That’s because fraternities, despite their long and sordid history of providing shelter for excessive and deadly drinking, dangerous and abusive hazing, and venomous misogyny that extends from demeaning language to rape, have long protected themselves, often with significant legal assistance. The impulse is to protect the institution, which is why frat boys themselves often get personally hung out to dry when something goes wrong, while the legal support comes in for the fraternity itself – the name, not the actual members.

This makes sense when you consider the real purpose of fraternities. For all the talk of brotherhood, bonding and mentorship into manhood, frats actually exist to replicate the privilege and connections of their members. They send covert messages about one’s race, class, and position on the social hierarchy – currency that is valuable both in college and long after. That’s a precious asset, and not one that most fraternities and their members are willing to give up.