A junior at the University of Nebraska, Omaha says she was forced out of her sorority because of a photo she posted on Tinder, a social media app commonly used to meet people &/or "hook up". The photo she posted on the site eight months ago (in August) was of her and two sorority sisters wearing their sorority's letters. She got called into a meeting last week to discuss the photo which was referred to in the meeting as provocative and risque and was told that it violated the sorority's "Policy on Human Dignity" .
A lifetime ago at a different university, I was a member of the sorority in question and I have a daughter who is a member now (again, at a different university). After hearing about this incident, I tried to recall ever learning about the policy. Since my memory isn't what it used to be, I decided to dig up my old pledge manual (yes, I still have it filled with typed dittos - really showing my age here). While I found all the rules and regulations of the sorority in there, I couldn't find anything about the Policy on Human Dignity, so I Googled it and had no trouble finding a copy online.
Maybe I'm not reading between the lines enough but I can't see how this photo violated that policy. Nowhere in the policy do I see anything about social media and even if there was a line about it, I certainly don't think the photo in question is at all provocative or risque and doesn't appear to me (an alum) to "disrespect the chapter".
I do think that in light of a seemingly never-ending list of fraternity and sorority missteps with social media that have made the national news, all Greek organizations need to have a clear policy on social media. The Greek system needs to catch up with the times and should be actively and continually educating it's members about appropriate technology use. While I can see how a sorority might object to a member posting a photo of herself wearing her sorority letters on an app known for hook-ups, without expressly educating members about real-life social media dos and don'ts, it's hard to hold members accountable for bad judgment when the standard you're going by is purposely vague - what does "disrespect the chapter" really mean?).
Social media and smartphones aren't going away. The fact that our kids have nearly no or very little education on appropriate and responsible use of the technology they all carry in their hands 24/7 is a problem. When you combine this fact with the typical college social environment (no parents or adults to report to, the current casual hook-up culture that exists on many campuses, and readily available alcohol and drugs) it's like being in the middle of a perfect storm where you can hear the warning sirens but you can't stop the tsunami from crashing ashore and doing devastating damage.
I disagree with how my sorority handled the situation with this particular girl and I truly feel sorry for this generation of kids who are the pioneering generation of social media users - it's like they've been handed keys to a car and have never taken driver's ed. I don't know if the Greek system can survive camera phones and the social media age and given all the press about poor behavior by fraternity and sorority members lately across the country, sadly, I'm not sure it should.