There’s a massive national discussion about Greek Lie in the wake of the racist SAE video at the University of Oklahoma. Many wonder why fraternities and sororities even still exists in 2015 since (a. there’s a perception that their values are really just hollow words that aren’t reflected in the actions of their members and (b. they’re institutions that seek to exclude vs. include, going against the fundamental values at the core of institutions of higher education. Still, they’re deeply woven in to the social life experience at my colleges around the country, despite an increasing number of public controversies and anti-fraternity attitudes.
Famous funny guy Will Ferrell was a member of Delta Tau Delta while at the University of Southern California. At SXSW this weekend, Will Ferrell answered fan-submitted questions for the New York Times, including this one about the “frat haters” who have come out in “droves” after the SAE video went viral. Usually fraternity members defend the Greek Life system with the fervent conviction, but Ferrell’s answer is a surprising one for a former frat guy.
Q. Will, we are fraternity brothers of Delta Tau Delta, albeit different chapters and years. The recent awful situation with SAE has brought out the “frat haters” in droves. Could you comment on your own fraternity experience and why (or why not) fraternity membership is still a worthy consideration for a college student? —Stephen Browning,
A.The incident in Oklahoma, that is a real argument for getting rid of the system altogether, in my opinion, even having been through a fraternity. Because when you break it down, it really is about creating cliques and clubs and being exclusionary. Fraternities were started as academic societies that were supposed to have a philanthropic arm to them. And when it’s governed by those kind of rules, then they’re still beneficial. But you gotta be careful. I was lucky in that the one I was in, we were really kind of the anti-fraternity fraternity. We were considered good enough to get the exchanges with the good sororities. We couldn’t get anyone to vote on anything, but if you needed 40 guys to show up and build a 20-foot-tall papier-mâchéversion of the Matterhorn, we were there and ready. But we didn’t take it too seriously. It was just about having fun. But I think it’s an interesting dilemma for universities these days.
Maybe Will Ferrell can get Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn, and Todd Phillips back together for Old School II: Damn This Frat Shit Just Got Real. Gordon Pritchard finally wins.