Surviving without Greek life while other schools are banning it

By Angelina Miller
March 31, 2017


Football games.






The list goes on and on.

These are all things that the 90,000 student body of the large, research intensive Pennsylvania State University campuses have to offer at their facilities that stretch all throughout Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, in Radnor, our very own Roman Catholic liberal arts university does not offer most of those things to our close-knit student body of nearly 1,400 students. And, if anything along the lines of those extra-curricular luxuries are given to Cabrini cavaliers, they are given on a significantly smaller scale.

This may worry many prospective students, feel like the end of the world for current students and sadly, be the deciding factor for many students that ended up transferring schools. However, recent news of Penn State cancelling greek recruitment and imposing new social regulations for their 2017-2018 school year may show that Cabrini students really do not have it so bad – or, at least, have it much safer.

Not so “Happy” in the Valley

Headline for official news article from Penn State on March 30 / Screenshot from

On March 30, 2017, Penn State’s news platform released word of their main campus in University Park, P.a., not only permanently banning a fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, but also putting specific new restrictions on Greek-letter groups altogether. In addition to numerous cases of serious alcohol abuse, hazing and the use and sale of illicit drugs, these regulations all seem to stem from a heartbreaking event that occurred two months ago.

According to their official website’s mission statement, Beta Theta Phi is a men’s college fraternity dedicated to building men of principle for a principled life. Because of its commitment to academic excellence and leadership development, the fraternity has a zero tolerance policy for hazing. However, on Feb. 2, 2017, actions that took place at the home of Penn State Main’s 2016-2017 chapter did not seem to reflect those expectations.

On the evening of Thursday, Feb. 2, Timothy Piazza, sophomore engineering student from Lebanon, NJ, fell down the flight of basement steps of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity household during a party. However, emergency services were not contacted until 10:49 a.m. on Friday morning, nearly 12 hours after the incident occurred and after Piazza had already suffered traumatic injuries. When action was finally taken and patrol officers responded, Piazza was unconscious and taken to Mt. Nittany Medical Center in an ambulance. From there, he was flown to Hershey Medical Center and pronounced dead Saturday morning.

WE ARE” putting regulations on Greek life

That evening, the University’s Interfraternity Council released a statement cancelling social activities at all fraternities to observe a night of solidarity in light of the incident. Two days later, the chapter released a statement on their website indicating that it had been temporarily suspended by Penn State and the national Beta Theta Pi fraternity. Three weeks later, the 39 members that lived in the fraternity house were told they had to find alternate housing for the remainder of the spring semester. Members of the fraternity were then stripped of recognition in the Greek community at Penn State.

Now, come March 30, the university has decided to permanently revoke recognition of Beta Theta Pi and ban it from ever returning as a chapter at Penn State. In addition to that, students must also adhere to the new changes for the coming academic year.

Changes Penn State organizations must make for the coming academic year in order to sustain further recognition. Graphic by Angelina Miller.

According to a recent study done by Boston University’s School of Public Health, high-risk alcohol use that U.S. undergraduates can experience during a sensitive time in their physical, cognitive and emotional development has led to numerous individual and environmental level strategies to be implemented at colleges and universities nationwide.

Current members of fraternities and sororities for Penn State’s 2017-2018 school year have both positive and negative thoughts on the new rules and regulations for their school’s well known “party scene.”

“I joined a fraternity at Penn State during the fall semester of my freshman year,” Kevin, sophomore math major at Penn State, said. “I didn’t originally plan on pledging for a fraternity, but a few of my upperclassmen friends that I knew from high school invited me over for a rush event at their fraternity one night. As soon as I walked into the house, I instantly felt welcomed and decided to pledge.”

After now being a part of a fraternity for a year and having a strong sense of brotherhood with his fellow fraternity members, Kevin does not agree with the new regulations that the university has created and actually finds them inappropriate. “Preventing new member programs for at least one semester for all fraternities is completely absurd,” he said.

“The whole new member process forms the future for all fraternities, and this makes it seems like Penn State wants to put Greek life to death. This is a major deterrent to incoming students that want to attend a university with a thriving greek life.”

Kevin may be right. While these new changes and regulations obviously have a large effect on students that are currently part of Penn State fraternities and sororities, the incoming class of 2021 is also shocked to see what is now uncontrollably in store for their future.

“I was definitely considering joining a sorority at Penn State in the fall because I thought it would help me meet a bunch of great girls that have similar interests with me,” Imogen Thomas, a senior at Kennett High School in Kennett Square, P.a., said.

Thomas looks forward to beginning her freshman year at Penn State this fall and majoring in nutritional sciences; however, she is also a bit disappointed that her upcoming freshman class is being punished for current students’ wrongdoings.

“I’ve been to frats at Penn State before and have never had any bad experiences at them, but think that rumors can tend to give them a bad reputation as a whole,” Thomas said. “I agree with the school for shutting down Beta Theta Phi, but the overall ban happened too fast and is not fair to upcoming freshman, fraternities and sororities that had nothing to do with the incident. The school should have come up with a set of rules that would nearly prevent similar situations from happening, without taking away college student’s rights to have fun and be a part of organizations that they are passionate about.”

