Something that people don’t tend to realize about Greek life on college campuses is that sororities that are part of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) are not allowed to have alcohol, or throw parties in their sorority houses. There are 26 sororities associated with the NPC, and a lot of campuses have almost exclusively NPC sororities. So that means that the girls have to rely on the guys for parties, and that can lead to some dangerous situations.
The problem with the parties being only allowed in the fraternity houses is that the boys have total control over these parties. Fraternity parties are completely controlled by the young men in the fraternity, with them even deciding who can and can not attend. On top of that, if a sorority wants to have a party with alcohol, they have to throw an unofficial mixer with a fraternity at the fraternity’s house, thus still leaving them at the will of the young men. In a situation with alcohol where men have complete control, it can lead to a higher risk of sexual assault.
There was a study done that showed that men in fraternities were three times more likely to commit sexual assault. That’s not say all fraternity men commit sexual assault, and there are plenty of other campus organizations with similar statistics. But not allowing sororities to throw their own parties and control their own situations is something that definitely feeds into this problem.
The reason that the NPC gives for this seemingly archaic rule is that it’s much cheaper to insure sororities if alcohol isn’t allowed in their houses. Sorority members pay about $25 to $50 a year for insurance policies, while fraternity members pay $180. Considering how expensive it already is to be a member of Greek life, saving money isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
There are sororities however that can host parties in their houses. These are sometimes called “local” sororities, and they tend to be smaller and are not run by a governing organization like the NPC. At Dartmouth University, there is a local university called Sigma Delta. Sigma Delta originally was established as a chapter of the NPC sorority Sigma Kappa, but broke away due to differences with the national organization. There are other non-Panhellenic traditional sororities across the country, and even international ones like Alpha Pi Phi in Canada. So if a young woman going through recruitment has a local sorority on campus, the option is there for an experience that allows more freedom and power for the young women involved.
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