Brothers and Sisters of America* – The overflow of the News24 Column

So it’s that time of the month again. Yes, you guessed it. My column for News24 hits the virtual stands. This latest is sure to lead to an online hazing for me, as they all do. Last time people got so mad they started insulting my teeth. Is it true? Are straight teeth more important to most Americans than the words that come out of my mouth? I kind like my skew teeth, along with my lumpy nose-profile. Screw you guys. They’re cute. They’re unique. They’re… cheaper. My parents spent the braces money sending me for music lessons instead and I’m glad they did. I also changed my column photo…

Grade this! I give it an A for Attitude and a D for Doggy. Whatever... I got your attention right? The only connection with my column topic is that the guy is a member of a Fraternity that got into trouble recently for a sexist email circulating... And no, that is NOT me in the photo. Don't you even read the like, news in South Africa? OMG WTF ROFL.

So, this week’s column is about Sororities, and Fraternities, and other Greek stuff. Greek means something totally different here to what it means in SA, although you wouldn’t guess that by looking at the picture above. What… you’re still looking at the picture. Oh, I’m sorry. Whenever you’re done… (Perezhilton has all the details but one: where the girl goes to school. The answer is UCLA – who also have a pretty good film school. Personally I don’t see what the big deal is. I mean, they’re consenting adults. And I bet having sex on a roof is awesome. I bet you’re all just jealous. Nothing this exciting ever happens at my school, Chapman… although we did just score some film school brownie points thanks to a recent announcement that we’re going to be making and distributing five low-budget student features every year. For more on that, go to this LA Times link.)

So, I did do my research, as you can see. Only joking, I also went to Wikipedia. And I googled it. And I didn’t watch Dying to Belong cause I know it’s a bunch of bullcrap. And I asked people what they thought. Most of them declined to comment, probably because they’ve read my column before.

Here’s this month’s column:

Brothers and Sisters of America
I was driving to a movie date with another student when a girl without pants stumbled in front of my car.
..
Read it on news24

Here are some of the things people said on the topic.

Michael McClelland – @magicmike1313 on twitter
Michael may let me publish his full comment. Here’s part of what he said…
“I enjoyed your perspective on fraternities and sororities. I would caution, however, that the more sensational stories about them tend to get most of the headlines and are often untrue. Hazing is universally banned in the Greek community, and though it still obviously occurs, that is almost always the fault of the school’s policies and not the fraternity/sorority. The second hazing is reported in any chapter of any nationally (“internationally” haha) recognized Greek institution, it is shut down, usually with a zero-tolerance policy. We had two chapters in our region accused of hazing and both were closed for five years, at which point they could be invited back on – but on probation. Similar punishments occur for drinking offenses, low GPAs, or any kind of sexual misconduct. I had to jump out of the window of my own fraternity house with two bottles of beer taped to my hands (Edward 40-hands) so that we wouldn’t lose our charter.”

Right. So it happens, but not legally. And it’s the school’s fault for not stopping it. All I want to know, is what kind of misconduct he was being punished for. I bet Perezhilton wants to know, too. Unfortunately I only got Mike’s stuff after I’d submitted. I encouraged him to publish a full version somewhere, if not on my blog.

Rose Cohen @rose_cohen on twitter
Responded to my question to South Africans. I asked whether we had anything comparable to sororities. She said:
“Hmmmm. Can’t really be much help here. I went to TUT (Tswane
University of Technology). It’s an Afrikaans institution in Pretoria.
We had horrible HKs (short for Huis Kommittee/House Committee) in res.
There was one per floor and there were 12 floors in our res. They were
like prefects. They met every Monday evening and then came back to us
minions with news/rules from the front such as:
1. Thou shalt not sleep over at a men’s res.
2. Thou shalt wear a dress on a Sunday (true story I fucking HATED
that, eventually I stopped getting out of bed on a Sunday).
3. Thou shalt choose a theme for your floor and decorate it. (Hated
that too, so childish. We did under the sea  one year and a space
theme another, whoo hoooo).
So our HKs wore a uniform: navy skirt, navy high heels, navy blazer.
They were voted into place by us minions to be holier than thou,
because they DID sleep over at the men’s res.
Not sure if that ties in with sorority.”

Kelebetsung Scheppers (@kelescheppers on twitter) says
“Nope, we didn’t have sororities that did any of the below-mentioned things. In fact, that list sounds like something about of a bad American horror movie. At Rhodes, we just had societies – students joining up to chat about social issues and raise funds etc. But seeking approval on whom you date? Not so much.”

Riekie Human, Freakflagmedia says
Eish. The only knowledge I have of those things are what I’ve seen in American flicks! We didn’t have sororities or fraternities where I went.” And she went to Stellenbosch, which is famous for scary initiations – and drinking. And high academic standards.

