Monday, April 21, 2014

Period 6 Blog Post- Due 4/25


http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/02/the-dark-power-of-fraternities/357580/

Consider the author's tone, structure of the article, validity of evidence, persuasive techniques, and your personal reaction.  
2. Please add an intelligent comment (minimum 5 sentences) in response to the linked articles from The Atlantic.  Be sure to use a minimum of one quote in your response.
3. Optional: Comment on a classmates post in a second post (minimum 3 sentences)
*Use only your first name, last initial and class period.

22 comments:

  1. Michael Caminear Period 6
    I have always been marginally aware of the risks and stereotypes that come along with a fraternity, but I've never really delved into the specifics like the article does. Topics such as financial burdens, family issues, and legal persecutions have never even crossed my mind when I think about fraternities. It is because of these risks that I have now second-guessed my previous intentions of possibly joining a fraternity when I go to college. Aside from that, over the years, fraternities have become more and more frowned upon by society. The financial aspects alone show that fraternities are not economically sound and that the people who are within them are automatically presumed to be irresponsible and impulsive. In addition to the potential financial burdens, there is the risk of underage drinking. Douglas Fierberg, a primary opponent of fraternities, even goes to the extent of saying that fraternities are, “the largest industry in this country directly involved in the provision of alcohol to underage people.” This just shows, once again, that older generations and society alike are not fond of the idea of fraternities. They see them as a gateway to trouble and as a path to other negative endeavors. In all, this article really made me think about fraternities and what they stand for altogether.

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  2. Everyone knows about underage drinking, but fraternities bring underage drinking into a whole new light. A light involving dozens of civil law suits, financial problems, and many people now days are frowned upon joining these so called 'frats'. But in reality, I say take a look. My friend he is in a MIT fraternity and they sit around and solve the latest hard math problem and connect with their calculator. I do feel sorry for how fraternities are looked in a dimmed light and most people frown, but I do agree some fraternities have hit the deep end. This meaning that they have leapt over the line of "okay." Many fraternities these days with the various 'ragers' or 'keggers' manage to deal with hundreds of drunk teens nightly, but what I realized is that 'dealing' is just the brim of overload of problems. As Bloomberg's News article mentioned in this article states, "...—the majority of them students—have died in incidents linked to fraternities, a sobering number in itself, but one that is dwarfed by the numbers of serious injuries, assaults, and sexual crimes that regularly take place in these houses." Kids who have a future and this nations future are having their lives slip at these parties. Now there are two routes to take this, blame it on them for going or blame it on the fraternity. Everyone wants that experience, even the most innocent want that one night to rebel and do something stupid, so one really can't blame them for going. The fraternity provides the open bar and the endless kegs of beer. From here the alcohol lowers conscience awareness, half of these people are way above the Blood Alcohol Level and most won't remember what happened and wake up with a stingy headache. Although some these kids last thought was a simple blur, as they fall into the hands of death, who is busy collecting its victims for the night. Death at this age is an eye opener and a heart wrenching tragedy. It makes us look at fraternities in a different viewpoint. If we didn't have fraternities would we have underage drinking? Probably, but would it be less destructive? Would it wreck less havoc? Fraternities has survived throughout the centuries in places like Union College, WPI, Wesleyan, etc., is it time to cut them off? Is it time to stop fraternities? This article really has opened up my eyes to the harsh realities of fraternities and makes me really question whether joining sed sorority of fraternity is a good idea.
    Miranda S. Period 6

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  3. Before reading this article I just assumed it would be about all the stereotypical drinking that goes on in a fraternity. However, after reading this I would agree that there is a problem within fraternities, not only with drinking but with other issues such as sexual assault or the actual unsafeness of a fraternity house. For example in an article on fraternities from the Atlantic, the author captioned a series of photos stating that "about half of American Fraternities are not equipped with fire sprinklers." In those pictures there was examples of fraternity houses that had suffered severe damage so clearly the danger of the old and not well kept fraternity houses there can be danger for the students. Another thing I noticed was that in this article the author mostly focused on the bad things that go on in fraternity houses across the nation but failed to mention any of the good things that might happen in a fraternity such as community service and getting to know a lot of people. Clearly there is a reason that fraternities still exist so I believe that perhaps the ways of those in a fraternity have become flawed and that colleges should focus on changing the idea and stereotypes that come along with the word "fraternity."
    Jessica M. Period 6

