Letter: It’s time to dismantle greek life at UMN

We must be inflammatory and call out for change.


Courtesy Google Images

A street view of fraternity row at the University of Minnesota from September 2016.

Cameron Gray and Drew Honson

If the Minnesota Student Association (MSA) presidential candidates really cared about supporting sexual assault survivors, they would advocate shutting down the antiquated systems that perpetuate rape culture.

Calling to shut down greek life is so taboo, however, that every ballot panders to that community. Every ballot includes candidates that aim to empower cultures that enable hyper-masculinity and rape culture.

We need to stop deluding ourselves that having greeks watch a movie or have an hour discussion on toxic masculinity will solve these systemic problems. Remember, greek life is only 11 percent of the student population and is responsible for a disproportionate number of reported sexual assaults on campus, and we cannot know how many go unreported. If you are part of the system, you enable and perpetuate its protection of rapists. And every pair of MSA presidential candidates either has a social greek member or has pledged to support greek interests.

We must be inflammatory and call out for change. The university’s actions have made its position painfully clear: It will not protect victims of greek life’s violence. It will not meaningfully punish organizations that spawn and protect rapists.

DU was temporarily suspended after its international headquarters learned of sexual assault allegations and other potential policy violations by the chapter’s members. The fraternity’s headquarters knew months beforehand and still did nothing.

Abby Honold was personally texted to not speak at a PHC/IFC event because her “assault was so tied to the greek community.”

SAE served only one year of suspension before the university let it back on campus.

Let us not forget that sexual assault is not the only issue that the greek system reinforces: Misogyny, toxic masculinity, and racism abound in these groups. This is intolerable behavior and it should shock us to see how normalized it still is.

I personally quit a fraternity after being an active member for six months. While I did not see any criminal activity, I did see systematized sexism and toxic masculinity. Of course not all greeks are bad people, but I cannot condone the system and neither should MSA candidates with bold claims of victim support. If you are greek, you are responsible for furthering the toxic ideologies and unapologetic criminality of the greek system.

Cameron Gray, CBS Student Senator; Drew Honson

Editor’s Note: This letter has been lightly edited for style and grammar.

Correction: A previous version of this letter mischaracterized the reasons surrounding the temporary suspension of University of Minnesota’s Delta Upsilon chapter.