I never participated in the Greek system (fraternities and sororities) when I was in college, nor did I feel that my education suffered by not joining in that experience. It always seemed to me, an outsider, that the frats and sororities were populated with children of excess who liked to display their privileged status and drink till they puked. And at Southwest Missouri State University in the 1960's those organizations weren't predominantly white - they were totally white.
Fifty years later it doesn't seem like all that much has changed.
The University of Arizona closed down four campus fraternity chapters in 2012. One of those was Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) which was alleged to have condoned a practice of hazing pledges. Now, a scant two years later, that same proud brotherhood which once claimed Ronald Reagan as a member has again landed on the front pages of Arizona newspapers.
Members of the Arizona State University TKE chapter held a party this week to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Local news reports claim that the event was extremely distasteful, if not downright racist. Partiers came in ethnic dress and participated in activities which seemed to make fun of black people. ASU reacted swiftly and banned the organization from campus. Some members of the local community are also calling for the kids who were at the party to be expelled.
Expulsion from the university for dumb and insensitive behavior seems a bit extreme, but removing the fraternity from campus does make sense. If these organizations have failed to evolve over the past fifty years, perhaps it is time that they were all barred from campus.
Young people can get drunk and be stupid without being saddled with fraternity and sorority dues. (That was even true fifty years ago!) And there is always a chance that without the group-think/drink of the fraternities and sororities- those same young people would be free to make better decisions and quit perpetuating prejudices.