn’t we protect the survivors by hiding their identity?” they will ask. Certainly. Reports should absolutely hide such intrusive information when publicising the allegation. But when a majority of IFC’s members are from one of the accused fraternities, you start to wonder who their silence is really protecting.
[At any rate, whether this allowance be granted or not, the focus should be taken off of ineffective hard-alcohol bans—high-proof liquor will likely find its way into the Frat goers’ nightly diet anyhow. It is not the drinks that assault people. A problem that needs more attention is the lack of publication about the number of serious accusations facing a fraternity in any given quarter.]
A (Concerned) Frat Bro