Rush week, the week (or longer) of recruitment for fraternities and sororities, will soon kick off another school year for colleges around the U.S. It is the time of some of the wildest and most risky college parties, with the prominent theme being alcohol and drugs, making the dangers of rushing fraternities and sororities worth a closer look.
The main reason students report wanting to join a fraternity or sorority is the sense of belonging and friendship. Some college kids seek to join the Greek letter community for socialization. However, a myriad of social and leadership opportunities exist outside the Greek System on college campuses today.
The Dangers of Rushing Fraternities and Sororities
Fraternities and Sororities offer an acceptance into a clique at the cost of imposing conformity to their views. Underage drinking and illegal substance use are encouraged, dangerous hazing occurs and illegal sexual activities happen frequently.
The anti-intellectualism and binge drinking that dominates fraternities all starts with Rush Week. The Greek houses select new members based primarily on physical attractiveness, economic stature and continuing the high school saga of fitting in with the crowd. Are these the values we want our college kids to embrace?
When a young person’s need for peer acceptance dominates their mentality, it can blind them to the risks of excessive drinking and consequences like promiscuity, violence and addiction.
Parents have a lot to think about when it comes to colleges and having relevant conversations with their children coming of age to help avoid the dangers of rushing fraternities and sororities.
Substance Abuse in the Youth of Florida
The Sunshine State is not immune to underage alcohol abuse and illegal drug use among youths. Miami and other parts of Florida have a reputation for Spring Break and college students’ over-partying.
Over half of Floridian high school students admit to having tried drugs or alcohol. Sometimes parents doubt their influence on teens; however, statistics show that young people whose parents talk to them about the risks of substance abuse are more likely to avoid abusing drugs and alcohol.
Alcohol continues to be the substance most abused by teens in Florida.
Fraternities and Sororities Around the Country
Hardly a week goes by during the school year when there is not a story about a date rape, an alcohol related death or poisoning, or other fraternity-based, abusive behavior.
Recently, eight fraternity members at Penn State University were charged with involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, hazing, furnishing alcohol to minors, and other crimes related to the death of Tim Piazza.
Piazza was a sophomore undergoing hazing rituals on bid acceptance night at the fraternity Beta Theta Pi, which is also being charged with 147 criminal charges. Piazza died after consuming massive amounts of alcohol and falling several times.
Sadly, these types of stories happen all too often on college campuses because of the prevalent use of alcohol and drugs. The issue is especially concerning during the profligate partying of Rush Week when the Greek system houses compete for pledges.
Youth imbues us with a sense of immortality and an “It can’t happen to me” inclination. Young people can feel invincible, especially when drinking. This causes unnecessary risk-taking, and when alcohol abuse is involved:
- massive consumption
- alcohol poisoning
Many people become addicted to substances in their youth.
Alcohol and Violence On Campus
Excessive drinking often leads to risky behaviors and violence. Especially prevalent on college campuses is the physical and sexual assault that happens while students are under the influence.
Frat boy attitudes towards women and sex, coupled with overindulgence in substances, have led to a rape culture environment.
One In Four has compiled some statistics, with references to the attributing research studies, on sexual assault. Here are the startling facts pertaining to rape at college:
- 1 in 4 college women report surviving rape or attempted rape in their lifetime.
- 64% of male rapists were using alcohol and/or drugs prior to their attack.
- The situation with the highest risk for sexual assault for a college woman is when they become voluntarily intoxicated.
- Men in fraternities are three times more likely to commit sexual assault than non-fraternity men.
- Sorority women are 74% more likely to be raped than non-sorority women.
- About ¾ of the time a man rapes a woman at college, the woman is intoxicated.
- Only 11% of women raped at college report it to the police.
- Only 10% of those cases reported to the police result in criminal charges.
- Rape survivors are the largest population of those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
What Parents Can Do
The facts and statistics related to the dangers of rushing fraternities and sororities are terrifying.
Having raised a child to adulthood and sent him or her off to college, the last thing a parent wants to learn is that their child has developed an alcohol or drug problem or engaged in dangerous behavior.
The most meaningful thing parents can do to protect their college students is to talk with them. Opening a discussion about Rush Week before it begins can create a dialog about the risks vs. rewards involved.
Is the hope of peer acceptance and belonging worth the price? What are the consequences of herd mentality? Are there other social clubs your student could consider joining in lieu of a fraternity or sorority?
There is much to contemplate and much to discuss now, before your college student’s classmates are pledging loyalty to a house that may have overstayed its welcome in today’s higher education.