Fraternities and sororities are often seen as both detrimental and beneficial to college campuses. Some acknowledge the benefits of Greek organizations for both the individuals who participate in them and for the institution. A fraternity or sorority can provide a caring and supportive subcommunity where students develop interpersonal and leadership skills (Astin 1993), make friends, learn how an organization works, develop a common cause, participate in community service, and have fun (Kuh & Lyons, 1990). Kimbrough (1995) found that Black fraternities and sororities provided a significant source of leadership development opportunities for Black students on predominantly white campuses. In addition, membership in fraternities and sororities has been found to create a connection to the college or university, to increase retention rates, and to increase alumni giving to the institution. At the same time, fraternities and sororities are under fire for behavior that is seen as antithetical to both the goals of higher education and to the ideals upon which the national organizations were founded. Many question the compatibility of Greek organizations with the academy’s educational purposes, values, and attitudes (Kuh & Lyons, 1990; Melaney, 1990; Neuberger & Hanson, 1997). In particular, Greek organizations are questioned for organizational practices that promote status distinction, reinforce conformity and social apathy, and denigrate individual worth and dignity. Incidents of alcohol abuse, hazing, sexual assault, and poor academic performance are often the focus of media attention. Furthermore, in his study of college students, Astin (1993) found that involvement in a fraternity or sorority was negatively associated with GPA, altruism, and social activism while being positively associated with alcohol consumption, hedonism, and materialism.
Over the years, colleges and universities have tackled the...
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