Greek Life on Campus

November 20, 2015 • Volume 25, Issue 42
Should colleges ban fraternities and sororities?
By Jane Friedman


Friends and family of Armando Villa (Getty Images/Los Angeles Times/Luis Sinco)
Friends and family of Armando Villa, 19, call for an end to fraternity hazing at California State University, Northridge, after he died during a fraternity hike last year. Prosecutors said evidence of manslaughter or hazing was inconclusive, but a university investigation blamed hazing. Since 2005, more than 60 people have died in fraternity-related incidents. (Getty Images/Los Angeles Times/Luis Sinco)

Fraternities and sororities, prominent on college campuses for nearly two centuries, are under intense scrutiny because of misdeeds — largely by fraternity members — ranging from binge drinking and racism to deadly hazing injuries and sexual assault. Since 2005, more than 60 people have died in fraternity-related incidents, according to Bloomberg News, and this fall 37 New York City fraternity members were charged in the death of a pledge, including five who face murder charges. Supporters of Greek organizations argue that only a small number of members commit serious violations. Moreover, they say fraternities and sororities — now at a record 750,000 members — provide invaluable leadership training, networking opportunities and emotional and academic support. Still, a national association representing 73 fraternities has commissioned task forces to address Greek hazing, sexual assault and alcohol use. And some critics want to go further. They are recommending that Greek organizations go coed, hoping that women would have a civilizing effect on behavior, or are pushing for an outright ban on fraternities and sororities — ideas that Greek groups strongly resist.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Colleges and Universities
May 20, 2022  Free Speech on Campus
Dec. 04, 2020  Graduates' Prospects
Sep. 11, 2020  Higher Education in the COVID Era
Oct. 26, 2018  Issues in Higher Education
Nov. 20, 2015  Greek Life on Campus
May 08, 2015  Free Speech on Campus
Jan. 02, 2015  College Rankings
Jan. 18, 2013  Future of Public Universities
Feb. 04, 2011  Crime on Campus
Jan. 07, 2011  Career Colleges
Apr. 21, 2000  Community Colleges
Feb. 16, 1996  Academic Politics
Jan. 05, 1990  What Should College Students Be Taught?
Jul. 27, 1984  Colleges in the 1980s
Jan. 23, 1981  Plight of America's Black Colleges
Apr. 11, 1980  College Admissions
Sep. 06, 1974  College Recruiting
Mar. 01, 1974  Academic Tenure
Sep. 14, 1966  Graduate School Crush
Crime and Law Enforcement
Diversity Issues
Student Movements
Students and Social Life