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USC Administration Unfairly Targets Greek System

Jordan Gary |
October 16, 2013 | 4:30 p.m. PDT


Shutting down The Row indefinitely is not going to solve the transport problem. (Kansas Sebastian, Creative Commons)
Shutting down The Row indefinitely is not going to solve the transport problem. (Kansas Sebastian, Creative Commons)
Lately, I have heard countless people discussing how Congress is out of control, and, while I agree, I have a bone to pick with a different governing body: the Nikias administration.

They have been unfair to say the very least.

This past weekend, the University of Southern California saw eight transports to the hospital. One of these transports was particularly unfortunate. A female student, who does not attend USC, fell from a table at Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) Thursday night, sustained major injuries and is currently being hospitalized.

SEE ALSO: USC Cracks Down On Frat Row As LMU Student Continues In Serious Condition

This is a serious problem, there is no downplaying that. In my opinion, eight transports is eight too many, and I have a feeling the university agrees with me.

However, in trying to fix that problem, I believe the wrong steps are being taken. Shutting down The Row indefinitely is not going to solve the transport problem. Students may seem to calm down for a short period of time, but that is just because they will go out and party off The Row, out from under the watchful eye of university officials. The same amount of partying will happen, just in less controlled environments where the consequences of students’ actions are much more real. 

I understand that in saying this I probably sound like just another spoiled USC student who only cares about the next party, but I assure you that is not the case. I believe college parties, more specifically Greek parties, provide a forum for students to learn the dangers of drinking too much and dealing with impaired judgement on a firsthand basis, without as much danger as being out in the real world. While many people think this only further shelters and hinders students, I believe it gives them a learning experience, instead of thrusting them out into the real world. College parties act as a stepping stone into the real world just as much as other college experiences do.

Everything we do now prepares us for the real world, and being able to make mistakes and learn from them before we are fully held accountable for those actions can definitely be more helpful than hindering in the long run.

I saw the exact same things that will undoubtedly happen now, happen about a year ago, the last time Nikias brought down sanctions on The Row. No one stopped partying; they just learned to hide it better or find other places to party just as much—or more, if for no other reason than pure defiance.

It was all very Prohibition-esque. In fact, I recall a Prohibition-themed party during “Rowbation” last year. After “Rowbation” was over, things only seemed to get worse. People partied harder and more often, and pushed limits I hadn’t seen people push before. I am positive that the same things that happened after the sanctions were lifted then will happen when they are lifted this year.

SEE ALSO: USC, Don't Ground Greek Row

I use the term “sanctions” because this situation is oddly reminiscent of a controversial punishment handed down in 2010 by none other than everyone’s favorite collegiate athletics governing agency, the NCAA. Now, I’m not by any means saying that a partial suspension of Greek parties is anywhere near as draconian as the NCAA’s near death sentence to the USC football program (although based on some student’s reactions, you might think it was).

I am, however, saying that the situations have similarities. Just as the athletic department and the university, should not be held accountable for a man who did not work for them and had absolutely no tangible connection to them, the entire Row should not be held accountable for one person who fell off a table. 

Now, I also understand there are allegations that the injured person was pushed, and whether or not that is actually even true, it is still not the responsibility of any house, but the one the incident occurred in, if even that. I find it hard to believe that any one fraternity could or should have to claim responsibility for the actions of someone who attends their party, unless said perpetrator is a member of the fraternity. Furthermore, if said fraternity is being punished, what is the reasoning behind punishing every other fraternity on top of that?

As far as making parties safer for USC students, fraternities have been more adamant about making both males and females show their USC IDs upon entering a party, so this is becoming less of an issue.

Still, there are problems with making parties USC exclusive. Almost everyone has a friend that doesn’t go to USC visit them at some point in college. When students want to show that friend what USC has to offer, Greek parties are one of the first things many of them turn to, because whether you are part of it or not, there is no denying that Greek life is a very dominant part of the USC culture. Making it next to impossible to share that experience with others can make the USC experience less enjoyable overall.

However, many times, the people who find themselves in problematic situations are the same people who are not used to USC parties. Commonly referred to as “freshman syndrome,” many people learn that USC parties take some getting used to, so introducing people that are not adjusted to that can lead to higher transport rates.

In the end, it is worth the trade-off of not being able to bring friends that don’t go to USC to parties if we can reduce transport rates.

It is also important to take into account the fact that not all transports happen on The Row. Only four of the eight transports this past weekend happened on The Row. While four is still more than should be happening, it just goes to show that while The Row may be a primary location for transports, it is not the only place transports are happening, and fraternities are being unfairly singled out and vilified as the sole perpetrator in this situation.

All-in-all, President Nikias may not be the devil incarnate, but he is cracking down unfairly on Greek life, and not only will it not solve any problems, it is only going to do damage in the end.


Reach Contributor Jordan Gary here.



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