Proposed law would eliminate fraternities, sororities on state campuses

JACKSON, Tenn. — Could the future of Greek life on Tennessee college campuses be in jeopardy?

“Being Greek is not negative. It’s very positive,” Vice President of Student Affairs at Lane College Darryl McGee said.

A bill was introduced Tuesday by Tennessee House Representative John DeBerry that would eliminate Greek life on any state-run college or university.

“If they are unable to govern and manage themselves, in which they can bring proper attention to our institutions, then what use are they?” Rep. DeBerry said.

DeBerry told me this is in response to the various hazing incidents happening across the state.

“All they do is socialize and hang out with each other,” said Bo Mantooth, director for student leadership and engagement at Union University.

Union University has six Greek letter organizations on campus. Mantooth says Greek life is often misunderstood.

“They are the leaders on campus. They are the most involved. They make excellent grades. They make great alumni and give back to their communities,” Mantooth said.

The bill would not include honor societies and professional organizations.

“If you go Greek, you graduate. On a national base, 70 percent of the students in Greek life graduate,” McGee said.

“Students who are in Greek letter organizations are the leaders on campus,” Keenan Lowery said. Lowery is the SGA president at Lane College and also a member of a fraternity.

“This has given me a great sense of brotherhood, and for the women sisterhood, so we can’t take this prominent thing away from our students,” Lowery said.

Hazing was outlawed in 1987, but it’s still a problem nationwide. We asked what could be done to combat the issue.

“You have to educate when they are young,” Mantooth said. “You have to talk to them about what it means to be a sorority man or woman.”

“We have anti-hazing workshops to tell the students how to report hazing,” McGee said.

If the bill is passed, it would go into effect July 1.