Greek Life limits opportunities for male students

Emanuel Perris


The University’s eight fraternities and nine sororities have recently completed their fall recruitment and are in the process of initiating their new members.  While the past few weeks have been an exciting time for the lucky few students who were offered bids, they have held only bitter disappointment for many more.  The University should recognize more fraternities, because the type of exclusion typical of Villanova Greek life contradicts the University’s principle of unitas.  

I took part in this semester’s fall rush and saw firsthand the disparity between interest in fraternity membership and its availability.  Fall rush started three weeks ago today with a series of “meet and greet” events, during which active brothers of the University’s fraternities shared information about their organizations with potential new members.  Some of these events were attended by over 150 sophomore students desperately trying to make an impression on the active members they sought to join.  Unfortunately, a typical pledge class consists of only about fifteen members.  In some of the smaller fraternities, pledge classes this fall were as small as six.  Consequently, the vast majority of men interested in joining Greek life this fall were unable to do so.  

This exclusivity is unacceptable in a University that supposedly places great value in unity.  How can we claim to be part of one unified community when we are stratified into ultra-competitive social niches?  If the University is to be as unified as our ideals claim, Greek life needs to be made more accessible to male students.  

Perhaps the easiest way to make fraternities more accessible is to expand existing chapters.  The University’s sororities are comparable in number to the University’s fraternities but are much larger and accommodate many more students.  The typical sorority pledge class is about fifty students, rather than fifteen.  Requiring fraternities to expand could in theory make Greek life accessible to more male students without increasing number of chapters on campus.  The University could impose a minimum number of new members that must be accepted every semester to ensure the gradual growth of the campus’ fraternities.  However, there is a problem with this approach.  Fraternities value brotherhood and pride themselves on being tightknit groups in which everyone knows and supports everyone else.  While sorority sisters maintain that they form close bonds despite their numbers, some fraternity brothers express concern about the environment of a large chapter.

“It’s about brotherhood,” one fraternity member said. “One of the perks of being in a smaller fraternity is having stronger brotherhood.”

Forcing fraternities to greatly expand their membership would allow more students into fraternities, but would destroy the close-knit fraternity environment for all fraternity members, new or old.  Ruining the fraternity experience would render its increased accessibility pointless.  A different solution is needed to expand fraternity accessibility.  

One such solution is the extension of recognition to former University fraternities that have recently had their recognition revoked.  These so called “underground” fraternities still have houses and members but are no longer recognized by the University.  If they were to be readmitted into the University, at least two already functioning fraternities could be created overnight with almost no effort by the University. This solution too comes with a fairly large asterisk.  The underground fraternities lost their recognition for a reason.  They were removed from the University, because they committed blatant and repeated policy violations.  These fraternities have already proven themselves unwilling or incapable of following the University’s rules and the need to increase access to fraternities does not warrant their revival.  

The best option for expanding fraternity accessibility is the creation of new fraternity chapters.  If the University creates new chapters, then more students will be able to join fraternities, fraternity chapters can stay as large or as small as they want to, and the student body will be kept safe through fraternities’ strict adherence to University police.