By: Ashley Emmens
As the winter rush period is coming to an end for many sororities and fraternities, one lingering question remains in the Greek life community of Hamilton. Why does McMaster refuse to recognize any sororities and fraternities?
According to McMaster’s “Policies, Procedures and Guidelines,” on Dec. 12, 1989, the McMaster Senate approved a motion to prevent the university from granting recognition to fraternities and sororities. This motion also stated that McMaster has no responsibility for them and that they must remain independent of the university. The most recent date of approval of this document was Oct. 11, 2000.
There appears to have been no updates or revisions to this policy in the past 17 years. However, many Greek organizations have died out and many new ones have been introduced since the decision was made. Other Canadian universities, such as the University of Toronto and Carleton, recognize fraternities and sororities on their campus because of the benefits provided. It is time for McMaster to reach out to these Greek organizations, learn what they are about and see how they can contribute to the McMaster experience.
Greek life is a place to belong for students trying to adjust to the transition of going to university, in need of a loving support system, who are looking to make new friends or who feel like something is missing. It is where sisterhood and brotherhood mean lifelong friendships, a shoulder to cry on and many laughs to be had. There is a great diversity in the type of people involved in Greek life with people from different ethnic and social backgrounds and all with their own unique interests.
During rush, students attend social events either by themselves or with their friends, and try to make connections with sisters or brothers. This process builds confidence, conversational skills and teaches students how to network. Whether or not the students continue with Greek life after rush, the skills they have gained can still prove to be vital assets in the workplace.
Business Insider reports that according to a new survey by Gallup, the engagement in the workplace and happiness of Greek members is significantly higher than those who are not involved. The survey by Gallup also indicates that Greeks are better at their jobs because they have a higher likelihood of being more intellectually and emotionally connected with the organizations that they work for as well as being more enthusiastic about their work. According to USA Today College, 85 per cent of Fortune 500 executives were a part of Greek life, and almost all United States Presidents were involved with Greek life.
Another one of the most important things about Greek life is philanthropy. Examples of philanthropy for Greek organizations in Hamilton include:
- Tau Sigma Phi’s focus on breast cancer research
- Delta Psi Delta’s focuses on the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, local women’s shelters and the local food banks
- Lambda Phi Epsilon’s focus on community service
- Alpha Pi Phi’s focus on the Alzheimer Society of Canada
One possible reason McMaster could have adopted its policy against sororities and fraternities might be due to how they are misrepresented in the media. Unfortunately, hazing scandals top headlines, but philanthropy events are more likely to go unnoticed. When many people think about sororities and fraternities, they think of excessive drinking and hazing due to the way that they are depicted in movies and some unfortunate real-life incidents in the past. Today, all sororities and fraternities in Hamilton have strict anti-hazing policies to prevent these things from happening.
Another negative concept that is usually associated with sororities and fraternities is its exclusivity. However, exclusivity is a way to ensure that people who join are surrounded by like-minded people who share a strong social personality.
Greek life is going to exist regardless of whether or not McMaster chooses to recognize it. By incorporating it into the university, McMaster would have the ability more closely regulate it.
In reality, Greek life defies many of the stereotypes placed on it and is centered on academic and moral pillars that involve dedication to academics, philanthropy and sisterhood and brotherhood. It is time for McMaster to recognize all the amazing opportunities that Greek life offers in Hamilton and revise its policy against sororities and fraternities.