Is your future employment in jeopardy due to actions of others?

Imagine going into a job interview after listing your involvement in a greek organization at The University of Alabama on your resume. You’re confident, well-prepared and enthusiastic about how the interview is going when suddenly the interviewer mentions that he or she did some research and found that an organization you were involved with in college was tangled up in a voter fraud scandal that received nationwide attention. How would you recover from that in your potential employer’s eyes?

What I should be asking is how you intend to justify the increasingly unethical actions of your greek organization. It seems as while the reputation of the UA greek system is falling farther down the rabbit hole, more people are gathering at the mouth of the hole to watch. Both Fox News and the Huffington Post covered the voter fraud scandal, which, if people make the connection to other news stories about racial segregation and rigging First Year Council selections in the SGA, only piles more questionable behavior onto an already shady-looking system. If the direction doesn’t change, it’s reasonable to assume that you might find yourself being held accountable by any number of people in your future, be it an employer, a friend or a love interest.

I’m beginning to wonder what impact your organization’s behavior will have on my own resume. When I tell people that the University is my alma mater, will they raise an eyebrow at my ethics as well? Is the value of my degree being mitigated by the sour reputation of an organization I couldn’t have afforded to join if I wanted to?

To be frank, I have very little evidence that tells me you, an old row greek student, care. You’ve insulated yourself in a social circle full of people not different enough to challenge you or make you uncomfortable, and you’ve paid handsomely for that privilege. And now that you’ve got your safe space, you seem to venture into “enemy territory” so infrequently that many of you could count the number of close GDI friends you have on one hand.

When you came to the University as a freshman and decided to go greek, when the allure of a group of friends, a gorgeous house and a full schedule of social events beguiled you into joining one of these organizations, did you think you would be thoughtlessly undermining the educational opportunities of children? Did you think you would be uncomfortably fielding questions from people of color who didn’t realize they couldn’t join your club before they rushed? Is this what you signed up for?

Whatever your answer to these questions, no one on this campus is in a better position than you to determine what the greek system’s future looks like. I do not buy into the popular belief that you are dastardly and unethical, but I do believe that you could use your vantage point to create change in a meaningful, tangible way. If you are not comfortable with the direction the greek system is taking, then use your power, which I can tell you as a matter of fact is much greater than my own in this situation, to change the course.

Marina Roberts is a senior majoring in accounting. Her column runs biweekly on Mondays.

  • Brad Erthal

    Cue the outraged rebuttals. I could probably write them at this point.

  • L.C.15

    “did you think you would be thoughtlessly undermining the educational opportunities of children?”

    Wait, I’m confused, are they undermining the educational opportunities of children because they didn’t vote for the candidate you liked or simply because they’re pure evil? Your article is unclear.

    • Devin Radloff

      It’s because they voted to either further the career of one of their own, or to receive incentives. The majority made no research into the qualifications, stances, or plans of either candidate.

      • L.C.15

        The presumption that these students’ motives in voting for “one of their own” or to further his career are somehow more nefarious than other people’s motives in supporting another candidate and hoping to further his/her career just doesn’t make sense to me. As far as incentives, everyone seems to be screaming “they voted for booze” with little to no proof that anything was offered for a vote for a SPECIFIC candidate….but it sounds nice to people who have a certain impression of the greek community.

        In addition, saying that they as voters are somehow less-than (or worse, fraudulent and criminal) because they didn’t do an adequate amount of research is completely contrary to this country’s attitude towards the right to vote. While in a perfect world everyone would go to the polls thoroughly versed on the platform of each candidate, that is just not reality. That’s the beauty of the system though…no one at the polls is going to turn me away because I failed to do what they feel is “enough” research into the background of each candidate. The amount of research someone should do is a completely subjective matter, which is why it is not a qualification to vote. Furthermore, to make the statement that the ENTIRE majority that voted made NO research into any qualifications, stances, etc. is just a generalization. I mean, forget about the fact that who you vote for is YOUR choice that you don’t really need to justify to anyone.

        • Devin Radloff

          Regardless it is the law of the land that NO incentive may be given to vote, therefore those who allegedly offered such incentives cannot in good moral conscious JUSTIFY their actions. Further I would wager a fair penny that many pledges who voted were not residents of the City for >= 30 days and i would similarly allege that it is highly unlikely that >10 pledges live in a single-single-family-sized home.

          • L.C.15

            The bottom line still is that there is no concrete proof that “incentives” were given to vote (not to mention the fact that “law of the land” and “incentive” are extremely vague terms). I wonder if, during a national election year in an effort to encourage young college students to vote, a local bar allowed free cover with an “I voted” sticker if anyone would even say anything. My guess is no and the only reason this even has gained any notoriety is because it allegedly involves greeks. If INDIVIDUALS violated state voting laws by registering incorrectly (and that’s a strong if) then that is on them and not on their greek organization. This whole thing is really more about this town’s desire to attach any negative thing that happens on the greek community as a whole. Greeks here are the ultimate scapegoat. Young people voting is good but not if they’re voting for someone they knew of in school who they believe would be a good community leader. Freedom to assemble is good…unless you’re greek and good at it, them you’re bad.
            As far as this article goes, on the off-chance that an employer cares enough about your greek organization/large university to google it and believes everything gawker tells them, that is when you have a chance to act like an adult and explain that you didn’t participate in or condone these alleged activities. If you aren’t mature enough to do that then I’m guessing you likely wouldn’t be hired anyways…and it’s not because you went to a university that had an active greek system.

  • Matt Simcox

    Seriously, this seems like a diatribe best suited for some angry indie chick forum board not the university student newspaper. First the ridiculous editorial about gay marriage a week ago and now this. Maybe some adult guidance is needed at the Crimson White.