Greek life gathers in solidarity at Brower
A public display of greek life unity took to the steps of Brower Commons on the College Avenue campus last night, as members of different University greek organizations came together to show support for each other in response to The Medium’s recent article targeting Alpha Chi Omega.
Tara Rabinowitz, the president of the University’s Panhellenic Association, along with the Interfraternity Council, organized the unity event.
“We’re not by any means protesting The Medium,” she said. “We’re just coming together as a community to show our support for each organization as individual chapters coming together as one community.”
Matthew Ruffe, the president of the Interfraternity Council said the event’s purpose of supporting the University’s fraternities and sororities was best expressed as a public rally.
“In a public space, it allows us to show that while one organization might be being attacked, we stand together as a group, and it kind of makes a statement showing that we are, whether we’re men, women, culturally based, or socially based, we are a united greek community and we will support each other,” said Ruffe, a School of Arts and Sciences senior.
About 200 people attended the rally, representing almost every greek organization on campus, said Rabinowitz a School of Arts and Sciences senior.
Cassandra Kotsolakis, president of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority mentioned in the satirical publication’s article, said she was humbled to see so many fraternity and sorority members come together to support the cause.
“Greek life is not always portrayed as it should be, and this just shows that we stand for so much more than what people think we do,” Rabinowitz said.
Ruffe said that the organizations stand for leadership, service, scholarship and friendship for life.
“Those are our key pillars, and those are what we want to show the University that we do stand by, and hopefully this sort of response in a peaceful yet supportive way shows the University that we’re here for doing good, and we’re not here for causing problems or anything like that,” he said.
The Medium’s article, titled “Alpha Chi Omega to Shut Down; ‘We don’t want to be like you ugly bitches‘ Potential Pledges say”, targeted Alpha Chi Omega by publishing controversial and defamatory comments towards the organization’s members.
Sean Summers, a member the Theta Delta Chi fraternity, said The Medium crossed the line by targeting one specific organization.
“Targeting one specific sorority, especially when they’re losing what I’m sure many of them love and have worked for throughout their entire college career — it’s like kicking someone while they’re down, and I just thought it was really out of line to do that,” said Summers, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.
Natale Mazzaferro, a member of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity, said the article was inappropriate, especially since it was published during National Eating Disorder Awareness week.
“Especially during National Eating Disorder Awareness week to give awareness to those disorders, what The Medium said was just plain rude and wrong,” Mazzaferro said.
Sergio Palomo, a member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, said the manner in which freedom of speech is implemented on campus needs to be seriously considered.
“Of course, we have the freedom of speech, but it’s how we use it that’s really important,” he said.
The Medium’s article also published racist and stereotypical statements directed towards the Latino fraternity, Lamba Theta Phi, addressing them as a sorority.
“Rutgers is really diverse, we definitely think that that type of behavior is unacceptable, and no organization would be proud of making racist comments against other organizations,” said Palomo, a School of Engineering sophomore.
Although The Medium issued a public apology on its website, the damage had already been done, he said.
“The article shouldn’t have been published ever, and I know it’s already on Reddit, so the whole world can see it now,” said Mazzaferro, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.
Kotsolakis said she hopes that the University takes action in response to The Medium’s article.
“It’s kind of a shock to see that at such a diverse university, stuff like this is still happening and honestly, it shouldn’t be tolerated because at this day and age, women are just as equal as everyone else, and playing on body image is just not the right way to go about things,” she said.
Despite the rumors, the Alpha Chi Omega president said the sorority is not closing for financial reasons.
“Although we will not be an active chapter on this campus, we will not be gone,” Kotsolakis said. “We will still be participating in as much as we can and you’ll still see us on campus in our letters, and we will still be just as proud as we always have been.”
After the rally, Rabinowitz said the Greek life organizations can now move away from the controversy.
“I think it’s pretty much done,” she said. “We’re ready to move past it. At this point, we’re just moving forward trying to be positive about things, and really use that bond that we do have together to do good things.”
Palomo said the controversy surrounding The Medium’s article has its silver lining.
“It definitely brought the Greek community much more closer than it already is. We were already close, but this accident does bring the Greek community much closer together,” he said.