Speaker Says it’s Up to Greeks to Debunk Stereotypes

Fraternity houses are places to get drunk and meet chicks. Sorority girls are snobby blondes with Daddy’s credit cards. And in general, Greeks only care about themselves and live every day to party every night. So go the stereotypes that Mitch Crane wants to eradicate. Crane, a former judge and fraternity member, spoke out Wednesday at the University of Houston against the perceptions that he said aren’t always the reality. Crane said the 1978 movie Animal House, in which Jim Belushi’s character drinks himself into a stupor every night, is the No. 1 negative stereotype of greek life. But Crane said the movie was actually a parody of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity at Dartmouth College. Such false portrayals can become popular perception, Crane said. Other films and television programs like “Beverly Hills, 90210,” “Saved by the Bell” and “Friends,” have portrayed anti-Greek messages as well, he said. Compounding the problem is that news outlets often don’t cover positive stories relating to greeks. For example, Crane said greeks at Pennsylvania State University raised $2 million for cancer research and did not receive coverage, but “if a girl would’ve gotten raped at a frat party, it would have been all over the newspapers.” But Crane said the greek organizations are not without blame. He told the stories of a Florida State University freshman who was raped at a fraternity party, a University of Washington fraternity pledge who hanged himself after initiation hazing acts and of drunken sorority members at DePaul University who hazed by extinguishing cigarettes on the skin of potential new members. “The stupidity that (greeks) carry out is most always related to alcohol abuse,” Crane said. He also said that most rapes on college campuses happen to freshman girls and at fraternity houses. Crane said letting dangerous things happen to fellow greeks, dates and college classmates isn’t acceptable and that greeks should live by the set of values and principles they are taught. “We should be the safest place to be because we have higher standards,” he said. “The great thing about being greek is that we know and care about each other. But with that (comes) obligation,” Crane said. “If you’re talking about brotherhood and sisterhood and love, then treat (each other) with love.”