The carnage is not only unsurprising, as John Hechinger notes; it’s more than acceptable, and a great recruiting tool. Along with a rising death toll, there’s been a “50 percent increase in [Greek] membership in the last decade.” The synergy between colleges and universities advertising campus enclaves where sadists can gather unmolested, and fraternities signalling to the same applicant pool the deeply satisfying pleasures of Men in Groups, has over the years grown and thrived and – most recently – been captured on tape, so the whole nation can now enjoy pausing and repeating over the slaughter of eighteen year olds.

UD sees no reason why we should pretend that this arrangement doesn’t make almost everyone happy. Enough with the faux outrage. Watching grieving parents rage is part of the fun.

Universities advertise blood on the gridiron and blood in the frat house because that’s how you attract a valued demographic. Blood lust makes generous alumni.

*********************

[F]or the University of Michigan, Greek life is a liability.

Renée Graham wrote for The Boston Globe last week that “(f)rom hazing deaths to racist parties, fraternities and sororities are incubators of behavior ranging from objectionable to criminal.” And though I promise I’m not trying to be anti-fun, it’s a compelling argument. When was the last time a fraternity made national news for something even marginally wholesome, not for killing a pledge or hosting a blatantly racist party?

Many students go into Greek life in the fall looking for parties, camaraderie and memories to last a lifetime. A nontrivial number of them, though, appear to find the kind of camaraderie that would leave them to lie on a couch for nine hours, dying from alcohol-induced asphyxiation. I realize universities value the sort of alumni loyalty that’s built at fraternities and sororities, but it’s time to [ban them at Michigan].

This is from a strong and well-written student editorial in the UM newspaper.

But this guy forgets the history of his institution. UM is overwhelmingly football and frats now, and it’s too late to change that.

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3 Responses to ““Really what needs to happen is that colleges and fraternities can’t look … the other way and then act all shocked when someone dies,” he said. “For every death there are multiple hospitalizations before that and sexual assaults and horrible behavior. They need to change the environment — it’s a public health issue.””

  1. EB Says:

    The whole Men In Groups framing is a double-edged sword. It has value if the groups are mixed-age so that the teen-to-twenties recklessness is tempered by the older and wiser. It can be fine for pre-pubescent boys. Groups of older men have often developed skills that are beneficial to the community. Of course there are also middle-aged motorcycle gangs . . .

    And there are a couple of age groups of women that are not so friendly either — thinking of 8th grade Mean Girls.

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    EB: Many thanks for those details on the men in groups thing.

    As for Mean Girls in groups: I think it’s only a matter of time before we get the first sorority hazing death.

  3. charlie Says:

    Those Men In Groups were once called “workmates,” the journeymen who taught the apprentices. As the need for skilled craftspeople has dwindled, so has the interaction between the wise and not wise. In the past, no one needed to attend college and go deep into debt in order to learn how to not act stupid…

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