Making Fraternity “Better” Is Making It Less Accessible

posted in: Nik Koulogeoge | 2
“Wahh, I can’t join a sorority because the crusaders of Fraternity & Sorority Life are secretly raising the cost beneath my nose!”

~~ To read a teaser post about the Fraternity Man stance on Greek Life Fees, click here~~

I mentioned in a recent post that the college degree likely became worthless for the following reasons:

  1. Institutions are more interested in inflating their graduation/job-placement statistics than holding students accountable for violating policies.
  2. Institutions are more interested in the public relations of building expensive (and immediately out-dated) green buildings, high-end cafeterias and rock walls than they are making their degrees worthy of the cost of tuition.
  3. Institutions, facing steep budget constraints due to over-regulation, are more interested in becoming a home-away-from-home than a place where learning takes place.

I believe fraternities are on the same trajectory.

Here’s a fun secret students:

We know how to get you to pay more without raising your dues directly.

Think of dues like taxes. People hate it when their taxes are raised and politicians are scared to raise them. How do they get around it? Bureaucrats impose mandates/regulations that force the cost on to people or organizations (such as the recent push for higher education institutions to become mini-FBI’s or requiring high schools to have a 1,000+ book physical library with college-educated librarians).

Your organization and school of choice are no different.

  • The IFC mandating that students go through a formal recruitment process typically adds $10-$100 so that notoriously inept and unenthusiastic IFC officers can manage a broken “rush” process.
  • Your school or headquarters mandating you use a certain type of service (billing, composites, printing) avoids them having to worry about asking you to pay them for it. These are typically promoted as “necessary,” but are often friends helping friends get paid.
  • Chartering and program fees? They’re simply ways to charge for things your dues should cover, but don’t. Instead of asking to raise dues, your un-elected officials impose fees. It is a power-trip supported by a misguided moral obligation to address the sin of under-programming within our organizations.
  • PR stunts like new programs, workshops and partnerships? Secret Dues.
  • Schools requiring organizations to spend $1,000-$10,000 just to have the opportunity to recruit some students as a part of an expansion/extension? Secret dues.

You see, the problem we higher ed professionals think we face is not that fraternity is irrelevant. It’s that the reality of a friendship/networking club is so simple and relevant without us that we must find problems to address and give our work value. We want to do more, and we want our students to be the raw material. . . no matter the cost.

So the next time you show a potential member the “costs of membership,” be sure to include everything that’s hidden. Slowly we’ll start to see that our ridiculous desire that fraternity be open to everyone is becoming less and less of a reality.

That reality won’t unveil itself because of the actions of our students, but because of Fraternity & Sorority Life professionals’ weird fetish with convincing ourselves that we are irrelevant until the Rolling Stone says otherwise.