Question: What do fraternity brothers love more than crushing aluminum cans on their foreheads and shoving pine cones up new pledges’ rectums? Answer: A very good guess would be Will Ferrell movies. After all, it’s hard to forget Ferrell’s hilariously sloppy, scene-stealing performance in 2003’s Old School, and even easier to understand why the Alpha Epsilon Whoevers might latch on to Ferrell as a sort of beer-bonging icon.
Which is why it’s surprising, if not encouraging, to see Ferrell speaking out over the recent public disgraces attributed to university Greek houses, and calling for a total ban on Greek life altogether. During a live Q&A with The New York Times at this year’s SXSW festival, Ferrell fielded a question from a fan on the rash of racism, misogyny, and homophobia that seems alarmingly present in many fraternities.
“The incident in Oklahoma, that is a real argument for getting rid of the system altogether, in my opinion, even having been through a fraternity. Because when you break it down, it really is about creating cliques and clubs and being exclusionary. Fraternities were started as academic societies that were supposed to have a philanthropic arm to them. And when it’s governed by those kind of rules, then they’re still beneficial.”
As he pointed out, Ferrell was himself a fraternity pledge while attending the University of Southern California. And then, of course, there’s Frank Ricard, who probably has more class in one Budweiser can tab pulling finger than the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Oklahoma chapter has in its entire student body. But, despite his entangled personal history with the Greek system, Ferrell seems to realize what is becoming more starkly apparent to the rest of us: the Greeks have gotta straight up, or they’ve gotta go. Take it from Frank The Tank.