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‘I Know They’re Listening’: A UMD Alum’s Podcast Exposes Greek Life

Lucy Taylor began taking notes two years after her experience in a top-tier sorority at the University of Maryland, College Park. By that time, everything in her life had changed, including her housing arrangement, her friend group and her mental health. However, her old sorority and the Greek life system had not changed. She still carried her trauma, and she knew she had to do something about the system that had failed her still existing. 

“I knew I wanted to do something even like a month after I disaffiliated. I wasn’t ready yet, but I was like, one day. One day,” Taylor said.

“SNAPPED”, the podcast, has earned 14,400 streams since its release in May 2020. In the six-episode series, Lucy Taylor recounts her experiences with sorority rush, strict social media rules, fraternity parties, hookup culture, and sexual assault in the sorority bubble. 

In “SNAPPED”, Lucy recognizes that her past sorority promoted slut-shaming through social media and dress codes. She reflects that they did not seem to care about her on a personal level. In episode four, Lucy recounts how A UMD top-tier fraternity poorly handled a case of sexual assault affiliated with one of its pledges. As a sexual assault survivor not only hoping to recount her experience to other survivors but also abolish Greek life, Taylor believes in the power of a story.

“As I talked about in the podcast, it’s so hard to admit that the Greek life system failed you. There are so many positive things about it out there, even just the fact that our schools are openly supporting it, it can gaslight you into thinking it’s you that’s wrong and not the system,” Taylor said.

UMD students have reacted to the podcast on Reddit, Instagram, and the popular Greek life review site, Greekrank. Members of at least one on-campus IFC fraternity were strongly encouraged to listen to the podcast and write a reflection paper.

“I wasn’t surprised when they brought up the podcast to us. We just wanted to focus on having a good time and making sure sororities felt comfortable and not pressured,” said a sophomore member of the fraternity.

Taylor herself was contacted by the Office of Student Misconduct to be part of an investigation after someone sent her podcast in anonymously.

“I told them no, everything I want to say is in the podcast. But I know for a fact they’re listening, and as I mentioned in the last episode, what is it going to take for them to abolish this? I’m sure there’s been past traumas they’ve heard about but now that they’ve heard it in detail, what’s it going to take to abolish it?” Taylor said.

The red zone occurs during the first 6-10 weeks of a woman’s first year at college – when the risk of sexual assault is highest. One in five women will be sexually assaulted in college.

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Photo by Sophia Illic

Members of the LGBTQ+ community and minoritiesreport higher rates of psychological problems following sexual violence incidents.

On Apple Podcasts, “SNAPPED” has over one hundred reviews from college students and alumni across the country. Students both affiliated and unaffiliated with Greek life have left mostly positive comments about Taylor’s efforts to spread the word about the possible dangers college women may face in College Park, and on other college campuses.

“Lucy’s podcast touched on many problems that I did not know about sororities in general, and especially problems here. There are so many small instances of sexism she mentions that aren’t spoken about enough,” said sophomore Abby Miller.

Taylor does not wish to ostracize students in the Greek life community, but hopes students will encourage each other to make informed decisions when considering Greek life. While students can disaffiliate, she recognizes the school is the only entity that can ultimately decide to abolish the Greek life system. Students do not have the power to fix the power dynamic issues that exist within Greek life, where leadership often falls in the hands of members who are barely adults.

“I’m personally attacking a system. I respect the people putting effort into trying to fix it from the inside. Group think mentality is so strong, it’s really up to the people that can take control of the situation. Like I said earlier, I know they hear me,” Taylor said.

Listen to and follow “SNAPPED”  

Find UMD resources for sexual assault survivors here

Caroline Klecka is a junior multiplatform journalism major and sociology minor at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism (University of Maryland, College Park). She enjoys writing for Her Campus and UMD Writer's Bloc. Besides writing, Caroline loves music, making art, and reading of course!
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