Alexa, sophomore math major and member of a sorority at Penn State also thinks the Greek life changes as wrong and unnecessary. Alexa joined her sorority this fall to do just what Thomas aspired to do, meet more girls with common interests.

“These rules do not matter to me as much since I never joined a sorority to party,” Alexa said. “I was always more focused about meeting people, making business connections and getting more involved with THON, our school’s annual dance-a-thon for childhood cancer. I do think it is unfair that incoming freshman are no longer allowed to rush for fraternities and sororities, though. These organizations need new members in order to survive and pay their necessary dues to their nationals.”

Alexa is also not oblivious to the fact that a majority of incoming freshman students do care a lot about Penn State’s party scene. “All of these changes will definitely not only affect the incoming freshman next year at Penn State, but I believe Penn State’s enrollment may also drop as well if these rules become permanent for the university.”

WE ARE Living with Purpose

Cabrini does offer the student body festivals, concerts and even fraternities and sororities, just on a much smaller scale than a larger university such as Penn State. However, being a part of a small school definitely has its perks during times such as these.

While Penn State has been granted one of the highest ratings for research universities, it is typical for incoming students to make their decision to commit to the school with the energetic student life filled with fraternities and sororities in mind.

Knowing that Greek life has a stereotypical reputation of causing issues on college campuses such as the ones that Penn State is currently up against, Cabrini was always hesitant to allow fraternities or sororities to be a part of its student life. This has also led students to be attracted to Cabrini for a number of other reasons, such as the beautiful campus atmosphere or small class sizes. However, in 2010, two students were motivated enough to knock down our Greek life barrier.

On May 1, 2010, Maya Cheeks and Kate Shaeffer implemented Cabrini Delta Xi Phi into Cabrini’s student life, a multicultural sorority that promotes diversity, multicultural awareness and community service, and allows female students to build lasting friendships and be part of true sisterhood.

Ahtzri at her DXP induction in December of 2015 / Photo submitted by Ahtzri Lopez

We had to basically fight for it, show that we were serious about establishing DXP and that we were going to follow the rules,” Maya Cheeks, the original Vice President of Delta Xi Phi, said. After Cheeks and Schaeffer, the first president for Cabrini DXP, showed their commitment to the pillars and philanthropy of the sorority, they created a sisterhood that still lives on at Cabrini today.

“You won’t find our DXP girls running around in a drunken mess or having to do crazy ‘pledging’ tasks, and we don’t judge our incoming sisters based off of looks or social standing like the sororities,” Schaeffer said in an interview in 2011. “Any girl who wants to join has to have a minimum of a 2.4 GPA showing that we take our studies and education seriously, and do different multicultural activities each semester.”

Ahtziry Lopez Santiago, sophomore early education major, is one of many that remains passionate about carrying on the Delta Xi Phi sisterhood and legacy at Cabrini. “On my Accepted Students Day in 2015, I talked to a few girls at the DXP table. When I came to Cabrini as a freshman I went to a recruitment event, met the sisters, heard more about what the sorority represents and was hooked with being a part of it from then on.”

Mariah (on far right) and some of her DXP sisters / Photo submitted by Mariah Casillas

Mariah Casillas, junior english major, is also a committed member of Delta Xi Phi, despite Cabrini’s overall lack of a large Greek life. “I always wanted to be in a sorority,” Casillas said. “Although Cabrini doesn’t have a large amount of Greek life, our sisterhood at DXP has such a strong bond. We also have a strong non-hazing policy and take that very seriously.”

It is also important to consider that Delta Xi Phi is Multicultural Sorority and not a Social Sorority. Therefore, they focus more on multicultural awareness and community service. Cabrini’s fraternity, 
Alpha Delta Gamma, is also dedicated to service, scholastic, social, school spirit and spirituality through brotherhood as well.

“DXP has given me the opportunity to meet people and make friendships and memories that will last a lifetime,” Santiago said. “It also provided me with a HUGE system of mental and academic support.”

“It’s like the old saying, never judge a book by its cover,” Casillas said. “I would encourage new students and current students to consider joining.”

1 thought on “Surviving without Greek life while other schools are banning it”

  1. Very well written, Angelina. As a member of Delta Xi Phi Multicultural Sorority, Inc., I would like to clarify that we are in fact a social sorority founded on the principles of increasing multicultural awareness, community service, advancement of women through higher education, sisterhood and friendship. I am proud of our Associate Chapter at Cabrini and look forward to watching them thrive as they positively impact their communities.

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Angelina Miller

1 thought on “Surviving without Greek life while other schools are banning it”

  1. Very well written, Angelina. As a member of Delta Xi Phi Multicultural Sorority, Inc., I would like to clarify that we are in fact a social sorority founded on the principles of increasing multicultural awareness, community service, advancement of women through higher education, sisterhood and friendship. I am proud of our Associate Chapter at Cabrini and look forward to watching them thrive as they positively impact their communities.

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