Knocking back greek community stereotypes

Alexandra Harkness

Jennifer BissellâÄôs column, âÄúLetâÄôs be honest about greek life,âÄù was not timely, fact-based or without bias. Throughout the article, she made allusions to the leadership and community service provided by greeks. Still, she maintained that drinking is the sole reason students join greek chapters and that the leadership activities are merely superfluous. She then haphazardly cited one study by the American Psychological Association (APA) that states the greek community is âÄúthe center of campus alcohol culture.âÄù My own research discovered a 2001 APA study published in the journal, Psychology of Addictive Behaviors Vol. 15, No. 1, which showed that increased alcohol consumption amongst greeks is exacerbated by the perception that such behavior is the norm. At the end of BissellâÄôs editorial she challenges the greek communityâÄôs new members to âÄúlive up to the high expectations, not the loose expectations âĦ âÄù Bissell, however, who is setting these expectations? Through the column she intensified perceptions and stereotypes about greeksâÄô drinking. Honestly, is the greek community perfect? No. Are there problems within the community concerning members who drink in excess? Yes, but this problem is not unique to greeks. It is an issue the entire University of Minnesota is faced with. In fact, I would say that more than any other self-governing student organization, the greek community offers its members more tools and support to prevent substance abuse. Bissell should not have berated or mocked the Panhellenic president for touting community advantages. She, like Bissell, is a University student sharpening her skills for the future. Bissell, I can only speak for myself, but I would challenge you to evaluate your own journalistic expectations. Instead of perpetuating stereotypes with almost no factual backing, share constructive thoughts on issues that are relevant and not loosely tied together through biases. Alexandra Harkness University student