Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fraternity Used to Mean Brotherhood

So far, I've avoided reading the Atlantic story about fraternities. Maybe it's because I first heard about it on Twitter as the best lede of the year, and then found out it had something to do with a guy shooting a rocket out of his butt. No thanks.

The author was on NPR this morning, though, and what she had to say about the business side of it made me think there's more to it than I thought. Fraternities collectively self insure because otherwise they couldn't afford it. They're one of the worst risks out there, right behind toxic waste cleanup companies, she said.

The number-one cause of an insurance claim against a frat house is assault and battery, followed by sexual assault.

And get this -- if you're a 19-year-old frat brother drinking beer on the first floor when a sexual assault takes place upstairs, you'll not only be hauled down to the police station, your parents' homeowners insurance will have cover any liability. I wonder if the parents know that?

The most expensive part of joining a fraternity is the portion of your dues that go to fraternity insurance. And I think a lot of parents feel calmed by that. What will happen is, if Johnny has made any mistake the night that there's a big incident, if he was downstairs at the fraternity having beers and upstairs someone is getting sexually assaulted, and he's under 21, he's going to be a named defendant. He'll get dropped from his fraternity insurance in a second. The fraternity will probably drop him from the fraternity. ...

It would come from your parents' homeowner policy. College kids' legal address is their parents' home address. Their liability is covered under the umbrella policy of their parents' homeowners insurance. And the fraternity is going to drop them in a second if it possibly can because they don't want to pay their liability once there's been an incident. And if the kid needs a legal defense, his parents are going to have to find the money for that too.
The so-called Greeks (including sororities) house one-eighth of all college students.

What a system. What a bunch of suckers.

1 comment:

peppery said...

Blech. My husband gets the print ed of the Atlantic, and I've side-eying that doofy frat-boy cover all week.