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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Column: The actions of a few shouldn’t condemn the many

As a member of the Aggie Greek community, I grow frustrated when I hear about an incident in which Greek life’s reputation is dragged through the mud. The actions of a small few affect the lives and reputations of many.
When I heard about the video of the racist chant by the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter at the University of Oklahoma that got two students expelled and the chapter disbanded, it was hard not to audibly groan. Coming on the heels of reports last month of a “border patrol party” by the FIJI chapter at the University of Texas, this newest incident obviously made Greek life a target.
Students rightfully should be upset by the actions of these other chapters — they are disgusting. But what they shouldn’t do is condemn the many for the few. The students at these other schools acted crassly and carelessly, but that doesn’t make all of Greek life crass, and especially not Greek life at A&M.
There have been rumors circulating that A&M Greek members are getting heat for the actions of these chapters at other universities, and it doesn’t make sense. These incidents were hateful and ignorant, but if people retaliate toward Greek chapters at A&M that had nothing to do with these incidents, their actions are also hateful and ignorant.
As Collin McCaskill, the Texas A&M SAE president, said in a statement, “The actions taken by certain members of the Oklahoma Kappa Chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon at the University of Oklahoma were intolerable and do not align with the values and ideals of the Texas Tau Chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon [or the Greek Community] at Texas A&M University.”
To clarify, I’m not saying racist incidents in Greek life or in general at A&M never occur. There have been racist occurrences at Texas A&M within Greek life, including in 1992 involving blackface costumes at an SAE jungle-themed fraternity party, but if we were all guilty of the sins of the past no organization would exist.
The values displayed by the SAEs at Oklahoma just aren’t the values of today’s Aggie Greeks and it’s a shame to hear people are lashing out at A&M’s members of fraternities and sororities. Being both Hispanic and a member of the Texas A&M Greek life, I have never in my time here felt discriminated against. I know many people of different cultural backgrounds in both fraternities and sororities at A&M.
A&M has taken significant strides since 1992, and A&M Greek life now regularly holds mixers and co-hosts events between the fraternities and sororities in the Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council and Multicultural Council.
What people forget in times like this is the good that comes out of Greek life. Those in sororities or fraternities tend to have higher GPAs, higher graduation rates and higher levels of success getting a job right out of college.
Ten percent of A&M undergraduates are involved in Greek life, and Aggie Greeks are estimated to contribute over $50,000 dollars annually to Bryan-College Station. A&M has graduated over 20,000 Greek alumni and continues to grow as new chapters form, according to the Student Activities Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life.
So I write this imploring everyone out there not to condemn A&M Greek life.
The only chant I have ever heard at any Texas A&M fraternity or sorority event is, “We are the Aggies, the Aggies are we, true to each other as Aggies can be.”
Lindsey Gawlik is a telecommunication
and media studies junior and news
editor for The Battalion.

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