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  4. This article points out the problems associated with fraternities. A bunch of college men drinking and encouraging each other to do stupid stuff can lead to serious damage. Although fraternities have stepped away from the famous hazing, there are still other issues going on. For example the safety and conditions of the houses. In the article the guy could of prevented falling off the balcony if there was a railing in place .Bloomberg News’s David Glovin and John Hechinger noted." since 2005, more than 60 people—the majority of them students—have died in incidents linked to fraternities, a sobering number in itself, but one that is dwarfed by the numbers of serious injuries, assaults, and sexual crimes that regularly take place in these houses." Proving some changes need to be made in fraternities to make them safer for students. I am also aware of some fraternities that do more community services and good rather then partying all the time. I don't believe all fraternities are harmful, but there are some that need more guidelines.
    Rachel C per 6

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  5. Even with all of the presented information in the article, I can't say I'm convinced there would be any noticeable change for the better if college fraternities didn't exist. The author makes it clear that college students make dangerous decisions, especially around other young people, but do we know if the fraternities are really to blame. In my opinion, no matter how you deal with fraternities, the problems presented in the article will still occur. These issues aren't a result of frat life, they are a result of young adults living away from the confines of their parents. The only real fraternity-specific issue I could understand being problematic is the more extreme hazing and dangerous "rituals" during pledging processes. These instances have fortunately decreased significantly in frequency in the past decade.
    The article briefly mentions that "The organizations raise millions of dollars for worthy causes, contribute millions of hours in community service, and seek to steer young men toward lives of service and honorable action." These benefits outweigh the issues which are only loosely connected with fraternities to begin with. I decided to further emphasize the positive components of fraternities by just searching for a random fraternity online. This website: http://kappasigma.org/ makes it clear that fraternities are more than drunken college-goers wasting their tuition money. The whole website is plastered with evidence of dedication to the community, leadership, and positive growth. Not to mention the fact that many fraternities create bonds that turn into brotherhoods that never die.

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  7. As a kid i would have strange conversations with my parents (well strange for people who aren't in my family). We would talk about anything from the repercussions of Europe taking over large portions of Africa to the scientific break down of chocolate. As you can guess we came around to the topic of frats and how they had not really existed when my parents were in college. Both of my parents were grandfathered in to the drinkable age (the year after they turned 18 they raised the drinking age). And so they didn't really need a place to get drunk because they were technoly legal. But the people who came after they did needed a place that they could get alcohol, and so the frats were created. Frats in there basic forms are places for college kids can go to get drunk and not have to worry. But as any one who has ever studied brains under the influence you know that alcohol affects your inhibitions. Also college kids brains are still growing so to bring together a group of kids who wont say to almost anything, growing brains, and large numbers you get frats and everything goes bad. "For every butt bomb, there’s a complaint of manslaughter, rape, sexual torture, psychological trauma." This is not how college is suppose to be. You shouldn't have to worry about a drunk frat boy raping you or blowing up his butt. And as i'm sure that people blew up there butts before there was probably a way lower number. Frats are so scary because a bring together a group of drunk people into a group of ever drunker larger people.
    sam H period 6

