Reporter Caitlin Flanagan spent a year diving into the sometimes dark and troublesome world of America's fraternity system. As fraternities grapple with increasing attention from lawsuits against them, Flanagan argues the organizations have "only grown in power and influence" and "are now mightier than the colleges and universities that host them."
More from Flanagan's piece in The Atlantic:
Lawsuits against fraternities are becoming a growing matter of public interest, in part because they record such lurid events, some of them ludicrous, many more of them horrendous. For every butt bomb, there's a complaint of manslaughter, rape, sexual torture, psychological trauma. A recent series of articles on fraternities by Bloomberg News's David Glovin and John Hechinger notes that since 2005, more than 60 people — the majority of them students — have died in incidents linked to fraternities, a sobering number in itself, but one that is dwarfed by the numbers of serious injuries, assaults, and sexual crimes that regularly take place in these houses. Many people believe that violent hazing is the most dangerous event associated with fraternity life, but hazing causes a relatively small percentage of these injuries. Because of a variety of forces, all this harm — and the behaviors that lead to it — has lately been moving out of the shadows of private disciplinary hearings and silent suffering, and into the bright light of civil lawsuits, giving us a clear picture of some of the more forbidding truths about fraternity life.
Flanagan joins The Daily Circuit to discuss her research and the place for fraternities at American schools.