Greeks Tired of Being Scapegoats

Aaron Clark is frustrated that the Greek Community has been blamed, almost exclusively, for the drinking problem at Penn State.

This frustration recently manifested itself in a manner that has become all too familiar… he made a Facebook group.

The group, titled “Greeks for Equal Accountability“, was created “to bring attention to the fact that the IFC, its chapters, and all Greek organizations are making the most concerted effort to minimize risk, excessive drinking, and the negative stigma we began to carry when we were announced #1 Party School.” Started on Wednesday, group membership has quickly swelled to 1,278, more than even Clark imagined. He said, “I wasn’t expecting anything like this, I mean maybe a hundred or so, but I wasn’t aware this kind of feeling was held by so many in the Greek Community.”

The feeling, a desire for the University to “take a concerted look at other organizations and groups of students” instead of just focusing its efforts on the Greek Community, when it comes to combating dangerous drinking, is clearly shared by many.

IFC President Max Wendkos, while not entirely in agreement with the group’s description, said,

I do support the sentiment that Penn State’s often-dangerous drinking culture cannot be completely addressed by focusing solely on the Greek community.  With only 14% of our school’s student population, it is unreasonable to suggest that we alone are the source of Penn State’s troubles.  For those looking to develop a solution to this problem and foster a safer environment, it would certainly be judicious to consider the other involved parties in addition to the Greeks.  Holding all of the students that are consuming alcohol in an unsafe manner “equally accountable” will increase the likelihood of reaching an effective and permanent solution.

When asked what the next step in the quest for “equal accountability” will be, Clark noted that “[He’d] like to see a group come up with an idea sheet about what we’re looking for and what ideas we can come up with to help the University become a safer more responsible place.” The ultimate goal of the group is to work with the IFC, UPUA, Off-Campus Student Union and other organizations to make all students accountable. “We feel that excessive and unsafe drinking is a University-wide problem- to be addressed on all levels…”

Equal accountability is an admirable goal, but it is not without challenges. The Greek system is effectively governed by the IFC and the PHC. This structure makes it much easier to regulate the actions of individual chapters and members. Independent students living off-campus have no such regulatory structure. How do you make accountable those that are essentially faceless, that lack a cohesive leadership structure? It will be a difficult road ahead, but if the plans of Aaron Clark and others succeed, equal accountability will make the University safer and much better off.

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Eli Glazier

Eli is a junior majoring in International Politics. He enjoys paninis and books.

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