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.