tv Inside Story Al Jazeera March 22, 2015 1:30am-2:01am EDT
would have had a little bit of energy about it. >> that wonderful victory you can find in the sports section of our website or other news you can find there as well. just go through the pages online online. the address www.aljazeera.com. news in a half hour's time. >> hello, i'm ray suarez because they are local stories the abusive or just plain risky behavior of fraternity men rarely break the national headlines. but there's no denying, it's not all fraternities and sororities, mind you but colleges and universities have found it hard to shut down even the worst chapters. kaitlin flannagan spent a year chronicling the outrageous behavior of a frat house near
you. she'll join us in a minute and then we'll talk to a sphra alternate leader who has some ideas on fixing excess of fraternities, and a consultant who advises colleges and universities and friends how to lower the risk associated with fraternity life. and later i'll do a keg stand. no i won't. it's "inside story" ." the ideal experience? you leave home for the first time, navigate your studies, get a taste of adult independence, and like minded guys you'll know for the rest of your life, you'll share formative experience, do public service and after you graduate, the real
experience, for many young men the house becomes your home away from home sure. but ends up having little to do with the education that's supposedly the whole reason you're on campus. instead providing cover social sanction for behavior you may never try on your own. bing e drinking, eep even casual exposure to the headlines, might have you shaking your head wondering, how does this go on? kaitlin franklin presented a frankly shocking catalog of what's going on, in her story, "the fraternity problem." she joins us now. kaitlin, a lot of defenders of greek life say these stories are the noted exception, isolated
cases, that really, it negates the good. >> the term bat apple kind of comes out of the fraternity industry a lot of times. i think that's a really interesting euphemism. when i think of someone who is a bad apple sometimes, someone pulling a prank, is sirted, but doesn't engender any bad activity. but we are talking about deeply criminal acts including sexual assault including the inflicted trauma of hazing and race ition incidents that go far beyond freedom of speech. you can certainly resistant a private bus and say horrible words in it, that's your right to do but do you have rights to belong to a club that accepts federal tax breaks and doesn't
let many if any african americans into it? i don't think you don't. i don't think we're talking about bat apples at all but a small group of men who are committing grave criminal acts on college campuses. i think it deserves our attention. >> you take reader along on a journey, where you seem surprised to find out gradually the sheer shocking number of incidents just like falls from fraternity buildings. >> right. >> tell us more about people falling out of frat houses all over the country? >> well, there are a lot of serious falls from fraternity houses. the reason i studied that kind of bizarre accident is the fraternities will always tell you yes bad things go on in our fraternity houses we admit it but no more so than anywhere else in the campus, in the dorms et cetera.
well let me take one strange event falling off the roof of a building and let me compare it nationally over a 12 month period between fraternity houses dorms and private reply rented residences. there was no comparison. when you are talking about a fraternity house you have kids who are on the weekends drinking titanic amounts of alcohol housing codes that don't fall into the same codes dorms do and very dilapidated structures, every single year, pretty recently one just happened, kids get drunk, they open a window to urinate or vomit and they pitch straightforward and some of those injuries are devastating and include death. i use this as a metric, are fraternity houses any more dangerous than any other college residences? i found nothing to substantiate that. >> earlier this month a video
surfaced of a couple of young white men from the sigma alpha epsilon chapter of oklahoma stat university leading a racist chant, including the use of the n word and declared that african americans would never be brothers in that fraternity. the national sae organization quickly closed the campus chapter and the president david boren expelled those students. >> i think it's time to show zero tolerance on these students. >> support for the disciplinary action ton penn state campus this month. it was revealed members of the kappa delta roe fraternity shared pictures of unconscious naked women. the fraternity chapter has been expelled, in a message to the
