It feels disrespectful and pretentious to make this story about anything other than the heartache that the family and friends of Charlie Terreni Jr. are feeling right now. But before every major news outlet hops on the “Fraternities Are Evil” bandwagon and calls for the letters to be stripped from every Greek house in the nation (Buzzfeed had a knee-shaking mediagasm that could be heard all the way in Bangkok when they got ahold of this one) let’s clear the air on something: Terreni’s death is a tragedy that has in no way been proven to be a consequence of his association with the Pi Kappa Alpha chapter at the University of South Carolina.
First off, I ask that the coroner who revealed Terreni’s death kindly fucks off. Coroner Gary Watts said that the death was “suspicious, but that there are no signs of foul play or trauma.” Gary. Dude. If there was no foul play or trauma, then what exactly is suspicious? It’s because he was in a fraternity, isn’t it, Gary? And there’s absolutely no way that the death of a fraternity man could be the result of anything other than ruthless, drinking-based hazing. “Suspicious.” It was one small word, but it tore down the floodgates that were protecting Greeks everywhere from drowning in a media shitstorm of hatred and finger-pointing.
I could sit here and rehash the tired defense that Greek life does all kinds of good stuff for the community in the form of service hours, but that’s an irrelevant fact that we Greeks hide behind far too often. Instead, I’m going to lay some real statistical shit on you motherfuckers in regards to drinking amongst Greeks and non-Greeks.
It’s no surprise that Greeks drink more frequently and heavily than non-Greeks. According to this study from the US National Library of Medicine, 70 percent of fraternity men and 50 percent of sorority women have engaged in binge-drinking while in college, a “significantly” higher percentage than non-Greeks.
But that same study has some surprising facts that shine a more positive light on your campus village.
Ladies first. The study says that if a woman likes to drink, she’s less likely to experience the adverse consequences of drinking (including blacking out and being taken advantage of sexually) if she’s in a sorority.
“… the total number of such consequences was lower for the sorority women than for high-frequency female drinkers who lived in the residence halls, which suggests that being a sorority member may provide some protection against negative consequences for high-frequency drinkers.”
For guys and gals, there are other campus organizations — organizations that aren’t universally shat on for their mere existence — that are more likely to trigger heavy drinking and alcohol abuse than accepting a bid.
According to this study conducted by The Journal of Adolescent Health, students who joined intercollegiate sports teams (19 percent) were more likely to experience an increase in binge-drinking than students who joined Greek life (15 percent).
That’s right, parents. You’ll do a better job of protecting your child by allowing them to go Greek than by allowing them to join any of the fine athletic establishments that his or her university has to offer.
These are facts that the majority of media outlets are going to ignore entirely. Why? Because hating on fraternities and sororities is the popular thing to do right now. Everyone just wants to fit in — pretty ironic considering the oldest jab in the book against Greeks is that we have to buy our friends.
But the biggest disappointment surrounding any tragedy that takes place within a Greek organization is that the victim’s life is pushed to the wayside to make room for a collective castration of Greek life and our supposedly antiquated values.
Let’s not let that happen this time.
According to The State, Charlie Terreni Jr. was a freshman at USC who graduated from Cardinal Newman School last year, where he was captain of the soccer team. For the sport he loved, Terreni was selected to be a part of the top-tier 2010-11 South Carolina Olympic Development Players state team. Most importantly, Terreni was a beloved role model to his younger brother.
God bless Charlie Terreni Jr. God bless Pi Kappa Alpha. And God bless all you frocket-wearing sons of bitches across the nation.
Chin up, boys, and stay safe out there..
Image via YouTube