Sorority Row: solipsism, cognitive dissonance, and phony “Bid Night” outrage at the University of Virginia

Phi Kappa Psi House at University of Virginia
Phi Kappa Psi House at University of Virginia

The mascot of the University Of Virginia is the Cavalier. And the sorority women of Jefferson’s venerable institution believe that’s how their right to freely associate and look after themselves was dismissed by matriarchs of their organizations. So says, Ms Story Hinckley, a sorority active and senior.

At first blush, Hinckley’s entreaty not only tugs at the heartstrings, it threatens to yank the entire interior vena cava from its moorings. She has created an online petition to revoke the edict from a coalition of national sorority directors that their UVa actives not attend fraternity parties, starting with “bid night,” festivities, where chapters accept new member pledges, and, like most fraternity functions, good libations are rumored to flow, and, the matriarchs fear, bloomers are rumored to fall, forcibly or otherwise, as the women are trapped into spontaneous bacchanals by Rape Lycans.


Not so, says Hinckley.

This is gender discrimination.

Instead of addressing rape and sexual assault at UVa, this mandate perpetuates the idea that women are inferior, sexual objects. It is degrading to Greek women, as it appears that the NPC views us as defenseless and UVa’s new fraternal policies as invalid. Allowing the NPC to prevent us from celebrating (what used to be) a tight-knit community, sends the message that we are weak.

Please sign this petition to support women’s rights at the University of Virginia.

In another letter to the sorority dictators, quoted by the Washington Post’s Susan Svrluga, signatories take issue with the presumed “diminished capacity for agency” implicit within the edict.

Sounds like a cause one can get behind. After all, who wants to see adult women essentially grounded for having done nothing wrong? These women signed up for college Greek life, not a convent. How dare the National Panhellenic and various Sorority National Directors take these “strong women” back to the 1950s, treating them like “children,” they demur.

“This is not an issue of we’re angry because we can’t go out and drink,” says Sara Surface to NPR affiliate WVTF.  “It’s an issue over whether or not we have the choice.”

Seems the only choice was to sign the petition, in the name of The Father, The Son and The Holy Booger from “Revenge Of The Nerds.” But not before a visit to the medicine cabinet, for two red pill caplets to blend into my fruit smoothie. Doing such is always a Huxley-esque and clarifying experience, and this time was no different.  Indeed, the varied squalls and squawks of displeasure synthesized into their real meaning, as only the words “solipsism” and “cognitive dissonance” were visible on the page.

What complicates sympathy for the plight of these women is that they only sought to advocate for their “adult agency” when faced with prior restraint on their movements and activities.  However, a search for a similar outflow of activist remonstration after  fraternities were extorted into being conscripted to the role of “Sober Monitors” for these “adults,” under threat of revocation of recognition on campus comes up curiously empty. Funny, that.

As our colleague Pierce Harlan at Community of the Wrongly Accused eloquently lays out, the campus rape hysteria template is modeled after how the law protects child victims. Not surprisingly, the new Fraternal Operating Agreement addenda, announced by University President Theresa Sullivan, follows this template. Its provisions require, inter alia, that a minimum of three brothers be lucid at all events. Only these “sober brothers” would have access to upstairs rooms, and would monitor who can enter and exit rooms. It also includes “Bystander Intervention Training,” ostensibly to spirit away the innocents in the nick of time. The “agreement” also includes such feminist code words as “addressing. . .unhealthy power structures” and “eliminating chaos and discomfort.”

In other words, all risk for the women (children) is outsourced to the men (grown-ups). Can’t have the coeds being groomed for spontaneous, tipsy carnal knowledge. It’s the same principle at play with the new “affirmative consent” laws; Sexual contact with women is a presumptive crime, as it is with minors.

This hissy fit isn’t about freedom. It’s about privilege. Specifically, conferring upon these women the privilege to constrain male sexuality whilst holding in reserve the right to invoke post hoc plausible deniability for their own, something Title IX coordinators endorse, especially at Virginia colleges.

Moreover, how many opportunities to take a stand did the Good Greek Women of UVa. let fly by? In light of Ms. Hinckley’s stated frustration of the Greek men being stereotyped as  “stupid rapist fraternity brother.  ‘No women can come to your house on this night because they will all be sexually assaulted,”a review is in order.

When their fellow Greeks carried the cross of a fantastical horror story equal parts Animal House, Silence Of The Lambs and McMartin Pre-School/Kern County as a part of “ritual pledge initiation”. . .what did they do?

When the story led to these young men being driven from their homes, in fear for their lives after naked acts of terrorism and threats. . .what did they do?

When a student coalition suggested “secret trials” for their “friends,” as well as other campus men  . . .what did they do?

And yet, when the toga-clad chickens come home to roost, spiking the punch not with date-rape sedatives but with an acrid, caustic load of The Law Of Unintended Consequences expelled from their bowels, they demand the world take notice of their campus-wide bitter beer faces?

How convenient. . .and “cavalier.”

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