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  8. In this day and age we have ideas brought forward about anything and everything that goes on in the world through media. It's common knowledge to the average person that a frat is most likely a group of jocks drinking beer and having sex with all the "babes on campus". In reality though there are much more serious crimes that are connected with frats including anything from sexual assault, to drunk driving, serious high level drug abuse, and obvious damaging of property. The one major thing I have to point out is that these are young guys who are stupid, period. Just because we're giving these groups a label of, "Fraternity", doesn't mean by banning them will we accomplish anything. Groups of young men are going to get together one way or another to do stupid things. Call it whatever you want, but its going to happen regardless and most of the time it not nearly as extreme as presented in the article such as the "blowing of bottle rockets from his ass." These extreme situations should be the things we focus on removing because the majority of Frats are great! They help young men find a place where they fit in. They create unending friendships and can potentially prepare men for the business world. Many leaders of fortune 500 companies have arisen from these Frats, so why take that away? In the end the process of growing up means being stupid and getting hurt because of it then hopefully learning from it, we should just probably encourage the men to refrain from the absolutely absurd rituals and hazing.
    Sonny G. Pr. 6

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  9. Before reading this article I was already aware of the types of things that happen in fraternities, getting drunk and partying and consequentially injuring yourself or someone else. But I do have to say I was kind of surprised of some of the other things that happen, like the large percentage of claimed assault and battery. But fraternities have at least drifted somewhat away from the traditions of hazing, and that is a good thing that I think can be helped and maintained. I don't believe you could ever get rid of the party life on a college campus, regardless of whether or not they have fraternities and sororities, it's a natural part of being away at college and having that sense of freedom. One thing that did strike me though was the lack of safety measures in many fraternity houses, like the absence of many sprinklers in case of a fire or no railings on porches. All in all I don't think getting rid of fraternities would generally change anything, it may even make students feel more rebellious, just encourage the move away from hazing and more safety features keeping what they do in mind.
    Leah B Period 6

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  10. Before I read this article, I was aware that fraternities had a bad reputation with many people. However, this article discussed just how serious the problems with fraternities may be. It says, "Far from being freakish and unpredictable events, fatal and near-fatal falls from fraternity-house roofs, balconies, windows, and sleeping porches are fairly regular occurrences across the country." People getting drunk at a college party and possibly getting hurt are clearly a problem. But it isn't as avoidable as one might think. Even if fraternities were done away with, the practice would continue. I know that some colleges have banned fraternities, but that has just led to off-campus fraternities, or in other cases, just a different name for the same organization. I agree that there are problems with fraternities and the accidents that happen there, but I don't think there's an easy fix for this problem, since college kids will act the same, with or without fraternities. Jessica L. Period 6

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  11. Fraternities have too much power. Universities seem to overlook the illegal and dangerous parties and conditions the fraternity houses are kept in, as long as fraternity alumni continue to donate large checks to the collage. “Moreover, fraternities tie alumni to their colleges in a powerful and lucrative way. At least one study has affirmed what had long been assumed: that fraternity men tend to be generous to their alma maters. Furthermore, fraternities provide colleges with unlimited social programming of a kind that is highly attractive to legions of potential students, most of whom are not applying to ivy-covered rejection factories, but rather to vast public institutions and obscure private colleges that are desperate for students.” Considering fraternities private property, so the university has little control over what happens at fraternity house, is ridiculous. “Adult supervision was nowhere to be found. Colleges had little authority to intervene in what took place in the personal lives of its students visiting private property.” It seems alumni, pledges, and the collages protect the fraternities more than they care about the well being of their students. So many of the incidents of student injuries that Flanagan mentioned in her article were preventable. Not having railings on decks, open windows without safety bars, and the lack of any responsible house parent, if fixed, could have saved lives. Universities need to place stricter rules on fraternities, care more about their students, and care less about fraternities hold on their donations.

