When private becomes public

Sarah Harris

Earlier this March at the University of Oklahoma, the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon was kicked off of campus after they posted a video of the members singing a racist chant. The key word here is ‘posted’. How dumb can you be? The video shows the white members in formal clothing chanting this song that consisted of anti-black slurs; they even mentioned lynching.

Later this March, at Penn State the fraternity Kappa Delta Rho was shut down due to photos they posted in their private Facebook group of nude and unconscious women, drugs and hazing. The police found out about the group when a former fraternity member reported it and became their informant. Once again, the key word here is ‘posted.’

And to make it a bit more local, on our own campus, the fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon has been shut down due to hazing that the school found out about due to textual evidence. Now, TKE didn’t post anything online, that we know of, but the reason former member and sophomore John Demoulas was suspended was due to textual evidence. Paper trails are a real thing people.

Now, these incidents have a lot of other messages tied into them, hazing in Greek life, the issue of race among Greek life, the way women are treated in the college atmosphere and social media.

But I would like to focus on the social media aspect of these events. I thought that at this point in the game as college students, we would have learned the consequences of posting inappropriate behavior to the internet. Some of us have, but these incidents prove some us still haven’t. You can hit the delete button as many times as you want, but that video and those photos aren’t going anywhere. How is it that these fraternities are able to keep their ritual private, but aren’t able to keep their racist and crude actions private?

One of the Penn State Kappa Delta Rho members spoke to Philadelphia Magazine and you can tell that he clearly doesn’t understand the consequences of posting these images on Facebook.

“This is not a criminal thing. It’s not anyone else’s business, pretty much. It’s an inter-fraternity thing and that’s that,” he said.

Hate to tell ya bud, but posting pictures of naked women without their consent is actually a criminal thing! Crazy, who would have thought? And guess what? Once it’s on the internet, it’s everybody’s thing and it’s everybody’s business. The member then goes on to say that he didn’t post any of the photos because, “No, no, absolutely not. I’m a good guy.” Therefore he’s saying that all his brothers who posted the videos and photos are bad guys. I would love to know whose idea it was to have this guy talk to this magazine.

Fraternities may be tight knit, and the same with sororities, but if a member leaves, he or she once had access to all those private groups and he or she was at all those events. Ever heard of a screenshot? Just because you delete it, doesn’t mean that people don’t have it on their own phone.

This isn’t just a problem for Greek life though, it’s everyone in our generation. It doesn’t matter what organization you’re in. Greek life just happens to pride itself on its values, and therefore is held to a higher standard. But whether you’re in a club or not, these things follow you no matter where you go.

Ask yourself this, if you were hiring someone for a job to work in your company and he was in a fraternity that posted graphic images of women, would you hire him?

Use your brains. Don’t post.