As a sophomore involved in Greek life, I knew that I was expected to be a sober shaker on Shake Day, thus I dutifully attended the sober shaker meeting the Tuesday of rush. Within minutes I noticed the attendees of the meeting were only women, and it was here that I began questioning the differences between sorority and fraternity policies for sober shaking. As the meeting continued, I learned of the responsibilities of sober shaking. I was to be sober for Shake Day, and if the girl I was shaking ended up needing medical intervention for alcohol related reasons, the punishment on my part would be suspension. This obviously tainted the joy the day was expected to carry, but what really bothered me was the impression that men had no expectations imposed upon them for sober shaking.
Once verbalizing my concern for this inequality, many fellow sober shakers shared my frustration. How could it be that only freshmen women needed monitors? It felt that the university was suggesting that women could not handle their alcohol as responsibly as men, and that sororities, but not fraternities, needed a meeting to discuss the importance of making new members feel welcomed. Was it truly the responsibility of sophomore women on Shake Day to maintain the order and supervise the freshmen while everyone else enjoyed their day?
This seemed preposterous, so I consulted the Dean of Greek Life, master and lord supreme of the social realm, Dean Hagi. He was quick to clarify that men did have standards for Shake Day, but with the majority of fraternities being national, their standards for event monitors came from each organization’s headquarters. “A huge number of policies come from their national organizations and they have a risk management officer responsible for ensuring these policies are being met. Comparing local versus national organizations is tough. There are policies that our national sorority has in place that our other groups don‘t in terms of Shake Day as well.”
For the local fraternities, there is a sober monitors meeting with Dean Hagi, taking place prior to the meeting for sorority sober shakers. “It‘s a different type of meeting that I‘ve always had with them. The meeting for the women was started in that manner by a young lady who forced a pledge to drink liquor and was suspended for a semester. When she came back, she wanted to have a meeting so that others wouldn‘t follow in her footsteps. Last year was the first year, and the positive feedback from the sophomores prompted us to do it again this year.”
“It’s not as cut and dry as people seem to think,” stated Hagi. After consulting him, I can say that this really is the case. Nonetheless, the university needs to explicitly share the shaking policy of all greek organizations, that way women don’t feel marginalized on what is meant to be one of the most inclusive days of the semester.
Photo courtesy of Morgan Carroll