From 2017 to 2019, there were a total of 48 documented cases of rape on campus property at the University of Connecticut, in addition to the 21 cases of fondling. The Washington Post even reported that UConn, alongside Brown University, ranked high in reports of rape compared to other colleges. According to The Guardian, fraternity men are three times more likely to commit rape than their non-Greek peers. And, given that UConn has returned to full capacity, it is expected that the negative outcomes of Greek Life will be returning.
Since the beginning of the semester, there have already been quite a number of fraternity parties where the men to women ratio rule is still prominent. Besides breaking a number of UConn COVID-19 policy guidelines, the parties are being used as an excuse to objectify women. Most of the time the only way men can get into UConn’s frat parties is if he brings three girls with him. And why is that? Well, it gives the frat brothers and other men there more “options” for who they want to sleep with that night.
As Odyssey Journalist Aasha Shaik put it, “[It’s] dehumanizing and derogatory and unacceptable — it’s frankly gross how girls are turned into money-or ticket-equivalents.”
Alcohol at these college parties seems to be the biggest problem as, according to IU News Room, it makes it easier to lower women’s inhibitions when they are under the influence. And since it is less likely that a woman at these frat parties will be with someone they know, given the ratio disparity, alcohol makes it easier for them to become disoriented in the unfamiliar environment.
The troubles within UConn’s Greek Life are nothing new, as they have done more harm than good to the UConn community. In 2014, UConn suspended the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity for five years and the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority for four years after a KKG member was forced into heavy drinking at the SAR fraternity until she blacked out and woke up in a hospital. In 2020, a similar hazing incident caused the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity to be permanently expelled from UConn’s campus.
UConn’s learning communities, which offer the same “bonding” that fraternities and sororities do without the hazing, are a safer alternative to Greek Life. The university cannot keep defending the harm Greek Life has brought to this community — not with the horrendous number of sexual assault cases that keep coming in every year, and not while forgetting about the cases that go untold.
UConn has to start thinking about what type of community it is trying to foster with the heavy presence of Greek Life. Is it one where all students are held to the same standards or one where women are being objectified and taken advantage of by a careless culture?