penn state community, president eric baron wrote, moss we ask for a reevaluation of the fraternity system be reevaluated? some members of the university system feel it is and we are considering our option he. kaitlin, what, can a school suddenly just decide no more frats? >> you know, that's always people's immediate response, well the school should get rid of these fraternities if they're such bad operators. in fact the famous legal saying is, the constitution does not end at the campus gates particularly at a public university such as penn state or the university of oklahoma. just because a young plan has enrolled in an institution of higher ed does not mean that he has given up his freedom of free association. he can join whatever club he wants, can he join the sierra club, he can shop at 7-eleven,
or get a library club. what is a fraternity, it is a private club, he has a right to join it. certainly in my opinion colleges should end their formal relationships with any chapters that have proven themselves to be bad operators on the college campus and i further think that the national interfraternity council should make it a policy that every time a university closes down a chapter that the individual fraternity itself should shut down the chapter. there are campuses all across america where the college president has shut down an individual chapter, the national fraternity didn't shut it down and kids are living and partying and the pad bad acts continue. >> this is being fueled by families that are paying 20, 40, even north of $60,000 a year to keep their students on campus, don't parents get a vote in this? are they aware of what's going on? and how little oversight there
is upon the part of the university itself? >> you know when parents figure that out it's when something terrible happens to their child. it's when a daughter is sexually assaulted in a fraternity house and suddenly they look into the deeper history that fraternity house in the news and they found there's been a lot of criminal allegations or maybe a death in that fraternity house or when someone was hazed and they try start a lawsuit against the fraternity and they find out how close the fraternity has indemnified itself. whether the it comes to the fraternity system the college doesn't look at that very carefully and the national fraternity house in the fraternity itself has in many ways distanced i itself from that bad behavior. unfortunately when parents find this out it is only when something really bad has happened. that's when i'm trying to talk
to parents of college bound student saying, before your child pledges a fraternity learn about its history on that campus. some are better than others. what risk you are willing to take tell your son i'll only pay for those ones. if you can get into that otherwise i'm not paying. >> kaitlin flannagan, the fraternity problem it's worse than you think. it's a great read and still posted at the atlantic website. thanks for being with us. >> thanks for having us. >> the fraternity rides are worth preserving and a fraternity member who's found a way. we'll take it inside his plan, it's "inside story." >> tomorrow. >> you're taking "if" i have kids and you're changing it to "when" i have kids. >> a life-changing choice. >> it is wonderful to have children, but i think you can have a happy life without children.
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>> sunday night. >> 140 world leaders will take the podium. >> get the full story. >> there is real disunity in the security council. >> about issues that impact your world. >> infectious diseases are a major threat to health. >> "the week ahead". sunday 8:30 eastern. only on al jazeera america. judge welcome back to "inside story" on al jazeera america. i'm ray suarez. i have to admit, a lot of this is foreign to my own college experience a long long time ago. on my big city campus in the 1970s greek letter societies had been chased out in the tumult of the '60s.
one fraternity was allowed back my senior year and didn't make much of a splash. fast-forward 35 years and i'm walking by frat row with my undergraduate daughter on a different urban campus and all the bros were out, giants facing outside, sitting outside, drinking, cat-calling women, some interested in the attention. i asked my daughter how is this allowed, she said nobody had any control over what went open. if anybody wanted to make it stop it wasn't clear anybody could. administrations on several big campuses are now breathing down their necks. can the young men themselves take back some of the initiative, change the flair tiff. bob bigs is the executive vice president of phi delta university and jenson mccreery, he consults on best practices for greek life on campus and was formerly director
of greek life at the university of alabama. he joins us from pensacola florida. gentry mccreery, you heard kaitlin flannagan talking about the lawsuits in the first part of the program. who's being sued is it for a lot payouts? >> there are a lot of big payouts and a lot of people are being sued. deep pockets individual university leaders, the first i ask them is whether or not they have an umbrella liable policy with their parents homeowners policy they may need it. universities have been fairly lucky getting them recused from a majorities of lawsuits but i think it's only amatter of time before that luck runs out. >> sometimes with a lot of reforms in society it is pain in the wallet that helps things move along. how come that hasn't worked in this case?
