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The Problem with the Tier System in Greek Life

Everyone on campus knows there is a tier system in Greek life. During recruitment, we’re told to avoid any and all questions about it because we’re supposed to emphasize that every individual participating in formal recruitment will find their home in one of the Greek organizations on campus.

I would by lying if I said this wasn’t mostly true. It would also be lying for me not to point out that some Greek organizations are perceived to be better partiers, more attractive, and is “top tier” just because of where they stand in the tier system.

The really crucial issue with the dynamic that arises because of the tier system is that it makes Greek life appear and feel like we are not cohesive, mature, nor welcoming. Greek organizations only interact with other organizations that are “equal” to them in the tier system. Therefore, Greek life becomes those high school cliques that we all thought we had left behind when we went off to college. People in these organizations in the top tier don’t ever really interact with people in the lower tiers. This is a generalization, but it does hold to be fairly accurate across most sororities and fraternities.

I am in Greek life, and I really haven’t thought much about the tier system much since I joined my freshman year. With Greek Week coming up, I’ve come to realize that the tier system does not foster an environment for Greek life to be a truly supportive community. We don’t stand together the way communities should because of it. The fact that we do not stand together as a community invites criticism from our University’s administration, and honestly, it makes us look like petty high schoolers to people who are not members of Greek life.

The tier system is not going to change over night obviously. It would be unrealistic to think that. All of this aside, there are important changes that members of Greek life can work towards to become a more cohesive, inviting, and supportive community. Greek life gets such a bad rep all over the country, and this for good reason in many instances. In the case of U of M, Greek life does a lot of good for the community at large that doesn’t get recognized because some organizations have certain reputations derived from the tier system.

We can start being a more cohesive community by mitigating the appearance of the tier system. We can interact with everyone in Greek life as we should as rational, intelligent students of this University.

Greek life is not about being the best. It’s not about what fraternities your sorority mixes with nor how attractive your last fraternity pledge class was. It’s about bettering our University and supporting each and every Greek organization in all of their endeavors.


Image courtesy of: University of Michigan Office of Greek Life. 

I'm from Atlanta, Georgia, but mind you I do not have a southern accent (even though I secretly want one). I'm currently pursuing a double major in History and Political Science (don't ask me if I'm going to Law School because I honestly don't even know what I'm eating for dinner). I love writing, reading, binge watching netflix, working out, eating, and most importantly I love hanging out with my friends. My life goal is to one day complete the Mount Nachissimo Nacho Eating challenge at Tio's. 
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