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  #1  
Old 07-27-2004, 02:05 PM
adpiucf adpiucf is offline
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Debunking the "Brothel Law" Myth

Claim: _ Sororities are outlawed on certain campuses because local "brothel laws" prohibit more than a specified number of females from living together.

Status: _ False.

Examples:

[Collected on the Internet, 2001]
Sorority houses are illegal in PA. Due to a 19th century law banning more the 5 unrelated women from living in the same house. This law supposedly was meant to prevent prostitution houses.
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[Collected on the Internet, 1998]
Well, my alma mater is Denison University. Dogs were part of the landscape when there were fraternities on campus. There are no fraternities there anymore. I was in a sorority, but we weren't allowed to live in the sorority houses (old town law about more than 8 women in a house constituting a brothel).
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[Collected on the Internet, 1997]
I have a friend who goes to Loyola New Orleans. They cannot have sorority houses because more than five girls in one house is a brothel.
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[Collected on the Internet, 1995]
I have heard from the ol' rumor mill that the reason that sororities don't have houses at the University of Chicago is that there's some sort of local/state law which defines four or more unmarried women living together as a brothel.

Variations:

* The number of sorority sisters that would supposedly trigger the "brothel" designation varies from telling to telling, with six being one of the more common figures kited.


* This legend is told as true on any number of U.S. campuses, always by way of explanation for each school's lack of sorority houses.

Origins: _ This mistaken belief has been recorded since the 1960s and is probably a great deal older than that. Its possible origin might lie in a mental confluence of half-remembered tidbits about old time "blue laws" mixed with a healthy dollop of badly-parsed newer input about zoning laws adopted by various communities in more contemporary times. Short and sweet, if any so-called "brothel laws" anywhere tie a building's classification as a bordello to the number of occupants, we've yet to find documentation that proves this.

Some municipalities do indeed have zoning laws prohibiting more than a specified number of non-family members (male or female) from living together, but not even in those cases would a household in violation of those codes be labeled a brothel.

Brothels earn such designations solely on the basis of what goes on in them, not upon how many women inhabit particular buildings.

Even in communities that carry such housing restrictions on their books, sororities and fraternities are exempted from them. The thrust of such laws is to set limits on how many people may reasonably inhabit what were meant to be single-family dwellings, not to enjoin those who are living in more communal settings in buildings meant for such purposes. Were such laws to apply to those latter forms of housing, local YWCAs would have been shut down and padlocked, as would a variety of nurses' residences.

Collegians have been explaining the lack of sorority houses on various campuses through this flawed factlet for many a year. Richard Roeper noted this legend in 1994, calling it "the most widespread piece of university folklore making the rounds" and estimating from entries on collegiate bulletin boards that it was being told on at least 100 campuses.

The belief that a "brothel law" bars live-in sororities from campuses is so deeply worked into the fabric of collegiate life that few now think to question it. In 1998 a group of eight students at Tulane University unsuccessfully searched city and state laws for the statute, finally concluding they'd been on a wild goose chase. "It was not found in either city or state codes," Adriana Belli, one of the student researchers, said. "We looked in every law book, every ordinance in New Orleans . . . dating back to the 1800s."

We routinely hear from students who are convinced their particular university lacks a sorority because of this non-existent law. Their vehemence aside, none have yet produce a copy of the statute they so firmly believe in, an act that would earn their city and institution of higher learning a measure of fame in the world of contemporary lore.

Men view the notion of large numbers of women living together as strangely erotic, mentally envisioning a veritable candy store of comely and available sex partners, each of them bedding down for the night virginally clutching her teddy bear close to her babydoll-clad, pulsating 38-24-36 nakedness (which they wouldn't if they'd ever been locked in a women's dorm overnight nothing kills rampant sexual fantasy more quickly than a cold eyeful of reality.) Add to the mix the "college girl" element (young, nubile flesh) and throw in the "sorority girl" detail (presumed promiscuity), and it's easy to see why this tidbit about brothel zoning has been so stubbornly promulgated.

