Let me be clear: Abolition is the only answer. All social fraternities — alongside the sycophantic sorority life that they exploit — must go. They must go permanently and forever, at Penn and everywhere else. Reform is simply not possible.
In fact, Beta Theta Pi was a reformed fraternity. It was considered, in fact, a “model” fraternity, one that “reflected a national perspective on best practices.” It had strict behavioral guidelines, a no-alcohol policy, live-in adult supervision and video surveillance. But the investigation discovered that the fraternity engaged in sexually humiliating hazing and regularly threw parties where alcohol was served, spending $1,200 on booze in the days before the fateful party. Beta Theta Pi defied Penn’s efforts at reform — revolted, even — and it cost Piazza his life.
Reform is not possible because the old-line, historically white social fraternities have been synonymous with risk-taking and defiance from their very inception. They are a brotherhood born in mutiny and forged in the fire of rebellion. These fraternities have drink, danger and debauchery in their blood — right alongside secrecy and self-protection.
They cannot reform.