Student Opinions on Sorority Houses
Disclaimer: I am a member of Alpha Delta Pi, but my opinion presented in this article does not necessarily represent Southwestern University’s Greek Life policies, nor my chapter of my sorority, nor my local, state, nor national sorority. The opinions presented in this article by Southwestern University Greek Life members and by Southwestern University non-Greek life member(s) do not necessarily represent Southwestern University’s Greek Life policies, each Greek Life’s national chapter statement, city chapter statement, nor local chapter statement. Note: Members of Kappa Alpha Order and Alpha Kappa Alpha declined to interview.
You may have heard of something called the “brothel law,” a rumor that has floated around Southwestern’s campus, which speculates that the reason SU doesn’t have sorority houses on campus is because of a county law that prohibits six or more women living in a house together or else it is considered a brothel. To read more about this, read my co-worker Abbey’s article. With Spring recruitment passing, Greek Life remains on people’s minds lately. I wanted to get student opinions on whether or not they believed that sorority houses should be built, and if they should be built on campus.
When asked what their beliefs are regarding the current legality of having sorority houses on Southwestern’s campus, I received varying responses from SU students. Most of the students I interviewed had heard of it, but doubted that it was still in effect anymore. Mary Smith, a member of Alpha Delta Pi, says that she believes that the ‘brothel law’ “used to be an active law, and that it no longer is an active law.”
Jose Ortiz, a Pi Kappa Alpha member, said, “I thought it was illegal to have sorority houses in Georgetown because that’s what I heard around campus. It didn’t surprise me that this kind of thing would exist, because Georgetown is really conservative.”
Non Greek Life member, Arden Neff, responded, “Prior to coming to Southwestern, I thought that there was some sort of brothel law in all of Texas that didn’t allow sororities to have houses on campus.”
When asked if they would want Southwestern sorority houses to be built, everyone that I interviewed said that they were in support of having sorority houses. This surprised me a bit.
Laurel Mulkey, member of Kappa Delta Chi said, “I do think Southwestern should have sorority houses if there is enough of a want for them from the sororities on campus. Though there would need to be enough funding for the houses, which would require sufficient donations from outside sources.”
For Maddy Lamb, a recent Alpha Xi Delta graduate, “I believe that sorority houses should be the same as the frat houses. I think that they should be built on-campus but classified as off-campus.”
For Adam Kral, member of Kappa Sigma, “I don’t know how the members of sororities feel about having a singular space on-campus designated to hold Greek Life activities, such as chapter. I do know that if I was in their position and also knew that other groups on campus were given entire buildings in which to operate, I would be very upset.”
For my last question, I asked if sorority houses were to be built, do you think they should be built on Southwestern’s campus or not?
For Katya Piekarski, member of Delta Delta Delta, she responded, “Yes. The fraternities on campus, from personal review, are popular housing for members of Greek Life, but are not overpriced and have many opportunities for scholarships. I expect this would be similar to sorority houses, as well as that housing there is not mandatory.”
For Noah Clarkson, member of Phi Delta Theta, he said, “I believe that we should have sorority houses, and have them built on-campus.”
For Laila Saqer, member of Zeta Tau Alpha, she responded, “Yes! They should be built on campus. We (some of Zetas) constantly think about what it would be like to all live together and how different our home would be to the frat houses — which are fully allowed.”
And for Neff, “I think that for most women, (including myself) it’s like there’s some kind of self-targeted stigma surrounding women and drama that wouldn’t really play out in reality. Initially, my first reaction is to give a resounding no. I wouldn’t want to live there, I wouldn’t want to deal with the drama. But then I changed my mind.”
The responses that I got were mostly the same, but with some nuances on what influenced their opinions. My personal opinion, which is not necessarily the opinion of my sorority, is that we should have sorority houses, because it is not fair that we don’t have them and the fraternities do. I do not know if all Greek Life chapters can afford to have a house here, but if so, I believe that they should be allowed to be built. I believe that they should be built on the acres of land Southwestern has that is on the end of the east side of campus, near the sports fields.
While each person, regardless of Greek Life status, has their own opinion on sorority houses, I hope that people begin to think more about changes to Greek Life as new members are initiated into Greek Life. Maybe, one day, we’ll have sorority houses on campus. Maybe they won’t be on campus. Maybe there will never be one! But, students and student organizations have the power to advocate for their own interests. A movement could arise from these demonstrated interests.