Letter to the Editor
Katelyn Mattingly, Guest Writer
Being Greek isn’t about the elaborate parties or the comfort color shirts we make for every event. It is not about bid days, crafting or Total Frat Move. Being in Greek Life is so much more than what people see in the movies or on Yik Yak. From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it and from the inside looking out, it is so difficult to explain it.
In light of recent events, articles and social media postings, I thought it only appropriate that I defend myself, my chapter and the entire Greek community.
I want to set a couple things straight: we don’t hate you for not being in Greek life. It’s your personal choice. Don’t get us wrong, we would love to have all of you as our brothers and sisters but we understand it isn’t for everyone.
We don’t hate you so why do you hate us?
Greek life is not perfect, it will never be. Each chapter has their flaws. And yes, there are some people who join for the wrong reasons but at the end of the day they are still Greek and we will always be there to support them.
Over the summer and during Panhellenic recruitment, I served as a Rho Gamma. A Rho Gamma is a Panhellenic sorority member who briefly disaffiliates from her chapter (meaning no letters, no sisters, and no sorority shirts) so that we could properly help women find their home in an unbiased way. I watched over 200 girls come in and out each day of Recruitment, so eager to fall in love with a sorority. And they did. Each day, girls would come and talk to me with light in their eyes, telling how they “really clicked with the girls” or that they “couldn’t wait to fight for that philanthropy” because it meant so much to them.
The fact that I was genuinely happy for each of these girls finding a home, that wasn’t even my sorority in some cases, means that we, as Greeks, ARE doing something right. Sure, we have flaws. But what organization doesn’t? I know in my heart that we as a Greek community can stand up for what is right, good and true. I know that there is Panhellenic, IFC, NPHC and MGC love. And I think now, more than ever, that we should show it.
I love my sorority. When I sit down at chapter that I know I am sitting in a room with a hundred women that I not only respect but I also can the time of my life with. These women are not just my friends; they are my sisters, my confidants, my late night study partners. They are my life. I know that when something goes wrong in my life, when I am feeling lower than low that my sisters will be the first ones at my door with a diet coke and a hug. And I know somewhere in the crazy future when some dumb fool decides to marry me, that my sisters will be standing next to me, helping my every little step and tear along the way.
I love that I am able to joke around with my friends and say, “come hang out with me! My parents pay good money for you to be my friend, I want to get my money’s worth” …because in reality, we know it’s not true. Over the summer I worked day and night to pay for my own dues… I pay for our Nationals. I pay for t-shirts, Monday night meals and Panhellenic. But I don’t pay for my friends. You can’t put a price tag on the love that is sisterhood or brotherhood. You can say what you want but nothing on my bill says “being a friend…$120”.
I love our work and our dedication to not only our philanthropy but all of our philanthropies. The work that we, as a Greek community, do is uplifting and so rewarding to us and to the community. We don’t do it because we have to; we do it because we truly believe that we are here to make a difference. That if just one person is helped by the philanthropic work we do, then we have done our job.
I love that when I walk around campus I will see tons of smiling faces saying hello to me, making me feel wanted and special. When I walk into a huge classroom filled with people that I can always find a member of the Greek community to sit and learn with.
We begin our journey in our houses as crazed, confused and lonely children but as time changes and the semesters go by; we graduate as a mature, worldly, brave men and women who are ready for life outside Huntsville.
You can say what you want about certain chapters but please know that will not stop any of us from showing our unconditional love and support for not only them but the entire Greek community.
I’m not trying to recruit you or even make you love us. All I want is for you to see it from our point of view. We just care too much. You see, what we are a part of dates back to the 1800’s, to men and women who created something much bigger than themselves. Every day, we are just trying to make them, and the hundreds of other people who have come after them, proud.
Letter from the Editor
Jay R. Jordan, Editor-in-Chief
Our publication recently ran an editorial piece on our Viewpoints page in our Paws Up/Down section. The Paws Up in question read, “PAWS UP to Rush Week: Mom and dad cough up that cash for you to have friends while you sit back and reap the rewards (a broken wine bottle in your neck).”
While the author of this Paws Up will remain anonymous, I am the editor who gave the final say in whether or not to run it. On behalf of the Houstonian staff, I would like to apologize for this Paws Up. However, I stand by its publication and the writer who wrote it. While this Paws Up was neither in my nor the entirety of our staff’s opinion, I stand by our freedom to do so without persecution nor prior restraint.
When the politics and bad blood are taken out of the equation, you should agree with me, too.
There was opposition to our Paws Up. This came from a number of students who were upset with the content of and the means by which this opinion was published. This opinion was published on our Viewpoints page, which is reserved for editorials, opinions, letters to the editor, cartoons, retractions and corrections.
However, multiple students took to Twitter to complain, tweeting that the Houstonian was biased and does not report the news. Others said we were not being “classy” and, again said we needed to be unbiased. This is where the nature of the Viewpoints page is extremely relevant in that it is the one page where we should print opinions, regardless of the author.
This is where the Viewpoints page differentiates from the News page. Our news is unbiased. No, not the faux “Fair and Balanced” unbiased, but our reports truly tell both sides of a story, so long as both sides are willing to cooperate with our reporters. For example, if person A and person B get into a fight, and person A tells a reporter all of the details but person B refuses to go on record, we can only print a story with the details from person A.
I challenge any student reading this to scour through our news section since I began my tenure as editor-in-chief and find a truly biased article. I will take the liberty to draft a correction and print it on our Viewpoints page.
With that being said, our publication also had calls from the author of this week’s letter to the editor that we do not cover the “good side” of Greek life organizations and only print the “bad side.”
With the entire Greek life v. Student Government Association showdown of 2014 out of the way, I can say that since I’ve worked at this newspaper, we have lacked a proper coverage of Greek life. However, I would like to ask any one inside a Greek life organization to send any and all story ideas to email@example.com. This way, we are able to gather information and write a proper story. I would love to publish stories reflecting the good side of Greek life, but I cannot do so if I do not know about it.
Together, you and I make up the student body at Sam Houston State University. While our years here are short (hopefully), our mark lasts forever. Let us not make it about bickering but about building a better university.