courtesy of www.snopes.com
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  #2  
Old 07-27-2004, 02:18 PM
KSigkid KSigkid is offline
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That was always the story we heard when we asked why Boston U. didn't have any sorority houses. Then we learned it was because of a horribly uptight administration (the same reason there were no fraternity houses on campus).
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  #3  
Old 12-02-2008, 05:37 PM
AlphaDeltaDelta AlphaDeltaDelta is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KSigkid View Post
That was always the story we heard when we asked why Boston U. didn't have any sorority houses. Then we learned it was because of a horribly uptight administration (the same reason there were no fraternity houses on campus).
There used to be houses (for fraternities, never sororities as far as I know) on campus at Boston U, but they got pissed at the fraternities and gave the locations away to the MIT fraternities that now live there.
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  #4  
Old 02-13-2010, 06:01 PM
TitaniumGene TitaniumGene is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KSigkid View Post
That was always the story we heard when we asked why Boston U. didn't have any sorority houses. Then we learned it was because of a horribly uptight administration (the same reason there were no fraternity houses on campus).
That's true. Some universities just don't want any Greek life which would apply to all fraternities and sororities. It seems unlikely that you will find a school with only fraternities and no sororities.
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  #5  
Old 02-13-2010, 06:13 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TitaniumGene View Post
That's true. Some universities just don't want any Greek life which would apply to all fraternities and sororities. It seems unlikely that you will find a school with only fraternities and no sororities.
Having houses has nothing to do with having chapters of sororities or fraternities at a school.
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  #6  
Old 02-13-2010, 06:21 PM
MysticCat MysticCat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TitaniumGene View Post
It seems unlikely that you will find a school with only fraternities and no sororities.
Davidson College.
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  #7  
Old 07-27-2004, 02:22 PM
winneythepooh7 winneythepooh7 is offline
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I've heard of this so much. I also remember being told in undergrad that we couldn't put letters on our house because it was against some town code or something. We compromised by hanging banners in the windows.
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  #8  
Old 07-27-2004, 02:49 PM
Shima-Mizu Shima-Mizu is offline
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I've heard that rumor on my campus. We have fraternity houses but no sorority houses. According to campus rumor though, that was the reason for not having houses at first, but now the current situation is like this because all of the sororities must be able to afford a house or no sorority can have a house.
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  #9  
Old 09-05-2007, 07:11 PM
ealymc ealymc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shima-Mizu View Post
I've heard that rumor on my campus. We have fraternity houses but no sorority houses. According to campus rumor though, that was the reason for not having houses at first, but now the current situation is like this because all of the sororities must be able to afford a house or no sorority can have a house.
Isn't this an NPC rule? The All or None mantra?
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  #10  
Old 09-05-2007, 07:15 PM
UGAalum94 UGAalum94 is offline
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Originally Posted by ealymc View Post
Isn't this an NPC rule? The All or None mantra?
No.

Actually, I'm wrong. Not really surprising. Apparently when a system is going from no one having housing to having it, the NPC does help develop a house agreement for the campus. I was just thinking of the odd cases in which a group joins an existing system.

Last edited by UGAalum94; 09-05-2007 at 08:07 PM.
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  #11  
Old 09-05-2007, 07:23 PM
ealymc ealymc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UGAalum94 View Post
No.
I guess I was misinformed. It must just be an agreement between our campuses NPC orgs.
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  #12  
Old 09-05-2007, 07:28 PM
UGAalum94 UGAalum94 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ealymc View Post
I guess I was misinformed. It must just be an agreement between our campuses NPC orgs.
I don't have all the NPC rules, but when new groups come on campus, they have to make plans to build houses or whatever, so not all groups are housed necessarily.

It wouldn't surprise me though if the general preference when starting Greek housing for the NPC groups is that they try to make sure all the groups are ready. The NPC does seem to like a level playing field.

Maybe someone else knows the real policies.

Last edited by UGAalum94; 09-05-2007 at 08:08 PM.
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  #13  
Old 03-29-2011, 12:43 AM
ADPi767 ADPi767 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shima-Mizu View Post
I've heard that rumor on my campus. We have fraternity houses but no sorority houses. According to campus rumor though, that was the reason for not having houses at first, but now the current situation is like this because all of the sororities must be able to afford a house or no sorority can have a house.
thants the same issue with my school, its highly annoying for all the guys have them. We have a large building were all the sororities get mixed up and put into rooms of four. It works well but a house would create a much better sense of community
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  #14  
Old 03-29-2011, 11:37 AM
Drolefille Drolefille is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ADPi767 View Post
thants the same issue with my school, its highly annoying for all the guys have them. We have a large building were all the sororities get mixed up and put into rooms of four. It works well but a house would create a much better sense of community
Read. the rest. of the thread.
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  #15  
Old 07-27-2004, 02:51 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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Can we please sticky this to the top of every single forum?

And if your school has fraternity houses and not sorority houses, it's probably because YOUR SCHOOL didn't let women move off campus until after men were allowed and men snapped up all the available zoned land. It is due to in loco parentis regulations practiced in a sexually discriminatory manner by the school - NOT because of any brothel law. (Penn State, I'm looking at you)
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