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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 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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  #4  
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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  #5  
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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  #6  
Old 07-27-2004, 03:11 PM
reverie reverie is offline
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When I was on the campus tour at the University of Richmond, the tourguide told us this myth!
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  #7  
Old 07-27-2004, 03:25 PM
WCUgirl WCUgirl is offline
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My campus was also told the reason we didn't have houses was b/c of the brothel law.

It was also explained to us that somewhere in the bylaws for the campus Panhellenic (or some such document), way back when, there was a clause stating that the sororities could build houses in the order they were established on campus. Since the first sorority to be established on our campus was no longer there, we couldn't build unless that group came back.

I only heard that one once or twice though.
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  #8  
Old 07-27-2004, 03:43 PM
Lady Pi Phi Lady Pi Phi is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by winneythepooh7
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.
There is apparently a city by-law in Guelph that prevents fraternity and sorority houses.
I wish I could find the exact by-law.
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  #9  
Old 07-27-2004, 04:36 PM
chideltjen chideltjen is offline
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Greek orgs have individual houses around Sacramento. Quite a few of the fraternities had them but they became police hangouts and actually one was condemned and is probably now destroyed. There is one sorority with an official house and I am sure two zillion other sisters of various sororities that live together in one place (ie two or three roomates.)

CSUS is a commuter school. Yeah it may be cool to have a greek row, but there is NO WHERE near Sac State that can handle ALL greek orgs on campus. No matter how often student gov campaigns claim they will make a Greek Row, it will never happen.

However I do remember one of my friends in Sonoma (not Greek not were any of her roomies) having trouble finding a house because Sonoma has some "brothel" law. It was probably the case mentioned in the article about just having too many non-related women (or men) living in one place designed for one family.
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  #10  
Old 07-27-2004, 04:51 PM
Shima-Mizu Shima-Mizu is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by 33girl
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)
But I think we used to have sorority houses a long, long time ago. Need to double check on that though.
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  #11  
Old 07-27-2004, 05:21 PM
Little E Little E is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by 33girl
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)
Why is it that Penn State is so entirely convinced that they do have a brothel law?

I talked to one girl from Penn State and she said that they couldn't move off because of NPC fair housing requirements. This would be accurate right? You can't have 90% living in dorm floors with one group with a house right? you need to have at least half or something with houses?
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  #12  
Old 07-27-2004, 05:31 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Little E
Why is it that Penn State is so entirely convinced that they do have a brothel law?

I talked to one girl from Penn State and she said that they couldn't move off because of NPC fair housing requirements. This would be accurate right? You can't have 90% living in dorm floors with one group with a house right? you need to have at least half or something with houses?
I didn't mean that Penn State (the college or the students) think they have a brothel law. I mean the women weren't allowed to move off campus - whether they were living together or not - and by the time they were, the 5368 fraternities that are there had taken all the zoned land. It would be difficult for one sorority to build a house, let alone the 19 that are there now. Like the girl you talked to said, the "what one has all must have comparable" thing comes into play.

http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive...03dnews-01.asp

The sororities did have on-campus houses at one time, but had to give them up to the returning GIs.
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Last edited by 33girl; 07-27-2004 at 05:36 PM.
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  #13  
Old 07-27-2004, 05:42 PM
DeltAlum DeltAlum is offline
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I heard there is a brothel on the moon full of sorority pins left there by Neil Armstrong for all of his ex-wives.
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The above is the opinion of the poster which may or may not be based in known facts and does not necessarily reflect the views of Delta Tau Delta or Greek Chat -- but it might.
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  #14  
Old 07-28-2004, 09:44 AM
adpiucf adpiucf is offline
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  #15  
Old 07-28-2004, 11:54 AM
seraphimsprite seraphimsprite is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by DeltAlum
I heard there is a brothel on the moon full of sorority pins left there by Neil Armstrong for all of his ex-wives.
Don't forget about the Library of Congress branch on the moon where all of our ritual books are stored. Except Sigma Kappa's of course, because a Sigma Kappa was the president of the Neil Armstrong ex-wives club.
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