Monday, July 15

Kristina Iliopoulos: Fraternities enforce gender ratio policy to ensure safe environment

(Daily Bruin file photo)

(Daily Bruin file photo)

The Daily Bruin column published last week entitled “Fraternities should abolish misogynistic men-to-women ratio policies” is a wrongful attack on fraternities here at UCLA.

The main argument that “frat ratios” promote a misogynistic environment is based on a false premise. The writer assumes this ratio is in place to maximize a fraternity member’s ability to “score.” Not only is it misguided, it is shallow to assume an entire group of people prioritizes that one intention.

While it may seem like a “frat ratio” promotes misogynistic views and feeds rape culture, that idea does not consider the opposing perspective: The ratio rule doesn’t perpetuate rape culture, it’s a response to it.

The logic behind the rule is pretty straightforward. Fraternities are completely liable for everything that occurs in the house. The rule of not letting in non-male members isn’t based on arrogance or competition; the rule is there to maintain a safe environment.

Fraternity members believe men who lack the sexual assault training and are not bound to the same standards will generally be less predictable and tend to be angrier drunks than girls and therefore more of a liability, as confirmed by several members of UCLA fraternities. In fact, fraternities will often only let males who are not members enter if a member can vouch for them.

This logic makes sense because it promotes a setting in which a member is more likely to be cognizant of their own actions and the actions of those around him. Fraternity members are bound to specific set standards and rules while non-members are not. If one person makes a mistake or does something they should not have, the entire fraternity can receive punishment such as probation or even getting their charter revoked. This provides even more of an incentive for members to maintain a safe environment.

And yes, it goes without saying that women, like anyone else, should not have to worry about their safety. But UCLA’s environment is safe. Although some may witness some questionable situations at parties, those incidents are not ubiquitous. It’s important to remember in any situation that the actions of a few do not define the intentions or character of a whole, especially when talking about something as broad as Greek life.

Futhermore, the argument that many women are turned off and feel unsafe because the ratio positions them as a minority doesn’t make sense. If the ratio rule were abolished, the environment would be even more perilous, following the original assumption that men come to parties just to “score.” If men are creating an environment that makes the women there uncomfortable then inviting more men would not remedy the conflict. Instead, demanding that guests uphold standards of respect and safety is the best option.

Attempts to draw comparisons between UC Berkeley and UCLA sexual assault allegations on their respective campuses are also unfounded and unfair. UCLA has had one allegation in the past few years, compared to UC Berkeley, which temporarily banned fraternity parties due to continuedsexual assaults at events in one semester. It does not make sense to compare these two schools when they’re in different situations.

If people don’t agree with the policies these houses have in place for parties, they simply do not have to attend. Fraternity parties are not the epitome of college life – if you don’t like them, then don’t go. These parties have no obligation to cater to you, there are people who live in these houses and call it home and they have the right to not let anyone they deem unsafe enter. It’s their responsibility to carry out the policies which ensure a safe environment, not only for anyone who attends, but also for the sake of their home and their fellow members.

Perpetuating a negative, misogynistic image of Greek life at UCLA because of a ratio without fully understanding it isn’t fair to the entire group of people being targeted. Greek life members have to undergo mandatory regular Title IX training, and their house rules are in place for the purpose of preventing sexual assault. Any infraction of one member would result in disciplinary action such as probation of the entire house.

Abolishing the “ratio” is a terrible idea because it would show these fraternities do not care about maintaining a controlled and safe environment for their parties. The fact is that this policy exists to protect women, not to put them in danger. So the next time you go to a party and can hang around a group of fellow women, you can thank the ratio.

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Kristina Iliopoulos was a columnist from 2015-2017.

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  • Grace Ryan

    There’s a confusing typo here, I believe she meant “non-member males” rather than “non-male members”.

  • Eggz

    I call crock – The point of the ratio is hot chicks. Is there any confusion about that? I’ve organized parties for my fraternity, been to many parties I didn’t organize, and attended frat parties of other fraternities at UCLA and at other schools around the country.

    The whole ratio thing isn’t even specific to fraternities. Young dudes just want to be the $hit, and having exclusive parties where your friends have a great time with hot chicks helps make them the $hit. The author here is going way into left field and loses sight of that.

    Hooking up, or as the author says “scoring,” isn’t even the main point, though it is certainly considered a good thing. You have your friends (i.e. Frat members and a few other dudes who are “cool”) making up the male population, and you try to get as many hot chicks as possible to come. That’s it.

    The ratio is not about protecting anyone. Guys will help a girl who seems in trouble no matter what the ratio is. Actually, the ratio makes thing less safe for the house and its members, but no one cares because hot chicks. Random hot girls can cause all sorts of trouble (e.g. steal, start drama, break things, get too drunk, etc.). They’re wild cards because members don’t know them, but whoever brings them still gets a thumbs up because hot chicks.

    Don’t fool yourself with all this safety nonsense. The only thing that made sense in this article was the part where the author said that fraternity houses are private property where there members live. That permits them to admit or deny entrance to anyone at their lawful discretion.

    • Cave troll

      I’m the Head Risk Manager for my fraternity, which means keeping people safe in the house is my job which also entails standing outside with the guest list. We have a list of male guests because we need to know who is in the house at any time. Girls may break stuff, steal stuff, or just be too drunk; guys are more likely to hurt people and hurting people is what gets fraternities in trouble. We are past the point in time where fraternity members want to prey on girls. We care so much about safety because if our house is not safe, girls wont come over. What is the point of being in a social Greek organization if people view socializing with you to be a danger?

      • Eggz

        Whoa, see forest for the trees, dude! Guess lists will never be more important than hot girls. We need safety procedures (obv!), but we’re not throwing parties So we can manage the risk. That’s just a requirement. The whole point is having fun with friends and hot chicks. Don’t kid yourself.

        • Cave troll

          If it was only about hot girls then why do I let the not so hot ones in and why do I turn away the excessively drunk ones? I don’t think you understand just how much trouble we get in with IFC if people get hurt at our parties. Again, what is the point of being in a social Greek organization if you get put on social probation. I love my brothers, some of them I love more than some of my family members. But I do not love them enough to stand out in the cold for four hours straight arguing with people who want to get into our parties who aren’t on the list, just so my brothers can get laid.

  • drew

    I really hope the author of that article reads this so they can finally take their blindfold off and finally see a perspective that isn’t their own.