My Night at EI
Let me take you back to my freshman year. I was a fresh-faced suburbanite who watched alot of TV and movies. I arrived at AU and began living my life in honor of the song, “I Love College.”
I can feel you rolling your eyes. And don’t worry, I’m judging my freshman self too.
AU does a terrific job of warning you about EI. You are told by Orientation Leaders to avoid it at all costs. There is even a rumor that they kill puppies as a part of hazing. However, another rumor was going around. The rumor was that “EI isn’t that bad anymore. Really! Their parties are super fun.”
My moldable freshman brain listened to the second rumor, despite my almost painful love of puppies. I decided to try out EI for myself. How bad could it be?
My friends and I got dressed to get “ride ready.” This means looking your hottest and most attractive so you get one of the first rides to frat house. As AU is a dry campus, fraternities have their debauchery elsewhere. Getting the first ride was a bit of a status symbol or at least it was in my brainbox. It meant you were the first person they saw and wanted at their party. It also meant you had first dibs of their alcohol, allowing me to uphold my motto, “Get in, get drunk, get out.”
I know guys. I already told you. I’m judging myself. I’m doing it for you.
EI, like every other frat, gave rides from the LA quad. Like with every other frat, I stood and made my best come hither eyes. Successfully procuring a ride, we drove to the house. I paid no attention to where we went, figuring I always manage to find my way home somehow.
We arrived. I made a beeline for the alcohol. It appeared the only drink available was jungle juice. I wasn’t a fan but if it got the job down, so be it. I filled three red solo cups (like the movies!) and began drinking.
Again, I’m judging myself. And also AU’s stupid policy of a “dry” campus allowing for a horrible, misogynist “ride” system to exist. But that’s for another time.
This jungle juice was different than the others. It was thicker and stronger. I felt like my body was moving 2-5 seconds slower than normal. We sat on a couch and I watched in slow motion as a my friend literally just let go of her cup in to my lap. Her eyes wide with horror, she apologized. She also appeared to feel the world moving like jello.
I felt like the world was fast forwarding and I was on pause. Some of my friends returned from a group bathroom trip and told me there were padlocks outside the bedroom doors. My mind, while seemingly pudding, turned back on for a second.
It was time to leave.
We could have been there for 4 hours or 20 minutes. I had no conception of time. We found a ride back home. I don’t know who drove us or if they were even sober. I knew I had to pee and I needed to get out of EI’s party.
We finally arrived back at AU on the “southside” of campus. I lived in “northside.” I needed to pee and my friends needed to make that happen. And everything still felt like I was walking through a fog of cotton candy.
I was told to sing “Yes” from “A New Brain”, my current musical fav, to distract me from my need to pee. We walked to Subway to use the bathroom. It was closed. I began singing quicker as we walked to my friend’s dorm.
I ran into the dorm to the nearest bathroom and met my friends back in the room. They were sitting, glassy eyed and confused. We were detached from reality and unsure how it happened. As I finally got into bed, I texted an EI-frequenter to ask what was in the jungle juice.
As it turns out, EI’s jungle juice recipe is one part alcohol one part robitussin to create a hazy, dazy evening of relaxed morals, confusion, and robotripping.
Now, American University and EI have gotten a lot of attention recently. While I wish the media would pick up my story of how my former college apartment was certainly on top of a hellmouth, these leaked EI emails are more important.
I am lucky enough to look back at my story and laugh. I can laugh at how I drunkenly sang an off-Broadway musical song through AU’s campus. I can laugh at how I mistakenly robotripped and everything turned out okay.
But I am lucky. This was clearly a tame night for the “underground” frat.
But in truth, EI is not underground. They are open. They haze on campus. They wear letters on campus. They pick up students from campus to take them to parties. They behave like a frat without having to follow any of the rules.
My story is a silly one. I have no proof of padlocks outside bedroom doors or even if I actually robotripped. But I get to retell the story at parties to slightly horrified laughs. EI’s story is one of trouble making, rape culture, misogyny and illegal activity told to horrified gasps.
And sure, you can say this happens at every frat. You can say this is an “extreme” feminists way of sensationalizing a controversy. And I say, so what? Let it be sensationalized. Let this behavior become nationally recognized as deplorable. Let every frat be afraid their words and actions will be leaked to the world someday. Let them hold themselves accountable.
And yep, you can say EI isn’t actually a frat. You can say FratergateAU is demonizing every frat because of the behavior of one fake frat. And again, I say, so what? A simple google search will reveal you don’t need to be a fake frat to behave the way EI does or worse. So, all frats will need to take a deeper look at themselves. So, frats will have to prove they don’t support rape culture. So, frats will have to openly act likely kind humans.
And yes, you can say girls should know better than go to a frat that has the same reputation as pirates, (rape, pillage and plunder). I’ve already judged myself for making such a decision. However the girls attending these parties are not supporting rape culture. The brothers of EI and their despicable language and behavior support rape culture. Instead of telling people to stop going to their parties, tell the brothers to stop behaving poorly. Go to the root of the problem.
Hold them accountable.
Hold rape culture accountable.
Sign this: http://www.change.org/petitions/neil-kerwin-no-more-silence-demand-sexual-assault-prevention-and-consequences-for-epsilon-iota?utm_campaign=new_signature&utm_medium=email&utm_source=signature_receipt#share