At the University of Southern California, sex has a price. In economic terms, it is much too low. In consequential terms, it can be much too high.
Just north of campus is 28th Street, home to most of USC’s Greek System. It contains 4,611 individuals, organized into 21 fraternities and nine sororities. The Greek system offers many benefits: lifelong friendships, a vast network of future professionals and millions of dollars raised each year for charities like St. Jude and the Red Cross. But, like most organizations, it is not without problems. In recent years, the sororities and fraternities who call the Row home have attracted controversy for alarmingly high rates of alcohol poisoning and sexual assault. In just under three years, the university administration or national chapters have removed three fraternities from USC, and sanctioned many more for various infractions.
It is a serious mistake to think that a Greek system on any campus is the only place where students drink too much or are sexually assaulted, but three things make the Greek system, particularly at USC, a fitting case for examining problems and solutions to sexual assault. First, it is a well-defined and contained microcosm of broader social life (nearly one in four undergraduates at USC are Greek). Second, it organizes social events that are, at least partially, open to hundreds of non-Greek students to attend. Third, intoxication and sex are likely outcomes of those events.
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