No Greek life, no party, no problem for administration

By Shannon Keough
October 4, 2007

Rodney Turner/MCT

Starting a sorority at Cabrini College last year seemed like a really good idea to my roommate and me, especially as freshmen. A lot of our friends seemed to be pledging for fraternities and sororities at other schools, but we were stuck at Cabrini without those opportunities.

Our first question was why don’t we have Greek life on our campus? Maybe it’s because it’s a smaller school, maybe it’s because it’s a Catholic school. Either way, we were determined to find out why and try to change it.

We did research on various sororities, spoke to our advisers and met with people in academic affairs. We finally e-mailed Dr. Christine Lysionek, vice president of student development, and she invited us to her office to speak about the organization.

We thought that this was a positive meeting, but we were too optimistic. For us, sororities meant sisterhood, loyalty and friendship, but Cabrini had other views.

Lysionek was great in this process. She met with other staff members to discuss our proposal, but the final say was no.

She explained to us that the school rules say that organizations that exclude certain groups of people are not recognized by the school. In this case, a sorority would exclude men.

Of course, we were extremely disappointed by the result, but it also made me think about everything she has said and what she had really meant.

If what she said were true about exclusive organizations, then why is it that an all-girl soccer team, all-girl lacrosse team and all-girl basketball team exist at Cabrini? Furthermore, exclusively male teams also exist, including basketball, lacrosse, soccer and baseball. How can all of these “exclusive” teams exist if it goes against the school’s rules?

Perhaps it’s because rules change.

Probably the biggest rule that has changed in Cabrini’s history is that it was once an all-girl college and now boys are attending as well. If something that big can change, then why can’t this?

Lysionek previously worked at Villanova University and had a lot of experience with these organizations. She explained that some sororities were focused on sisterhood and were dedicated to their purpose, but others were only focused on the party aspect.

I think there are two main reasons as to why Cabrini doesn’t recognize Greek life. Lysionek explained that the off-campus fraternity has caused problems for Cabrini in the past and present, which is the first problem.

The other reason, I believe, is because stereotypically Greek life represents a “party” lifestyle, as shown in movies like “Animal House” or shows like ABC Family’s “Greek.” Although people are drawn in by the “party” lifestyle, there is more to it than just drinking. Greek life doesn’t exist on Cabrini’s campus now, but that doesn’t mean people don’t drink.

I think Cabrini’s decision should be based on the students who are willing to make the effort and their reasons behind it, instead of past experiences and media stereotypes.

Shannon Keough

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