Clarion, Pa.- Greek Life is an integral part of college life on campuses across the country. Clarion University is no exception to that, but in recent years there has been a large decline in Greek Life’s presence on campus. Within the last year, Clarion University saw the loss of four fraternities and few small honors organizations.
With this sudden departure of so many recognized Greek organizations, Clarion is seeing a significant setback to Greek Life that could continue. The question is, does the university still wish to recognize Greek Life, or just get rid of it all together with Greek Life gaining such a negative connotation all across the country with every report related to hazing, racism or sexual violence among other problems some chapters face on the national stage.
In spring 2015, Clarion withdrew recognition of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity after a series of hearings and policy violations came to light. This withdrawal meant that the organization is no longer allowed to meet, fundraise or be recognized as an organization associated with Clarion University or any of its other organizations.
Along with TKE no longer being recognized by Clarion, Phi Mu Alpha and Theta Xi were closed by their nationals for low membership. Phi Sigma Kappa chose to disband on its own due to similar reasons. With these closures, that leaves three fraternities and six sororities still active on campus.
With such a large and drastic decrease in Greek Life on campus, other organizations are beginning to fear for their organizations as well. Many are calling out the policies and rules aimed directly at them and no other large groups.
One such policy is a rule that any social gathering between groups, hosted on or off campus, has to be registered with and approved by the school ahead of time. If an organization is found to be having any kind of social that was not approved by the school, them all involved could be subject to having their recognition at Clarion withdrawn.
That fear translates into Greek Life feeling like targets in some cases when what they work so hard for is a good name and to do well. Phi Sigma Sigma, for example, hosts school supply drives, volunteers at PAWS and participates in other philanthropy events year round.
Gabrielle Kashner, a sister of Phi Sigma Sigma, is one such member of Greek Life that feels targeted.
“The drinking policy seemed to only be pushed on us super heavily.” Kasher says of one of the policies set toward Greek Life, “People just automatically act rude when you mention Greek Life, professors and others of the like especially.”
Being in a fraternity or sorority has always come with its negative connotations including the issue of hazing. The issue with that negative stereotype is that it is widely hated throughout Greek Life as students who are a part of it work hard for their philanthropy, to get good grades and to love their fellow members.
Assistant Director of Leadership and Involvement Brian Hoover affirms, “Greek Life at Clarion isn’t dying. It has slowed down in membership over the years, but those that are here are thriving.”
Clarion University’s policies are set in place to root out Greek Life organizations not holding up their standards of character, but those same policies are also causing mixed reactions among fraternity and sorority members, 10 percent of the student body. Clarion University has had Greek Life on this campus for decades, and some current members are scared for the future.