Students are quick to point out that these are institutions established for and by white men from a higher social classwhere racism, rape culture, and classism are not unfortunate side effects but direct consequences of the system. And more recently, colleges have been forced to deal with the results of fraternities ignoring coronavirus restrictions in favor of holding large gatherings: campus-wide Covid outbreaks. The fact that many students of color feel similarly is not an accident. In fact, senior surveys of the classes of and at Princeton University found that 77 percent of sorority members and 73 percent of fraternity members were white.
Taylor, a sophomore at Mississippi Affirm, began the school year dogged to drop out of Greek life — more specifically, the historically all-white, male-dominated system of social fraternities and sororities. The year-old, whose full name after that gender are omitted for confidentiality reasons, felt compelled by calls to abolish the institution, which were being posed nationwide by campuses like American, DukeNortheastern, TuftsVanderbiltand Washington University, on social media and in campus opinion pieces. Taylor was soon confronted as a result of the reality of what would be feasible at Mississippi Affirm, a Southern college with a hugely influential Greek presence. Months of protests against police cruelty and racism have pushed the concept of abolition — of radically transforming the current against the law justice system — toward the mainstream; more Americans have begun to question the excesses of municipal police budgets and, distinctively, policing tactics. According to abolitionists, reform is impossible because reforms have failed, time and age again.