It’s time to fix our fraternities


Staff Editorial

Our campus suffered a tragic loss Feb. 2 with the death of first-year Connor Gage. Following a night at two fraternities, Gage died in the snow of a North Winooski Ave. parking lot.

When a student dies, it impacts campus and our community — especially since this situation was entirely preventable. Had someone been with Gage at the time of his death, he could have gotten home safe.

But this is about more than watching out for each other. Yes, we’ll all rethink walking home alone at night or leaving a party unaccompanied after too many drinks.

Gage’s death is a call to look out for everyone, but it also brings up the need to reexamine campus culture.

We must acknowledge the role fraternities play in our community. Not all of these organizations are bad, but their actions have created a concerning pattern which recently impacted our University with Gage’s death.

How many more students will die before we fix the greek system, or eliminate it altogether?

Timothy Piazza, a Penn State sophomore, died the same day as Gage two years ago after a night of toxic hazing at his fraternity.

That same year, 20-year-old Andrew Coffey died after attending a party at the fraternity he was pledging at Florida State University.

Just last month, 18-year-old Noah Domingo was found dead in an off-campus fraternity house at the University of California Irvine.

These three men are a fraction of the hundreds who have died in similar circumstances.

If a fraternity is about brotherhood, Gage’s supposed brothers should have looked out for him the night of his death.

Fraternity and Sorority Life does its share of good for the community, like raising over $100,000 in philanthropy last year. But when incidents like Gage’s death occur, these efforts are overlooked in the wake of tragedy.

In place of organizations that facilitate drinking and hazing, we need to create an alternative, one that promotes the positive parts of FSL, like philanthropy and lasting friendships, but leaves behind the toxic and dangerous culture we have now.

Fraternities must be held accountable, whether its internally by recognizing their own actions, or by the University.

If so many deaths have been linked to these organizations, there is no excuse for them to continue to operate the way they do.

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