We would like to begin this letter by introducing ourselves. We are graduate students and the board of Hellenic Student Association (HSA), a Purdue University-affiliated student organization. The main goal of our organization is to unite Greek and Cypriot students and faculty members at Purdue, assist new incoming students, and promote, inform and provide assistance regarding ethnic or cultural issues. The majority of our members consist of Greek and Cypriot graduate students who come from various educational backgrounds.
Recently, an article by the Purdue Exponent newspaper caught our attention. This article is titled “Greek organizations, students respond to rape allegations” and was published on Sept. 30, 2021. While we understand that terms such as “Greek” or “Greek life” have become overly connected to fraternities and sororities (because historically, they use Greek alphabet letters for their names), if someone quickly reads the title and/or the first few sentences, phrases such as “Greek organizations” may lead to a severe misunderstanding. In other words, the reader may intuitively associate the statements given in the article to the actual culture/conventions of Greece, which blatantly does not correspond to the truth. This is primarily true for non-American students, for which these terms might be unknown.
As a Purdue student organization, we want to make clear that our culture and the values we want to promote among our members have nothing to do with whatever incidents may happen in fraternities and sororities of the university.
To conclude, what we worry about is the reputation of our organization (and of Greek people) among students from other countries, who might be confused from the use of words such as those in the article mentioned above. We hope you consider our worries and try to spread the word to refrain from using the term “Greek organizations” to describe other matters. We want to thank you for your time.
- The HSA board