1970: First Impressions of Fraternities

Fraternity members often have a deep bond and association with fellow Fraternal brothers. Many fraternities would agree that the greek system is something that needs to be experienced in order to be properly understood. At Madison College in 1970, Fraternities were a minority. Therefore, these organizations were open to a unique form discrimination. This once all-female campus carried a variety of opinions about the newly emerging fraternities.

In March of 1970, there was a very mild and seemingly mundane incident recorded through a short series of letters to the Breeze. However, this case spoke volumes on the misconceptions that some students may have had about fraternities.


The scene began one cloudy Wednesday morning, stated the anonymous author under the passive-aggressive pseudonym “Disgusted”. “Disgusted” was witness to an act of violence against a young man outside of D-Hall. What began as a line dispute, quickly became a mismatched beating. “Disgusted” and most likely other witnesses at the scene instantly interpreted the archetypal alpha male cutting in line, picking fights, to be a Frat boy. But as one continues to read on to the other points of view in this incident, it is simply not the case. The victim identifies himself as Bob Conroy and corrects “Disgusted” to the fact that the offender was not affiliated with any fraternity.
Based on these letters, it is safe to presume that a portion of the Madison College student body held a negative predisposition towards Fraternity men at this time. People, such as “Disgusted”, believed most Fraternity men were simply bullies. That misconception caused “Disgusted” to naturally associate this individual with a fraternity, solely on one act of aggression.

 

 

 

October 7th, 1970, an article was published in the Breeze attempting to clarify any previous misconceptions about Greek Life at Madison College. This shows that there was a significant enough population of students with negative opinions towards fraternities that they needed to dedicate an article to address them. In the article, the author stresses that personal opinion and individuality is not lost within fraternities. She also stresses that fraternities are meant to both work hard and play hard. Not merely the latter. Transversely, it is implied that there were a portion of non-greeks who believed that individuality was indeed lost in fraternities. These non-greeks whom the author addresses felt that the Greek System was based on a desire for social acceptance.

Due to the lack of polls available with hard statistical evidence on the opinions of the masses on this issue, the above is an analysis of a culmination of various articles and Letters to the Editor of the Breeze voicing many different views on Fraternities. These burgeoning organizations at Madison College faced criticisms such as the above examples for years to come.  But were they completely unfounded, or was there truth behind the stereotype?  The next decade chronicles fraternities’ fight to become a respected and permanent entity at Madison.

 

Works Cited:

Various. “Letters to the Editor”, The Breeze, March 4th, 11th, 18th, 1970

Matthews, Karen. “Member Explains Greek System”, The Breeze, Oct 7, 1970