Greek Life's exclusivity plagues Occidental

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Bids from Greek Life came out Thursday night, and despite the claims by members of Greek Life to be “inclusive,” many students were turned away with no bid.

That is to be expected. Rush participants know that it is a possibility, but no one ever thinks it will be them that is turned away.

Those who rush are often looking for somewhere to fit in; many feel alone and want a group of friends to accept them. Getting turned away from a sorority or fraternity amplifies the feeling of loneliness that they already have.

Rush is a judgmental and excluding process, and at a big school that is fine because there is so much to fall back on. But as Riley Kimball wrote, fraternities and sororities have little place at a small, liberal arts college.

It is hypocritical to claim that Greek organizations are inclusive when the entire process of rushing, bidding and pledging is exclusive. Even the parties Greek Life throws are exclusive. Sure, not all the people that attend the parties are Greek, but a majority of them are, and the rest are the friends of Greeks. Rarely is that circle expanded.

To make matters worse: the sororities on Friday evening ran through the Quad yelling and cheering about the new pledges.

Words cannot even describe the selfishness behind that action. All the people who were rejected by these groups could have witnessed that and twice felt the rejection that was already doled out to them.

There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of places in L.A. that are great for yelling and cheering, probably the same number of great photo-ops. Since their money does not go toward alcohol (obviously because that’s illegal) or throwing awesome open parties, they could have instead spent the money on a bus to take the girls somewhere off-campus.

It is bad enough having to see the pictures on Facebook that constantly remind rejected rushers of the pain and loneliness they feel. But to have to witness it firsthand is incredibly more painful.

And of course, rather than considering the feelings of others, the sororities continued yelling, smiling and taking pictures.

They should celebrate; they all made new friends and became a part of a probably great group of people. No one can deny the bonds that Greek Life creates.

But how hard is it to think outside of that and consider other people’s feelings?

Apparently pretty difficult.

Furthermore, at a small school like Occidental, students are constantly reminded of their rejection; they are repeatedly confronted by the Greek t-shirts, their peers who got in and their peers who rejected them, which is yet another reason Greek Life does not belong on such a small campus.

Frankly, it is just mean to not let everyone into a Greek organization at a small school. There are probably reasons for it, but those reasons should not outweigh the feelings of those searching for a social home. Again, Occidental preaches acceptance and inclusiveness but doles out something different.

Juliet Suess is a senior ECLS major. She can be reached at suess@oxy.edu or on Twitter @WklyJSuess.