You want to know why I hate TFM and the like? Because of sites like that, this is what people think fraternities are.
I came across this tweet last evening and just cringed. There was also a link within the same tweet that led to the story of a mother suing a fraternity for $25 million because her son was killed through hazing and negligence of the members. The story is sad in its own right, but what I think is even worse is the tweet above. Even if the message was directed at students, are we that naive to believe that websites like TFM are the reasons fraternity/sorority members are hazing, abusing alcohol, and the like?
People think that fraternities and sororities are what they are because of the actions of their members, not because of sites like TFM (Total Frat Move) or TSM (Total Sorority Move). In fact, TFM and TSM only exist because members actually do these things. TFM and TSM just make these actions more public. Granted, I do not believe for a second that everything reported on these two sites is true, but I feel these sites, unfortunately, contain more fact than fiction.
So what do we do? There have been people who have commented about the site (Florida Southern University, Texas State University, Indiana University), but these are students. Where are (inter)national headquarters reaching out to their members about these issues? A quick glance at some of the posts on this site and, for someone with even a rudimentary knowledge of F/S life, it is extremely easy to identify various fraternity and sorority affiliations. I checked my organization’s website and there are no comments or statements about TFM and similar sites.
AFLV hosted a Hall of Truth at WFL/NCGLC this past year and that should be a clear indication that TFM and TSM is not the reason people think what they think about fraternities and sororities. Our members ARE doing these things. The Hall of Truth was evidence. Social media has just made it easier for members to demonstrate their antics in an unabashed way. There are members of our organizations who feel that it is okay not only to do these things but to also post them to the world because they aren’t being told otherwise. The elitism and privilege of fraternity/sorority organizations is on display to the rest of the world. There are no repercussions for actions or words.
Anonymous posting allows for actions to be shared to the world, but before they are posted, someone else probably witnessed it and did nothing. I understand that it would be extremely difficult for (inter)national organizations to hold members accountable for anonymous posting, but at least a statement defining the organization’s stance draws a line in the sand for undergraduates. There needs to be further support by headquarters to the undergraduate chapters to remove members who perpetuate negative stereotypes of F/S life. Until our members are willing to hold each other accountable for their actions and words, it will not matter that TFM and TSM exists. There will still be tragedies and deaths.
Until next time…