Fraternities were not a big thing at Beaver State 25 years ago. They had them. But Beaver State is a public university in rural Minnesota. It served / serves the regional communities of the Red River Valley and far north. Most entering freshmen were of that country boy / country gal milieu. Also the local Ojibwe Native American communities. As well, an enormous amount of students older than average (SOTA), who were typically displaced miners or loggers. All of these groups were in embrace of a practicality that couldn’t perceive the linkage between frat membership and drinking beer on Friday nights.
I only remember the TKEs with a presence on campus. They had jackets, those might have been red. There were other frats, but I do not remember their jackets. And none of the frats were regarded as ‘cool’. The phrase about TKE is pretty intuitive. “TKEs (pronounced ‘teaks’ ) are geeks”.
Without a strong greek presence on campus, there was as much beer drinking and as many problems as anywhere else with a strong greek presence. So we have a control set there from which I can say, I don’t know that greek culture is properly linked to the campus problems we discuss today. Ya know, cliques and herd mentality do cause problems, but I still think we’re talking beer and youth.
They talk about ‘rape culture’ and other hostile environments now. Not as if it’s new, but perhaps that it can be mitigated with enhanced awareness and process. I’m trying to recall the boorishness I was involved with or proximate to those years ago:
There was a ROTC dude smacking his girlfriend around one night in one of the dorm rooms in our hall. This guy had the superficial appearance of being a tough guy, and I as a wimp / nerd was frozen in inaction. I won’t totally speak for my buddy in calling him a wimp / nerd too, but he certainly wasn’t a macho man either. Anyway, my buddy was the brave courageous one, he went to get someone to open the locked door and put a stop to it.
Oddly I’ll say, as a goofball I did have quite a few hook-ups. Cuz, as a misanthropic Aspgergers guy I nonetheless achieved a rote mastery of the drunken pick-up. But, I had aspirations of dating someone nice and pretty, and being socially awkward sober but then charming while drunk I think I got a reputation as someone who was not dating material. …It’s hard being a guy, worrying about your reputation. Anyway, one night I had an actual date, but this girl broke the date on me some hours before we were to go out. And the reason was cliché as anything, that she needed to wash her hair or do her homework or something… I think actually that in the interim she probably talked to someone who knew of me, and was told disapprovingly that I was, ya know, ‘not dating material’. I went out anyway, by myself, got kinda drunk and stewed. Then showed up at her house, to confirm that she was not doing her homework or washing her hair. Awkward scene, yes, and that’s the kind of thing that will properly make you known as a bit of a creep. But that’s all that happened. I made her answer the door, and when she did, basically said AHA! Caught ya lying! and left. Never entered the house, but that was not the retelling of it I heard in subsequent days, where I was said to have barged in and stomped around and frightened people.
There’s more boorish stories coming back from the far reaches of my brain, but it’s still all beer and youth. I just don’t think enhanced awareness and process is going to mitigate being young and dumb and having 10 beers on Friday night.