    Caitie Perricone
    Period 6

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  12. Jackson Mariottti
    Period 6
    This article cases a dark light on fraternities. It almost seems as if Caitlin Flanagan, the author, holds fraternities responsible for all underage drinking. While they certainly do not discourage it, fraternities are only a small part of college drinking. Even without their parties, people would find a to drink and party. She also seems very biased. Fraternities have many upsides as well, such as creating links for future careers, but she did not mention any of those. However there is a problem that needs to be solved. I looked the solution she cited from Wesleyan University. "Wesleyan has a rare requirement. All undergraduates, barring those few who receive special allowances, must live either in dorms or in Program Housing." This could decrease many incidents that occur in fraternities, especially hazing. I think it is a great solution but more needs to be done. Universities should threaten to get rid of fraternities if they step out of line with their partying. Then, they wouldn't do as many stupid things as they do.

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  13. I think it is worth noting, before I talk about fraternities and sororities, that all of my information regarding greek life is based on movies and tv shows. I know people who used to be in fraternities, but no one who is in one now. Greek Life seems to me all about exclusivity and making its members feel good that they were chosen, or lucky enough to be a member. I think that is a destructive way to make your friends, especially in a time when you should be branching out and learning about different kinds of people. It also must create a certain type of pressure, because knowing that you are a member of something exclusive can make you believe you are something that you just aren't. If some kid was a member of a baseball team and everyone on the baseball team was in this one fraternity, chances are he is in the fraternity. This would elevate the risk because everyone is more susceptible to peer pressure when they feel a little out of place. This article cemented some of the negative ideas I had about fraternities, but above all else, it showed me how dangerous they are! The fact that safety regulations aren't followed was really scary. Everyone makes mistakes, especially those under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, and if there are no basic safety precautions taking place, usually benign situations could turn very unfun quickly. My main question, was how do the Universities allow this to happen? And the answer made complete sense. “Moreover, fraternities tie alumni to their colleges in a powerful and lucrative way." It is no wonder why universities and colleges want to create a more intense connection between student and college, they want to make money off them one day. If there was at least some supervision of the safety of the buildings, I'm sure that would be expensive for the members, probably making fraternities less popular. The ignorance of regulations is a very backwards way of achieving fraternity and sorority popularity.
    Emma P per6

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  14. Ahmad Zaidi
    Period6
    This article talks about how reckless and dangerous fraternities and how much harm can it cause to the students in it. Normally students think of fraternities as cool but they can be really destructive. The article gives examples of students getting drunk, having out of control parties and dangerous stunts. For example it says “ Lawsuits against fraternities are becoming a growing matter of public interest, in part because they record such lurid events, some of them ludicrous, many more of them horrendous." This also shows how fraternities are also in law troubles many times.

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  16. Basically, my opinion rests on the basis that "When arguments are made in their favor, they are arguments in defense of a foundational experience for millions of American young men, and of a system that helped build American higher education as we know it. Fraternities also provide their members with matchless leadership training. While the system has produced its share of poets, aesthetes, and Henry James scholars, it is far more famous for its success in the powerhouse fraternity fields of business, law, and politics. An astonishing number of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, congressmen and male senators, and American presidents have belonged to fraternities. Many more thousands of American men count their fraternal experience—and the friendships made within it—as among the most valuable in their lives. The organizations raise millions of dollars for worthy causes, contribute millions of hours in community service, and seek to steer young men toward lives of service and honorable action."

    -A A Ron

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  17. In all honesty, I believe fraternities are awesome. The article tells a lot about all the bad stuff that happens or might happen. They tell stories about people that got very hurt being i a fraternity, and at what cost being a part of this might impact you as a member. Its become big according to the article, and this reference point talks about the houses that are being used as a "member group house", i dont know what to call it. "Today, 32 fraternities belong to this trust. In 2006, a group of seven other fraternities bought their own insurance " It obviously says that something might get out of hand sometimes. However, one thing that I believe the article doesnt speek enough about is the fact that a lot of good things come out being a part of fraternities. (Using the same point as A A RON) "An astonishing number of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, congressmen and male senators, and American presidents have belonged to fraternities." At least what this tells me is that being a part of something is great. You feel like you have something in common with your group. They back you up if you are having a hard time, and they are there for you. This strengthens you as a person, and I think this is important for us as human beings. This feeling that you are part of something!

