REYEN | Cornell’s Greek Tragedy

I promised myself I would never join a sorority. And yet, like many young women on Cornell’s campus, I went through sorority recruitment as a second-semester freshman, concerned about branching out after several socially stunted years during the COVID-19 pandemic. Naively, I was drawn in by the perception that the academic rigor of our University would eliminate some of the racist and sexist practices I had heard about at notorious “party” schools, and frankly, I wanted to participate fully in the college party experience.

As a freshman on campus, receiving an invitation into the social foray can feel like an achievement. I was initially swept up in the affinity of belonging that often accompanies membership in one of Cornell’s Greek organizations. As I have matured, however, my observations of the inner workings of one of Cornell’s most dominant social scenes have highlighted rampant, glaring issues. The truth is, our campus’ social culture is set up in an inherently predatory way, whether or not individuals enter into it with intention or awareness of that fact. 

Satirical campus news outlet @cu_nooz posted the following on Valentine’s Day this year: “OP-ED: If Perfect Match Says I’m Meant to Date Only Freshman Women, Then Who Am I to Question It?” While fictional, this pseudo-headline, written from the perspective of an older Cornell male student, highlights an uncomfortably common mentality among Cornell’s male population.