Claudia Shamp, director of Greek Life, said while a healthy competition exists to bid the best men and raise the most money for philanthropies, there is no deep-seated hatred between fraternities.
“I think we do exceptionally well,” she said. “Historically, and in the time that I’ve been here, we really do not have rivalries anymore — we just don’t see any of that type of behavior.”
But on Feb. 15, a dispute between members of Pi Kappa Alpha and Tau Kappa Epsilon a gun being fired shots, despite Interfraternity Council President Alex Bosse’s statement that the fraternities had no prior issues, concerns or tensions.
“I think unfortunately sometimes if there’s an person who has an individual issue with someone and both people happen to be in a fraternity or sorority,” Shamp said. “It gets mis-cast as ‘well, it’s this group against this group’ and that’s not how it is at all … It’s really frustrating sometimes when it gets cast that way and it’s not that way at all.”
While specific rivalries may be in question, a hierarchy can be found on GreekRank.com, a website which uses member input to rate fraternities based on criteria including brotherhood, involvement, classiness, popularity, looks and fun.
Pi Kappa Alpha, which received 88 comments, was ranked No. 9 on the site, while Tau Kappa Epsilon, which received 84 comments, was ranked No. 16.
Allie Schank, who participated in sorority recruitment in Fall 2014 but did not join a chapter, said the rankings are subjective and meaningless.
“I think just like in high school, some people are closed-minded about how they fall in this ‘tier system’ and they chose to either think they’re better than most or below most. Then there are some other people who are more open minded and don’t really think anything of a tier system of sorts,” said Schank, a freshman athletic training major from Atlanta.
Still, Bosse said programs are made to unite chapters.
“The Interfraternity Council offers several programs to help foster relationships among fraternities. We have a program for freshmen called Freshman Greek Leaders and one for sophomores called Sophomore Leaders Circle. These help young leaders within the fraternities meet each other while also attending seminars on leadership from various speakers around campus,” Bosse said. “In addition, we see fraternities supporting each other through their various philanthropy events. Relationships are also built between fraternity men while serving on a variety of committees in IFC.”
Efforts have further strengthened relationships between Greek councils.
“When we get new executive officers, we start out the year with a joint retreat with all four of our councils together. One of the main purposes of that is for them to get to know each other and then get to know a little bit about the workings of each of the councils and to establish a communication network with all of those students,” Shamp said. “They just take it and run with it on their own because they enjoy each other; they enjoy getting together.”
Shamp said being part of the Greek community brings underlying connections between individuals.
“Even though their councils are different, and they have different operations, at the end of the day, they’re all members of fraternities and sororities and I think there’s some commonality and shared bond in that experience,” Shamp said.
Mitchell Nemeth, rush chair for Tau Epsilon Phi, said while he has witnessed hostile arguments between fraternities, being part of the five fraternities in Greek Park Circle is a positive experience.
“It makes the social atmosphere of Greek life stand out even more since you can always see socials or mixers happening. [The best part is] comparing the groups of people we hang out with. Its amazing to see that each fraternity hangs with different groups of people overall,” Nemeth said.