Shaheema Barodien @Shaheemab on twitter
“@JeanBarker In SA they’re called rugby teams and, er, their girlfriends.” (I quoted her in the story).

Dave Chislett @bigdavesee on twitter
“@JeanBarker Rhodes has a long history of ‘drinking clubs’ similar though not quite the same scale or influence of fraternities.”

Kelsey Marie, a producer/MBA at Chapman says (only got this post-publication – I forgot to mention my deadline)
“I went to a small, private, liberal arts university called Whittier College. It is located in Whittier, CA, in Los Angeles county, and has about 1500 students. At Whittier we had societies instead of sororities and fraternities. It was the same idea, just not national and not Greek. This meant that we could be more specific to the needs of our students and our school, rather than having to answer to a national organization. This also meant very inexpensive dues (around $100 a semester as opposed to around $2000 a semester that members have to pay in the National Greek system). Lots of people think that being a part of a sorority or fraternity or, in my case, a society, is about partying and getting wasted and having lots of sex. While that isn’t completely untrue (I mean, come one, we were all young once) there is a lot more to it than that. People also think that being a member of a fraternal organization is like buying your friends; it isn’t like that either. First of all, to address the “buying your friends” rumor, yes, we do pay dues every semester. Thing is, these dues are used to pay for activities and events for the society. Fun things that we’d have to pay for anyway if we did them. In this case, however, we are just paying for them in advance. Therefore, the “buying your friends” argument doesn’t work. As far as what a society is about, and why I pledged… well… that’s a great question. When I was a kid I got made fun of a lot. I am kind of a quirky person and not everyone knows how to accept me. When I first got to college I thought that I didn’t want to join a society because I didn’t want to be labeled. I didn’t want to be stuck in a box and not be able to hang out with other people or do other things. Well as time went on I got to know some wonderful people. It turned out that most of the people that I was becoming friends with were in societies. I decided to at least check it out. I went to two societies rushes: the Palmer Society and the Thalian Society. Now rush at Whittier College is a bit different than at other schools. For us it is a day where the active (current) members of the society take out prospective members for a day of fun. The Palmer Society took us to Chinatown. We were put into teams and were given a Scavenger hunt. Then they took us out to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. In the afternoon we went to an alumna’s house where we saw a slide show of the Palmers and looked at scrapbooks and photo albums and ate cake and drank Palmer punch (the non-alcoholic version because prospective events and pledging are dry). At the alumna’s house we also heard from all the actives and alumni why they pledged and what Palmers means to them and what they do now. For the Thalian Society rush we went to the horse race track. I was only able to stay for the morning, unfortunately, but I had a great time. After careful consideration I decided that I fit in better with the Palmer Society and, thankfully, I was given a bid (asked to join the society). When I pledged the hazing was VERY limited. Basically just a lot of information to memorize and a lot of late nights. It’s stressful because you are tired but really, I’d do it all again. I decided to pledge because I wanted a place where I could be my quirky self and people would still love me. That’s why I love Palmers. Sure, we are like every other family, there are times when we fight and don’t all of our sisters all the time. In the end, though, we are a family and we love each other and we have each other’s back. That’s what sisterhood means to me.
You may credit me as
Miss Kelsey Marie
“RMO Linus FHC” (we all get big drinking mugs after we pledge with coded nicknames on them)
Palmer Society of Whittier College
NME 2004 (NME = New Member Education –> Whittier’s name for pledging)
Class of 2007 http://web.whittier.edu/palmers/

Anyhow, Chapman is huge on Greek Life. I learned tonight that about 65% of people at my school are members of a sorority or a fraternity. Compare that to NYU – about 10%. But then I guess NYU is traditionally a cooler school. *ducks*.

I wish they all could be alpha phi california girls, I wish they all... I'm tired.

This girl's packing it in, with Jesus and the sorority. What's the bet she's also on the cheer squad?

* For those of you who do not know… the title is a play on how Mandela addressed the nation as president.

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2 Responses to “Brothers and Sisters of America* – The overflow of the News24 Column”

  1. Shannon Says:

    Yeah, I did my undergrad at a small women’s college in Massachusetts, Wellesley College, and we didn’t have sororities (because, as my friend once noted, the school was one big sorority but with lots of homework and no makeup). I don’t think Harvard had a Greek system either. The exception is the African-American frats/sororities which exist on most campuses because they tend to be city-wide, where a chapter will include members from several schools. These have a long history of community service and family ties (you’re an Alpha because your dad and uncle and granddad were Alphas–plus the cane dance is fucking amazing and I never want to go to another wedding where they don’t do it) and remain a very strong networking tool for African-Americans.

  2. jeanbarker Says:

    Interesting. I’m in two minds about it all, as I said. I guess I very easily get my back up against anything involving a grouping. But that doesn’t mean I’m right to do so.

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