>> i think there are a number of reasons and part of that speaks to money and the influence of money and fraternity and sorority alumni are the biggest contributors to universities. universities officials are hard to crack down on some of the high jinks you see. those bad amazon that apples that kaitlin talked about. that's what we've seen in the news a few weeks. >> bog bigs what are you trying? >> -- bob bigs what are you trying? >> it's good to be with you. we recognized some of the situations kaitlin articulated with regard to hazing and sexual misconduct but the poor academic conduct of students, alumni drifting away from being alumni
advisors, the poor conditions of the house, the 1990s, in 1997 we articulated a decision inify delta theta, that in all of our chapters would be alcohol free 24-7, 365, whether you're 18 or 80 years old it is a bright line test no alcohol on the chapter property. because we believe that the misuse and abuse of alcohol was the common denominator in all of these challenging issues. >> well, it sounds like a big part of the answer because i think you're right a lot of this starts with the lowered inbusiness of excessive use of alcohol but that would seem to be a nonstarter for a lot of the young men on campus who seek fraternity membership. how does this work now that it's been in place for 15 years? >> ray let me say this. there are a lot of men on
college campuses that are frankly turned off from the misuse of alcohol. we callify call phi delta theta a place where you can use academically growth opportunities. there are men on college campuses that are looking for that kind of positive fra alternative experiences and they are finding it in phi delta that that the theta. >> very little alcohol is allowed yet it goes on unabated. >> that's right. no alcohol, less than 25 to 30%
of the undergraduate membership can illegally school alcohol. it doesn't seem logical to school alcohol. >> gentry, you have been on every point in the spectrum here from being a fraternity member yourself to being in some of the largest national organizations having to do with greek life in america. who enforces social norms in the house, if i'm a 19-year-old, am i gs going to listen to my brothers or some old fud university member when it comes to laying down the law? >> absolutely. the social norms are incredibly powerful and i think thing that makes the fraternity so unique and i ask this question to national fraternity executives like bob and to campus administrators, name knee one other social institution in the world where 19, 20, 21-year-old
young men have absolute power of their 18-year-old new members, their pledges? the only other institution i've come up with is the american fraternity. the members doing hazing, the active members the juniors and seniors in the house have absolute authority over those freshmen members, who gets to bid, who gets accepted. the band droark is in director -- director is in charge. teempg 18-year-oldsteaching 18-year-olds what it means to be a man. >> how do you set in place a virtuous cycle, installing positive behavior instead of negative behavior? >> absolutely. and i think phi delta theta has been a leader, we have more national fraternities willing to
make bold moves, sigma phi epsilon, getting rid of traditional ledging way back in the '80s. i think we need systems of shared governance where we have more alumni involved in meaningful relations with the chapters, it serves no purpose anymore and opens the door for hazing. we have more fraternities that should be willing to go through alcohol-free housing. high standards, willing to do things differently. but so far a lot of national fraternity leaders are willing to maintain the status quo. >> i've been watching social media very closely before this program and one thing the members seem to hate is all the attention. now, are we at a point with some of these really outrageous stories where we're at a risk of losing the whole game, where some of these young men may not
even realize how close they are to using up whatever patience the university has on this issue? >> that's absolutely correct. in our fraternity, phi delta theta as well we hold our students and chapters accountable. if there is a misstep by officers they could be removed removed from membership or eventually depending on the severity of the situation the chapter shut down as well. there is accountability in phi delta theta, that's what students need to be doing holding their students and chapters accountable. >> gentry is the authority of down? >> it is, when fraternity life is done right it is a tremendous life changing experience. i'm a product of that, i had a positive and meaningful fraternity experience and it
made me a better person. i often wonder what percentage is doing it right, if i had to guess, 10 to 20%. and 80 to 90% are getting it incredibly wrong. we need to thank you on its head, they are willing to accept mediocrity, and we need to change that, i can assure you all these fraternities were not the priet spots in their organization, they were probably struggling mediocre chapters this had issues before and probably should have been closed a long time ago but they were allowed to continue to operate because no one had the where wherewithal of shutting it down. >> thanks for joining us gentlemen. >> senate majority leader mitch mcconnell is going beyond the
beltway to derail president obama's plans to reduce the amount of stuff put into the air by burning fossil fuels. al jazeera america national correspond libby casey has the story, behind the story, that's still ahead on "inside story." >> tomorrow. >> you have to look at the suffering of these children. >> director of unicef, anthony lake. >> every one of those numbers is an individual child. >> helping the innocent victims of war. >> what can unicef do? >> there's a very short answer... our best. >> every tomorrow night. >> i lived that character. >> go one on one with america's movers and shakers. >> we will be able to see change. >> gripping. inspiring. entertaining. talk to al jazeera. tomorrow, 6:30 eastern. only on al jazeera america.
