Forbes Columnist Calls Drunk Women the 'Gravest Threat' to Frats, Gets Summarily Fired

Forbes Columnist Calls Drunk Women the 'Gravest Threat' to Frats, Gets Summarily Fired

By Victoria Kim 09/25/14

Bill Frezza's ignorant column was promptly scrubbed, but not before incurred a healthy dose of internet wrath.

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A scourge of “drunk female guests” are to blame for recriminations against fraternities—that is, according to Bill Frezza, who wrote an entire Forbes column about it. The article was posted yesterday and deleted soon after, but that was all the time the Internet needed to respond to his inflammatory post.

Frezza’s column, “Drunk Female Guests Are The Gravest Threat to Fraternities,” has lived on in its cached form. In the piece, Frezza argued that female students who binge drink before going to fraternity house parties are more responsible for frat closures and suspensions than the actions of the frat members themselves.

The fact that it is not “socially acceptable” for bouncers to eject drunk female students from parties is the problem, according to Frezza, who is president of the Beta Foundation, the house corporation for the Chi Phi fraternity at MIT.

“In our age of sexual equality, why drunk female students are almost never characterized as irresponsible jerks is a question I leave to the feminists,” he wrote.

His recommendations included identifying drunks at the door and barring them from house parties no matter “how pretty or flirtatious a young lady is; if she’s visibly intoxicated, don’t let her in.” He added a particularly disturbing anecdote after this tidbit of advice: “Although we were once reprimanded for turning away a drunk female student who ultimately required an ambulance when she passed out on our sidewalk, it would have gone a lot worse for us had she collapsed inside.”

And to avoid “false” accusations of rape “months after the fact triggered by regrets over a drunken hook-up or anger after a failed relationship,” Brezza recommended to “never, ever take a drunk female guest to your bedroom."

Brezza’s tone was ominous, warning that “all it takes is one [woman] to bring an entire fraternity system down.”

But TIME writer Eliana Dockterman argued that women are not the biggest threat to fraternities, but rather that fraternities are the biggest threat to themselves.

She noted that binge drinking within fraternities is so great that insurance companies factor it into their calculations for the organizations.

“The National Association of Insurance Commissioners ranked fraternities as the sixth worst insurance risk in this country, just behind hazardous waste disposal companies and asbestos contractors,” Douglas Feinberg, who represents victims of violence, wrote for TIME. “One insurance broker for fraternities boasts of handling more than 6,000 claims and $60,000,000 in payouts.”

In addition, sexual assault is so rampant in fraternity culture that it can be quantified.

“Of the many thousands of insurance claims that are made against fraternities each year, those for sexual assault are the second most common, so predictable, in fact, that the related expenses are built into annual budgets,” Caitlin Flanagan, a contributing editor at The Atlantic, wrote for TIME. Flanagan recently completed an in-depth investigation of fraternity culture.

Meanwhile, Forbes fired Frezza soon after pulling his column.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr

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