A closer look at fraternity formals
In her April 19 column “The not-so-hidden expectations behind fraternity formals,” Alissa Rotblatt called to attention an important issue in the fraternity community. She raised valid concerns about what can be an uncomfortable situation for many women. In no way, shape or form should a man paying for a weekend formal experience cause his date to feel that he or she owes him anything. Sadly, this situation has occurred in the past, and the Interfraternity Council will be taking actions in the upcoming weeks and months to address this issue.
However, I was deeply concerned with the content and tone of the article. My concern lies not in the identification of the aforementioned problem but rather in the implication that this problem is widespread and an accepted norm within the Greek community. To imply that all men believe that their dates “owe” them something in return for the money they spent on a fraternity formal is wrong and perpetuates a negative stereotype of our community.
In reality, most men in our community do not take that approach to formals, and many of our chapters actively program to avoid this sort of mentality in their members. As a community and within individual chapters, our expectations are that every fraternity man treats his date with respect and takes the initiative to clearly communicate with his date to avoid putting him or her under unfair pressure
Fraternity formals are meant to be fun and exciting events that bring our brotherhoods closer together, but problems that can arise from these types of events must be dealt with. I hope that in the coming weeks there can be effective dialogue between the Greek and campus communities about this issue.
Kurt Wall is a Junior in Arts and Sciences and President of the Interfraternity Council. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org