“Inside NYU Greek Life” is your typical 2007-styled Blogspot site: purple lettering, standard fonts, and block type. It’s one of the first things that comes up when you Google “Frat life at NYU” or “NYU Greek Life,” sitting right below NYU’s official website.
Upon closer look, however, what’s found on the blog is far from boring. Browsing through the site leaves one with a nasty impression of NYU Greek Life; namely, that it’s racist, drug-induced, and full of the species known as “nohomo alwayserectus.”
Frat life isn’t a huge part of NYU’s community–only 7% of the student body is involved–but it’s certainly there if you want it. The frats throw parties almost every weekend, and as we learned last week, some also build “fratapults.” The site has been around for a while now, but it doesn’t include any sort of official fraternity comment. Are they really as bad as they seem? We decided to ask some members of the biggest frats on campus (Pike, AEPi, and ZBT), as well as the smaller frats (Zeta Psi, Kappa Sigma, and Phi Kappa Sigma), what they thought about the blog.
[Editor's Note: The following fraternity members wished to remain anonymous. The brothers we interviewed do not solely reflect the ideas and/or feelings of all members of their respected fraternities. Most of these brothers were selected to be interviewed because they hold a position of power in their fraternities.]
Pi Kappa Alpha (aka Pike):
Inside NYU Greek Life says: Pike is a group of “swarthy men in shiny shirts [with] unpronounceable last names…lots of guys from business, pre-business and surprisingly large number of Tischies, gay guys and particularly bi-sexuals. Occasional WASP who gets a release letter or goes non-payment. Tri-state.” And what about those “date rape” stories? Inside states “Pikes will not drug and rape YOUR date contrary to the popular image. Their own dates, well…” Yikes. That can’t be good for a reputation.
Any truth, Pike? “The size, the partying.”
And the lies? “The type of guys are completely wrong…we are probably the most diverse fraternity, we have guys from over 6 different countries [as well as] a few guys from tri-state area but just as much from California. As far as I know we don’t have any gay guys. Pike is also one of the largest if not largest contributor to charities year after year in the fraternity circle.”
What if potential brothers come upon this site while trying to find out more information about NYU’s Greek Life? “[The blog is] not a great first impression, but if they are actually interested they would go to meet the Greeks. Obviously the guy/girl who wrote this blog is looking to be the next Perez Hilton. This website is the equivalent of The Onion…Anyone who knows the NYU Greek Life, knows that this blog is meant for entertainment and not a place to find facts.”
Alpha Epsilon Pi (aka AEPi):
“Inside NYU Greek Life” claims: “[Do] different kinds of Jewish count as diversity?…[They would be] Dean Gordon ‘Cheese’ Pritchard from Old School…AEPi national brags about being at least 95% Jewish but they ain’t go nothin’ on the Alpha chapter…The national young alumni chapter is to be found in Murray Hill. Or maybe it IS Murray Hill. AEPi treats ZBT as its friendly little brother and they cooperate on various events.”
AEPi’s response: “1. We have no hazing at all. 2. That character is not accurate: It should be Adrien Grenier of Entourage. 3. We don’t brag about being 95% Jewish, we ARE 100% Jewish. No questions asked. 4. I don’t know what the Murray Hill reference is to, but we never do anything fraternity related in that area of town. 5. ZBT is not our little brother, they are smaller than us and probably a lower tier fraternity, but we usually do not cooperate with them very much.”
Zeta Beta Tau (aka ZBT):
“Inside NYU Greek Life” claims: ZBT is full of “Jewish neeks, nerds of various kinds.” And tier wise? “Lower to middle.”
ZBT’s response: “Although it is a prominently Jewish fraternity nationally, ZBT at NYU is extremely diverse. There is a rigorous membership process where no one is demeaned or hurt but they have to prove their commitment to the fraternity (At least 1 kid drops every semester), so that statement is also inaccurate. And calling ZBT mid to lower tier is laughable. ZBT is the reigning Greek Week champion, set a record by raising $31,000 in relay for life, mixes frequently with every top tier sorority, and throws great parties. ZBT has a lot of smart kids, but calling them nerds would be inaccurate. ZBT has a lot of well-rounded individuals.”
