First of all, I have no problem with fraternities and sororities. I believe they are good clubs for networking, meeting people and forming lasting relationships. The problem I do have is the fact that they refer to themselves as “greek,” as in “greek life.” These clubs have nothing to do with Greek culture. Just because some group decided to stick three Greek letters to the wall in front of their house does not give them the right to be considered Greek. These fraternities and sororities do not know the first thing about being Greek, or about Greek life. As a true Greek, I find these terms offensive because I think they create a negative connotation about Greek people, especially on this campus. The picture it paints to me, and also to others, I’m sure, is that “Greek life” is all about partying, getting drunk and, while rushing, being someone’s slave. Now, I know fraternities and sororities are going to disagree, and say they are not all about these things, but let us face it: When we think frat or sorority, the first things that pop into our heads are parties, alcohol and action.
Now, I understand why fraternities and sororities would want to be associated with Greeks, because, of course, they do have the richest history in the world. Greece is the most naturally beautiful country in the world and we have given the world so much. But, this does not give clubs the right to label themselves as Greek.
When I first came to this campus, I looked for a Greek ethnicity club to join, but all my searches resulted in fraternities calling themselves “greek.” It is appalling to me that the university would also use this label when they say they strive to be politically correct. It is the university’s task to do what is right, and this characterization of Greeks is not correct. I have not seen the university offend other minorities; in contrast, it often takes a stance to promote other minorities. I hope the university takes a look at this reckless label they have made and changes it. I am sure other Greeks find this reference to “greeks” by fraternities and sororities offensive, but why does nobody else take a stand? This is probably because the Greek community on campus does not have the numbers or the power to do much about it. I am sure that if fraternities and sororities referred to their activities as “Mexican life” or “Israeli life,” plenty of people would get offended and there would be an uproar.
Well, I am here to tell you that I am willing to take a stand because I am tired of hearing people say “I am greek,” or when I say that I am Greek, they ask what fraternity I am in. I have blue and white running through my veins. I celebrate March 25th, Greek Independence Day, for the freedom my people struggled to achieve. I shed tears when I hear the Greek national anthem being played because I have the pride and joy of waking up every morning knowing that I am Greek, knowing that I came from the same lineage as Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Homer, Sophocles, Hippocrates, Pericles, Hercules, Leonidas and the list goes on and on. Being Greek does not mean having a party and wearing togas. Being Greek is something you are born into. To fraternities and sororities: I think you do a fine job of making UCSB a socially active campus and I hope this tradition continues, but you are not Greek.
Vasilis Vlahiotis is a senior business economics major.