from epa the states are now required to reduce the amount of pollution from coal-fired power plants. from his influential seat in washington, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell of kentucky is lobbying state governments telling them they shouldn't comply. why would a member of the united states senate give detailed advice to governors on how not to follow the law? that's a tail for al jazeera's national correspondent libby casey and she joins us now and libby how did we get to this point? >> ray, mitch mcconnell promised both voters in his home state of kentucky as well as republicans across the country that if republicans took the senate if he became majority leader he would do everything he could to stop what he calls the war on coal. and this is just part of it. it is a very unusual move. republicans are saying it is a maverick move. i think democrats are rolling their eyes in frustration. but senator mcconnell sent a
letter to the governors of all 50 states saying it's not you that will be out of compliance with epa regulations, it's the epa that is out of line over what they'll ask you to do over the coming months. he's pushing states to buck rules coming down the pike and he says they will be the ones with the legal standing not the obama administration. >> the way you understand this states are given freedom to figure out for themselves how to reduce emissions to the level dictated by the epa. but if they don't do it, don't they get fined? >> well, that's right. the obama administration says the states will have a lot of leeway in crafting a plan to show how they can get within the acceptable limits. so they say it is in the state's best interests to come up with their own proposals but there will will be repercussions according to the obama administration and the federal rules. the question will be court challenges and mitch mcconnell
says the law is on his side. now he's not the one in the governor's seat that will have to actually make that call and be the one to push the limbs and potentially ding the state in terms of breaching what is a rule. and so he is putting himself in an unusual position of prodding the governors to go forth and basically not obey the obama administration but -- >> are they looking for a fight with the president is that part of it? >> absolutely, absolutely ray. legislation on capitol is fairly ham -- hill is fairly hamstrung. they can push back against obama administration environmental regulation but the white house is pretty much going around the legislative process because they're not seeing any victories on comowl capitol hill these days and they're going through the epa the interior department rarg regarding other regulations like fracking. mitch mcconnell won't get many legislative victories that will
get the president's signature so he's going his own way. >> what legislate are republicans getting? >> some are crafting legislation that will fight it but the sally jewel the interior secretary said today she didn't expect that to be able to get very far she says in part americans want some kinds of regulations. there haven't been any really to speak of on the books. the ones that came out have been in process for three years and they garnered 1.5 million public comments, environmental rules, they say these don't go far enough. the interior department hopes it's walking the line down the middle. >> libby casey joining us from capitol hill, great to talk to you libby. >> that's all for had edition. give us feedback law hear on the program. we invite you to follow us on
twitter. the handle ajinsidestory. and sunshiny new stadiums ch the nfl foot the bill? join us for that one, i'm ray > across america, there's a booming industry worth over $2 billion. >> every year, thousands of children, some as young as 5 are sent away to camps and programs. >> you feel that pain? >> [crying] oh! >> that's the pain your mother feels when you disrespect her son. >> children are taken to these programs for weeks months or even years.