Tag Archives: Andres Rodriguez

Beyond the Haze

Greek life at CSUN has come under fire following the death of Armando Villa, a pledge of Zeta Mu. Villa died of dehydration and hyperthermia in July, during an initiation hiking trip with fellow fraternity members and pledges.

Nationwide, more than 60 people have died in fraternity-related incidents since 2005, according to  Bloomberg News. Researchers also suggest fraternity members are more likely to commit sexual assault, and sorority members are more likely to be victims of it.

Villa’s death, and the reports of fraternity-related fatalities and sexual violence across the country, have had an impact on the Greek life and its members on CSUN’s campus.

“I mean you can’t help but feel disgusted that these kind of activities are going on,” said incoming Interfraternity Council President Josh Stepakoff. “It obviously goes against every value that we preach in being part of the Greek system.”

Diane Harrison, President of Cal State Northridge, has suspended pledging for the Spring 2015 semester. Stepakoff said he was surprised she decided to let Greek life continue at CSUN.

“She made it very clear during her announcement she could’ve just suspended the Greek system completely,” he said. “She would be ridiculed no matter what she did, and she probably took the most ridicule just by keeping us around, and by cutting pledging this semester, cutting it next semester, and giving us the opportunity to regain the administration’s trust.”

While people hear many negative things about sororities and fraternities, members say there are many positives to the Greek System. The brotherhood and sisterhood the members form in a fraternity or sorority is the main one.

“I mostly joined for networking,” said Katrina Brkic, former vice-president of CSUN’s Panhellenic Council. “I never had sisters — I always had a brother — so I wanted an older sister…. I’ve gotten most of my internships through our alum, through sisters who’ve worked at different places.”

Andres Rodriguez is the former recruitment chair for the Interfraternity Council. He said fraternity and sororities also come together to do positive things like philanthropic work.

“One of the collective philanthropy events we did this past semester through IFC was the Walk a Mile in their shoes, which was to bring awareness to sexual assault and domestic violence,” Rodriquez said. “That was pretty cool because it brought members from every fraternity together for a common cause.”

CSUN’s Greek system leaders agree the fraternities and sororities must work to make improvements in their reputation, and to make sure no more tragedies occur. Students who want to rush will have to take an online prep course before they are allowed to attend a rush event. Rodriquez said the Greeks would keep promoting the good things they have done, and the importance of their values, so that the new potential members won’t be pushed away by the negative stereotypes in the media.


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