Social leniency deserved

Last semester several notable events put in motion a series of disciplinary actions taken against the USC social scene, ultimately culminating in The Row being placed on social probation.

Shari Hawker | Daily Trojan

In addition to this official sentence, the university continues to enforce significantly stricter policies than in years’ past regarding partying and drinking. The Dept. of Public Safety shuts down anything reminiscent of a party and the university recently reminded Greeks that parties are allowed only from Friday at 3 p.m. to Sunday at 5 p.m. even if the probation that was enacted last semester is lifted.

Last year’s events, and the subsequent disciplinary action taken by the university, received a lot of media attention, ranging from, a site in the Gawker media network, to the Huffington Post. Though the policies handed down by the university might minimize the risk of drinking-related hazards, putting the spotlight on this aspect of USC only generates unnecessary negative attention toward the university, which, in turn, detracts from USC’s appeal as a respected university.

With an incredibly diverse student body, expansive array of courses of study, hundreds of organizations and clubs, prominent alumni network and highly ranked academics, it is not hard to see why USC is one of the most sought-after colleges in the nation.

But what really sets USC apart from the crowd is its students’ ability to balance thriving academic careers with equally thriving social lives. Essentially, USC is known as a place to learn and be challenged academically while also having a “typical” college experience. In return, USC students achieve success and form an accomplished, involved and illustrious alumni network because of this well-rounded education, which includes social and life skills in addition to a premier academic experience.

USC alumni do not achieve success simply because they are smart; rather, they achieve success because they are intelligent, outgoing, confident and socially adept.

With the recent social sanctions, however,  many members of the Greek community are feeling increasingly resentful toward the administration — a sentiment that would inevitably be felt by any prospective students visiting or inquiring about the university.

Furthermore, not only do the strict policies foster skepticism among prospective students, but they also promote pent-up resentment among current students that ultimately could backfire, resulting in irresponsible behavior once students are allowed to go to The Row.

Is the university attempting to erase any party culture from future generations of USC students? If so, these efforts are, for the most part, in vain. If or when the social moratorium is lifted all of these bottled up desires might come out in full force, leading to a scene perhaps even worse than last year’s “Black Monday.”

College students like to have fun, and for many this includes drinking. Regardless of how many parties DPS shuts down or how many sanctions are imposed on The Row, students who want to drink and party will find a way to do so — regardless of probations. And the vast majority of these students will do so safely and responsibly.

Admissions to the university are becoming more and more competitive, directly correlating to an increasingly intelligent student body. The academic achievements of the student body more than merit a little more social freedom.


Laura Burdine is a junior majoring in print and digital journalism. She is also a member of the Delta Gamma sorority. 

6 replies
  1. Parent, Alum, Greek, Donor
    Parent, Alum, Greek, Donor says:

    Drinking has been around for young adults.and college campus’ forever. This is nothing new. I’m a parent to a Greek, I’m an alum, from the ’80’s who was in a sorority and I’m a current supporter of USC. When I lived on the row, we drank mostly on Thursday nights and Saturday football days/nights….mostly beer and mixed drinks. Now (or before sanctions) it seems like every day is a party day, and it seems like everyone drinks shots or handles to get trashed. My personal opinion is this culture of drinking straight alcohol is stupid. I’ll do a shot from time to time. But there’s no good to me from doing more than one in a night. I don’t drink to puke or black out…I drink to loosen up. it’s much more fun! With that all said…no, I don’t think good will come from shutting down the fun on the row. But when 8 people in one night get taken to the hospital for alcohol poisoning, there’s a problem and unless the Greek community can take it down a notch, I can see why administration needs to take it up before someone dies.

  2. Mc
    Mc says:

    I think the ban has created a little more respect for USC rules and regulations and it appears The Row has become a much more pleasant place for everyone.

  3. Another concerned parent
    Another concerned parent says:

    Perhaps the University wouldn’t have felt compelled to act as it did had the students been able to demonstrate an understanding of the difference between social leniency and social responsibility.

  4. A less concerned alum
    A less concerned alum says:

    Row parties are not the only source of social interaction at USC. Find another outlet. If you are unable to become a well-rounded person without attending fraternity parties, you weren’t close to being well-rounded in the first place.

    In addition, your argument that current Greek sanctions are creating bad publicity for USC is erroneous. Aside from the Daily Trojan, no one else thinks the sanctions are newsworthy. It was the behavior that led to the sanctions that brought negative attention to USC.

    Your argument that the “pent-up resentment” and “bottled up desires” of resentful students could lead to a night of apocalyptic party behavior once the sanction is lifted is a great argument not to lift the sanction.

    If the Row ever stops hanging itself with whatever rope USC gives it, perhaps it can be given sufficient freedom to enjoy itself. Unfortunately, the Row’s behavior has resulted in tarnishing the name of the University and its students and alumni.

  5. ucla sorority girl (alum)
    ucla sorority girl (alum) says:

    Great perspective Laura. I agree that the current administration seem biased against the Row and in the long run, this will not prove to be a good decision – college kids drink and socialize and party and the more they are restricted, the more they will rebel. It is not USC’s job to teach our kids how to drink responsibly – that should have been handled by their families long ago. This is sounding a lot like “big brother” to me. Wondering how the alumni feel about these positions – especially those that were part of the Greek system and who realize the value of sister and brotherhood, both during the college years and beyond.

  6. A concerned parent
    A concerned parent says:

    Very well said. At orientation, our students were noted for being well balanced people, not just great academics. The vast majority of the students are responsible in their social activities. Shutting down the Row just forces the parties elsewhere, away from the protection of DPS. I agree that the subsequent classes and touring potential Trojans will see the difference.

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