What Purpose Do Fraternities Serve?

Dare We Say - Finlay and Vercher

DARE WE SAY hosts Shawna Vercher and  Anita Finlay look at the role and cost of fraternities in the wake of the latest outrage and ask — What purpose do fraternities serve?  Is it time to put an end to them?

The boast is that 18 out of 44 presidents have been members of a fraternity.  But what fraternities seem to produce now is a never-ending horror show of sexual assault, battery, falls from heights, hazings, death by alcohol and acts ranging from foolhardy to criminal.

The latest:  Members of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity (from both Emery and University of Florida) invaded a Florida’s Warrior Beach Retreat event for veterans and their families.  During their encounter with the group, ZBT members spit on wounded veterans and their service dogs and urinated on the American Flag.

Vercher, author of  A FEARLESS VOICE, called this latest display the final straw.

“I’m totally done! … the argument for fraternities is community service...  They're good for the community! … that any institution that is geared towards community service should be peeing on the American flag?'

Finlay, author of DIRTY WORDS ON CLEAN SKIN, discusses an article by Caitlin Flanagan in The Atlantic,  The Dark Power of Fraternities, on the financial toll and role of fraternities.

“The most common claims from fraternity insurers, their liability claims in 2010 -- 23% assault and battery, 15% sexual assault… but fraternities aren't going anywhere because the land on which the housing sits is worth 3 billion dollars… and the graduates of fraternities give a lot of money to universities.”

Enjoy their insightful exchange!

Interesting to note after this Dare We Say video was published, UF released an update regarding the ZBT incident which concurs with much the Finlay/Vercher discussion.

The University of Florida chapter of Zeta Beta Tau will close in the wake of misconduct allegations following a recent weekend event in Panama City Beach, officials from the national organization and the University of Florida announced Tuesday. The closure is effective immediately.

“I continue to be saddened and disappointed by the reported mistreatment and disrespect of our military veterans,” UF President Kent Fuchs said. “Our university has always honored, and will always honor, the service of veterans. The reported conduct of this fraternity contradicts the values of service and respect that are at the center of this university."

ZBT Fraternity International President Matthew J. Rubins joined Fuchs in expressing his dismay at the situation.

"We are absolutely disgusted by the accusations that have been made regarding the behavior of certain members of this chapter. ZBT has a long history of serving our country, with brothers currently serving in all ranks of the military,” Rubins said. “ZBT will work diligently to demonstrate that the alleged behavior of a few does not represent the values of the many."

So what do you think?  Is it time to end fraternities?




  1. Of course it is time to end them.
    Since when is it great to have institutionalized cliques of students who, for no reason, feel superior to everyone else?
    I’m with Groucho “I’d never join a club that would have me.”


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