LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Coverage of Greek life needs improvement

The USC Interfraternity Council writes to address the March 26 Daily Trojan article titled “As USC works to raise its national profile, fraternities are on the chopping block.” IFC commends the Daily Trojan for raising awareness of the issue of hazing on college campuses. Furthermore, we reaffirm investigative action related to hazing as we work  with the University on hazing prevention initiatives.

IFC collaborates with the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Development as well as the Office of Student Affairs on this issue. We encourage editorial staff and readers to refer to a Student Affairs memorandum published in the March 20 issue of the Daily Trojan. This memorandum, entitled “USC Fraternity & Sorority Safety Priorities 2019 – 2020,” outlines action items with these offices on topics such as hazing prevention and new member education.

Journalists are responsible for delivering the verifiable truth to the public. The Daily Trojan article, however, contains bias and reporting inaccuracies. The article’s opening paragraph describes a narrative rather than a reported scene of events. This paragraph begins a trend of unsubstantiated blanket statements throughout the article, such as broad descriptions of alleged hazing acts from all IFC chapters.

Misleading language can cause confusion. The article section titled “Current allegations” does not outline any current allegations. No IFC chapter is currently placed on interim suspension, with all previous cases described in the article now closed. Hazing practices do not align with the vision for fraternities at USC, and the current IFC judicial status reflects this culture.

Incendiary, emotionally charged words further cloud the truth. IFC meets regularly with Student Affairs to discuss actionable goals for our improvement. The Daily Trojan article quotes heavily from Dr. Ainsley Carry, the University’s outgoing vice president for student affairs. Per the March 20 Safety Priorities memorandum, Carry writes that “USC values the fraternity and sorority community and is committed to its future.” The relationship between IFC and the University is one of mutual respect — not a “chopping block.”

Thorough, unbiased journalism both educates the public at large and holds various communities accountable. We support these practices and encourage the Daily Trojan to uphold them.

Matteo Mendoza

Interfraternity Council President