What if potential brothers come upon this site while trying to find out more information about NYU’s Greek Life? “It was clearly written by someone who didn’t know what they were talking about and who was jaded against Greek Life here. Even for the fraternities I don’t like, a lot of the claims were wildly untrue, biased, and inaccurate. Moreover, the tier system is totally out of whack. FiJi and Delta Phi top tier? Does Delta Phi even exist on campus still? I certainly don’t know.”
“Inside NYU Greek Life” claims: “Small brotherhood, so small you might not see them.” And apparently no house on campus.
Zeta Psi’s response… “[We have] a house on campus.” Well, there you have it folks.
Kappa Sigma (aka Kappa Sig):
“Inside NYU Greek Life” claims: “Very Goyish, very ‘straight’, and all in all tight knit, fun and occasionally rowdy.”
Kappa Sig’s response… ”the profile for my fraternity seems to be more favorable and accurate than some of the others, but overall the article is inconsistent. While it hasn’t hurt our recruitment since we use a different process, I could see how it might affect the reputation of other fraternities.”
Phi Kappa Sigma (aka Skullhouse):
“Inside NYU Greek Life” claims: “They have no friends or enemies cuz it’s not enough going on for other fraternities to be interested at this point.” (Note: NYU Local might be a little biased (Go Team Paul!) but we can disprove this statement off the bat. Skullhouse rulez!)
Phi Kap’s response…
As a general statement: “The blog is riddled with errors that a quick trip to Wikipedia can debunk–half of the organizations discussed are not even at NYU, and many are claimed to be “underground” with extensive membership that no one has ever met or heard of. It’s unfortunate that it turns up in Google search results at all. Even the organizations that are notoriously easy to stereotype seem to be misrepresented. Someone didn’t do their homework before writing that blog.”
Regarding the portrayal of Phi Kap: ”They managed to get nearly every single point incorrect–I would almost wonder if they confused us with another organization, had they not referenced the “Skull” imagery. Phi Kap has approximately 25 men at NYU, and dates back to 1850 nationally–a great deal of the symbolism and history has its roots in the Freemasons. Well represented on the national level, Phi Kap has 50 chapters primarily concentrated in the South and along the East Coast. While hazing is rejected outright, the pledge process is extensive and challenging–pledges are expected to have an expert level of historical knowledge and demonstrate strong teamwork as a cohesive unit.”
As for diversity: ”Even as a smaller chapter, we have brothers from Haiti, Germany, Sweden, India, Indonesia, Ukraine, and all over the United States.”
Parties: “Parties tend to be small, exclusive, and wild, and often contain at least one philosophical debate over the merits of free will vs. determinism. Brothers are known to spend the week before the party wiring together some kind of insane project that gets unveiled at the party and kicks things up a notch. That’s all I can say about that.”
Alumni: “Phi Kap alumni nationally range from NCAA Champion Head Coaches to Governors to Directors of the CIA. The Phi Kap chapter at NYU represents a wide range of majors, but seems to collect many brothers from the fields of politics, economics, philosophy, creative writing, and engineering.”
Tier: “In terms of the “tier” of Phi Kap–it’s on a tier of its own, and looks for a different sort of brother than everyone else. Fratapult night was a solid representation of this.”
Final words? “Surprisingly, the opening paragraphs are more or less accurate (except their note about Nu Epsilon, which has never had a chapter on campus). The history of fraternal life at NYU was weakened by two events: the move from the Heights campus, and World War One. That being said, the descriptions of the individual fraternities are worthless. Stereotyping an already overly stereotyped group. Outdated information (Kappa Sigma isn’t even chartered at NYU). The tired tier system. A profession to know who has houses where. It’s all nonsense.
The website’s tag line is “Inaccurate to Faultlessness,” but the failed attempt at humor is giving freshman [misinformation] about NYU Greek Life. When you type “NYU Greek Life” into Google, the blog is one of the top results. It may have been made in jest, but it’s hardly funny and it gives people a skewed perception coming in. While it isn’t as bad as TFM, it’s definitely irrelevant and the NYU Greek system would be better off without it.”