    Christian F.
    period 6

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  18. My older sister had friends who were in frats. All they did was party, within the last week of school one frat had to evacuate their house. Frats are well know for their crazy parties but a majority of the time this craziness leads to destruction. The article states, 'Far from being freakish and unpredictable events, fatal and near-fatal falls from fraternity-house roofs, balconies, windows, and sleeping porches are fairly regular occurrences across the country." Frats seem fun and a great college experience but these "parties' are out of control.
    Teagan

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  19. Although I can see how fraternities are a way for people who don't play sports to have a peer group and connect with classmates in college, they seem to cause more harm then good. They encourage excessive partying and drug use and can be very dangerous if things got out of control. It would be ignorant to ignore the fact that partying is a natural part of college life and the overall experience but frat parties in my mind have always had a bad reputation. Recently, news stories have come out of girls in college who were raped or harassed at these frat parties when things got out of hand. Perhaps frats should not be entirely put to an end but instead reevaluated by the school about if they have an actual purpose for existing.
    Cassidy M.

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  20. This article points out a lot of issues with fraternities, it really shows how bad they can be, but I disagree. I think fraternities are a good experience for any college student that would care to partake in one. Besides the rituals that you have to go through to get into the fraternity (which can be dangerous) I don't see much wrong. It's a great way to meet people and make friends that you'll potentially stay in contact with for the rest of your life. Now I'd never join a frat, it's just not my style, but putting an end to fraternities isn't a good idea. I say this because none of these problems that people blame frats on will go away. It's college, guys are going to do whatever crazy stuff they want with or without a fraternity, and it's not like nothing good as come out of fraternity's "An astonishing number of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, congressmen and male senators, and American presidents have belonged to fraternities. Many more thousands of American men count their fraternal experience and the friendships made within it as among the most valuable in their lives." like I said the people you meet in a fraternity you'll stay in contact with for the rest of your life. It's a special bond that you build that you can't really have with anyone else, and that's why I think greek life is such an essential part to the college lifestyle.
    -Aodhan Dunn
    Period 6

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  21. Fraternities and Sororities can have many different impacts on the people living in them. And while I personally would never consider one as a means of living while in college, I understand that with the right group of people, living in one can be a very rewarding experience.
    That being said, the way that the author had wrote this article, like many articles in the Atlantic times I find, it had many criticisms that did not seem reasonable and it had a few very controversial statements/ opinions that were woven into the facts of the article. Even the pictures on the sides of the margins. There were three photos by my count of teenagers falling with cups of alcohol (presumable beer). This was meant to persuade the readers that all fraternities and sororities are good for is getting drunk. While this may be the case for a few of them, this is certainly not the case for all of them.
    Among my many criticisms of the author and article was something I had not even noticed until pointed out by one of the comments. The author never even recognizes that these students are adults, capable of making their own decisions. In one quote she sarcastically states, "...and on the other that the colleges work hard to protect the physical and emotional well-being of their precious children." This was interesting to me so I searched throughout the article for the word "adult" and the only places it was used was in the comments. I then searched the word "children" and she had used that word four times describing the students that are living at these colleges.
    These students are all 18 or older, thus making them adults. They are old enough to join the military so therefore they should be expected to act responsibly. Calling them all children is an insult.
    Shoshanna Longo
    Period 6

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  22. I always knew what the basic idea of fraternities and sororities was but I never knew what went on inside of these societies. Most people are aware that underage drinking happens at college and at frats but I never knew that they are, “the largest industry in this country directly involved in the provision of alcohol to underage people.” This comes as somewhat of a shock to me considering most frats are established for educational purposes. That said I feel like this article is kinda biased and making generalizations that ALL fraternities undergo these behaviors. I know for a fact that there are many fraternities that are only in place for the students benefit and refrain from the illegal activities described in this article.Like most things there are probably good and bad fraternities and saying that all frats have a bad impact on students is untrue.
    Hannah Beatty

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