In my two years at the University of Georgia, I have unintentionally become a bridge between three very separate worlds.
I am a member of three student organizations at UGA: The Women’s Studies Student Organization, The Red & Black, and my sorority.
I am in full support of the causes of each of these three organizations, and I am fully indebted to them for providing me with unique and valuable experiences.
But I’ve begun to notice that the three organizations are often in opposition with each other.
I’ve found that many people in the Greek system are suspicious of students involved in women’s studies — I’ve overheard conversations in the sorority house kitchen and I’ve seen comment threads on Facebook from fellow members urging their friends to NEVER under any circumstances enroll in a women’s studies class. They are also wary of how the Red & Black can portray them, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post.
Many women’s studies students sneer at the Greek system and write sororities off as destructive to the goals of feminism. They also see the Red & Black as insensitive to their issues. I remember sitting, quiet and guilty, in a room full of questioning eyes as someone rants to me about problematic content they found in the paper.
And the Red & Black’s staff, while trying to portray the news as accurately as possible, is still run by humans — and by college students at that. Every reporter can’t be aware of the sensitivities of the several dozen organizations of campus, though it would be ideal for them to thoroughly research background information when putting together a piece.
After I was told my column wouldn’t run in the opinions section of the paper, I posted this blog post on my Facebook profile because I wanted it to receive as much traffic as possible. I wanted everyone to see the issue as only maybe four people at the University could really see it — those four being fellow Greek Red & Black staffers.
My page saw more traffic in one day than it has in a month. I felt tons of support from friends, family, and acquaintances.
But someone in my sorority messaged me today asking me to remove the link from my profile because the post mentioned the names of Greek houses that weren’t my own. Since we are in the summer months leading up to formal recruitment in August, the Panhellenic Council has forbidden any sorority women from having any other Greek letters on their Facebook profiles.
The reasoning for this rule is based in dirty rushing that often takes place on the Internet. Panhellenic wants to make sure no sorority is speaking badly OR using affiliation with fraternities to attract potential new members.
In a way, I understand.
But I’m still upset.
And I’m frustrated.
I thought that as a bridge for these three organizations on campus, I could bring very different groups of students closer together. I’ve found though, that my position in these organizations is actually hindering my ability to speak out about the problems between the organizations.
I can’t publish an opinions column about what happened between me and that fraternity because of neutrality issues.
I can’t post my blog post about it on Facebook because it might draw attention from PNMs and therefore the Panhellenic Council.
So where do I go?
Well, right here. Lucky for me, this little space on the Internet is my own property. I’m not speaking foul of any of my organizations, and none of their names are tied up in the implications of what I write. Just me.
I don’t mind stepping on some toes if the truth is at stake.