February 12, 2018

HUBSHER | My Body, My Judicial Review Board

Print More

Prove my point a little better, I dare you. Before I had even pinned my last column (about the toxic culture that some “men only” clubs promote) to my wall of accomplishments, another fraternity fiasco rocked the campus.

In case you missed it, Zeta Beta Tau was found to have held a “pig roast” for their new members, in which brothers were encouraged to sleep with as many women as possible. In the event of a tie, the guy whose conquest weighed more would win.

I know this topic has been written about ad nauseum, but I’m not here to talk about how disgusting, or degrading to women, these actions are.

I’m also not here to discuss how this doesn’t even scratch the surface of the sexism inherent in fraternity life or how men are trash. Instead, I would like to talk a little bit about justice.

As punishment, ZBT was put on probationary recognition for a period of two years, and they will have to attend some Sexual Assault Awareness Week events, hire a live-in advisor, conduct a “brotherhood review” and participate in a “bystander education program.”

This seemed to me, and many of the people I’ve spoken to, as the definition of “getting off easy.”

Last spring, Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity was given three years of probationary recognition and asked to conduct a brotherhood review for forcing new members to eat gross stuff like worms and tiny fish.

I understand that this experience must have been very traumatic for some, but I hardly think it is on the same level as literally reducing women to a point system.

I decided to do some research to find out who exactly is making these chickenshit decisions. For those of you who are not familiar with the Greek judicial system, here is how it works: When a hazing complaint is filed, a judicial review board hears the case and, following an investigation by the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life, issues a ruling.

This judicial board is made up of volunteer students from various Greek organizations and the vice presidents for judicial affairs from the Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Association and the Multicultural Greek Letter Council. Kara Miller, the director of sorority and fraternity life and a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority (which does not have a chapter at Cornell), serves in an advisory capacity. The Greek judicial system is composed entirely of active members of Greek life.

Maybe this was obvious to some people, but I was shocked and disgusted.

There are no checks and balances. No impartial voices. Every person present has had their vision of Greek life tainted by the memories of friends and matching shirts and big, pretty houses. No one from the “outside” is there to call them on their culty, insular crap. It is naive to think that every girl who was victimized by ZBT’s sex contest was a member of Greek life, so why is no one representing them?

It is not that once you “go Greek” you lose all morals and become unfit to judge others; there are many wonderful and conscientious people within the system. However, the actions of these large organizations impact and reflect poorly on all Cornell students, so why aren’t the interests of all Cornell students represented on this board?

No other groups on campus are judged only by their own members. When the a capella group Cayuga’s Waiters got in trouble for hazing, it was handled by the Office of the Judicial Administrator and the University Hearing Board.

Not only can we do better, we need to do better. By allowing not just this ruling, but this entire extra-judicial judicial system to stand, Cornell is making clear, in no uncertain terms, just how much they value their female students. And I, for one, have had it. Officially.


Willow Hubsher is a senior in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She can be reached at [email protected]This is Not a Sex Column appears alternate Tuesdays this semester.