Is behavior of Miami U sororities specific to Greek life?

Yet another sorority from Miami University has been reprimanded for disorderly conduct — e.g. excessive drinking, vomiting, verbal harassment — during a social function. (Click here to read about the first and here to read about the second.) It raises the question: Is this behavior specific to Greek life?

In full disclosure, I was never in a sorority, and I never thought about pledging one. Now before I get labeled an uppity GDI, I did have friends who were in sororities, many of whom did not reflect the stereotypes typically associated with sororities (and some who did). On the other hand, my ex-boyfriend and many of my friends were in a fraternity, and I also dealt with sororities in that regard, which sometimes did reinforce those negative stereotypes.

Many of the negative stereotypes revolve around being rowdy and taking things to the extreme, such as partying hard, being wild, and drinking excessively. But are these three incidents, and others like them, a product of sororities exemplifying how they think they should be acting? Did they simply get too drunk, or did the alcohol only add fuel to the fire that is the wild Greek-life reputation?

Also, would this be getting any attention if these were fraternities? Maybe, but I don’t think as much, likely because guys are expected to destroy things and let their bodily functions go everywhere. Women, on the other hand, are expected — and for some reason guys get a pass — to be polite, well-mannered, and not disgusting. Have you seen a women’s bathroom in a dorm? Women can be beyond disgusting. Everyone should be expected to have some manners.

Anyway, as college students, it’s assumed you’ll party hard; but the ladder is raised when you are in Greek-life, which despite it’s philanthropy also focuses a lot on socializing, parties, and drinking. Handling your liquor is a rite of passage and, for sororities and fraternities that haze, it can play a major role in the process of becoming part of the Greek organization.

Alternatively, maybe sororities are just a large group of people who, as an organization, have the resources to rent places and vehicles to have social functions, so the debauchery is more public. Rarely would a gigantic group of friends have the forethought, funds, or desire to rent out a space for a social function — after all, their friendship is informal and parties can easily be had at someone’s house.

And at people’s houses (Greek and non-Greek), I’ve seen a lot of the stuff described by the owners of these rented spaces. From the first sorority party:

Participants urinated in sinks, vomited and broke a concrete lion and other items. Two couples were caught having sex, some people tried to swim in the lake, someone flipped over the appetizer table, and men climbed over a counter to get drinks after the caterer cut off alcohol. A pile of human feces was found outside the lodge, she wrote.

I’ve seen vomit all over floors and in bathrooms; I’ve seen toilets get clogged and people just urinate in them anyway, or wherever they see fit as long as it’s in the bathroom (or outside somewhere); I’ve seen people get their personal property broken by drunken partygoers; I’ve had people spill things on my couch or my floor; I’ve seen people steal alcohol; and people definitely are not shy about finding a place to have sex, or at least partake in some degree of sexual relations.

So, is this behavior really specific to sororities? Sororities likely feel pressure to exemplify the Greek-life stereotype, but most college students feel pressure to exemplify the young-partier stereotype — in these cases, the damage is more public and disturbing because they weren’t trashing the house of one of their peers, but of historic or private places rented out typically only for formal occasions.

Saying that their behavior is typical is not condoning it, though — when you rent out a place and hire someone to drive you there, you should have the decency — especially as a representative of a larger organization — to handle your liquor and not get out of hand. These public displays of debauchery are not cool or edgy, but in fact are disgusting and immature.  

In fact, adults often don’t graduate from this type of behavior — someone I know went to a winery as part of a work function, and the grown adults couldn’t handle their wine in that instance, either. Someone came back from the work trip to the winery and vomited all over a wall in the office. I’m sure there are plenty of other office party stories like this one.  

So maybe the lesson in all of this is to learn some self-control and not use alcohol as a scapegoat for acting irresponsibly and ridiculous, which is something many people — old, young, Greek-life, non-Greek-life — seem to do.


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2 Responses to “Is behavior of Miami U sororities specific to Greek life?”

  1. Tristan Navera Says:

    Nonetheless, it’s been a particularly rough year for Greek life in terms of high-profile out-of-control parties. OU also has a sorority in trouble for the same kind of behavior, on top of the frat suspended for hazing.

    Put in context of this year’s fest season and other debacles, though, it’s pretty clear this sort of behavior is becoming the norm for every group.

  2. collegecara Says:

    I’m a Miami University Student, female, no affiliation with Greek life. I have friends in the sororities that have been suspended, and from talking to lots of girls, in all sororities there are the bad apples, the followers, and the girls who steer clear of trouble. At Miami, where Greek Life reigns on high, to a lot of people, being in a sorority or fraternity is looked down on. I know that when someone tells me they’re Greek, I think “Hmm… I wonder if you’re a promiscuous binge drinker…”

    The reality is.. this rise in Greek “debacles”, as Tristan put it, is a disgrace to the university, the young men and women involved in these crude displays, and to Greek life in its entirety. In the end, greek life brings in millions of $$ in revenue for charities every year, and those who break the rules are punished. It’s a part of life I guess.

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