The University of Oklahoma Video, and the Problem Fraternities Can’t Fix ThemselvesBy MATTHEW W. HUGHEY MARCH 13, 2015STORRS, Conn. — WHAT should we do about fraternities?The World’s Most Important Place™ is fraternity row at the U. of Oklahoma. I realize that some of you may feel you have a vague recollection that it was some other place that was in the news a lot, maybe some place in a state bordering Oklahoma, but we have always been at war with Oklahoma. And, no, TWMIP™ was never fraternity row at the U. of Virginia. You are completely deluded about that.C’mon, people, focus: fraternity row at the University of Oklahoma.
Some critics argue that American college campuses should ban them altogether: Don’t wait for the next hazing death or vile speech caught on cellphone camera.Others contend that campuses need to encourage multicultural Greek life, and should give incentives for students to cross the Greek color line, setting up brochure-worthy party houses that capture “post-racial” America. That idea is perhaps nice in theory. But it doesn’t work.I study race and the Greek-letter system on North American campuses. I have interviewed hundreds of members of historically white fraternities and sororities, at big state universities and smaller liberal arts colleges, on the East Coast and in the South. My research indicates that nonwhite students who successfully pledge those groups — roughly 3 to 4 percent of fraternity or sorority members — live a harsh existence of loneliness and isolation.