My parents have always told me, even as a child, that college is about two things 8212; getting a solid education while having fun at the same time. These two aspects go hand in hand 8212; or at least they do at most universities. Here at UR, however, it seems that the administration will stop at nothing short of complete elimination of the latter.
When we graduate, what will we remember? What will we have to look back on? Chemistry class our sophomore year? A special welcome to the engineering department in the Friel Lounge with pizza?
While these things are important, our fondest memories will come from the fun times we’ve had with our friends over the years. Thirty years down the road, it’s going to be the late nights, funny stories, and true friendships that we look back on.
That is precisely what fraternities are trying to do 8212; generate genuinely memorable times for everyone to carry with them throughout their lives. Unfortunately, our efforts cannot overcome the strict rule of the administration. Apparently, some of the leaders of this university are endeavoring to eliminate the social aspect of college life altogether.
Once we leave this place and move on in our lives, the social skills we have developed will prove to be equally as important 8212; if not more important 8212; than the knowledge we have acquired. In the real world, it doesn’t matter how much information you can store, if you can’t clearly and logically present it, the information is irrelevant. That is why social growth is so crucial to a successful college experience.
The Greek population on campus is comprised of smart, socially adept young men and women. Twenty percent of the student population is Greek-affiliated. We not only strive to do well in our pursuit of higher education, but we also put a great deal of effort into making the short four years of college enjoyable and memorable for everyone.
Buried deep within the UR Web site is the Greek Affairs “Statement of Relationship” with fraternity and sorority groups.
It states, “The university’s continuing commitment to these diverse groups [fraternities and sororities] stems from the significant opportunities they provide for intellectual, cultural and interpersonal growth opportunities that complement the university’s formal academic program. Within this framework the university will continue to foster and support fraternity and sorority groups.”
The first part of this statement is true. Fraternities do provide significant opportunities for intellectual and interpersonal growth for all students and the community. Our doors are always open to new, interesting people and we strive to reach out to the community through various philanthropy events.
Specifically, my fraternity raises and donates thousands of dollars each year to the Childrens’ Miracle Network. In addition, earlier this year a number of us helped a battered woman move out of her home and away from her abusive husband. These are just two examples of the many public service and fund-raising activities Greeks participate in. In fact, every house on the Fraternity Quad donates their time and effort to philanthropy. Year in and year out, fraternities do their best to give back to the community.
The second part of the statement leaves me wondering how this university define the words “foster” and “support”. In my experiences thus far, administration has gone out of their way to stop fraternities from providing an entertaining outlet for the students here.
Security has made a habit of covertly entering fraternities, completely unwarranted and breaking up healthy party scenes. These intrusions of privacy are far from fostering or supporting.
Fraternities are continually put on various forms of probation and given no method of rebuttal. It is immensely difficult for fraternities to host any type of social event, let alone to do so on a regular basis.
My essential question is simply this 8212; if this school truly believes what they write in their statement, why do they put so much effort into placing and keeping fraternities on probation as long as they possibly can? If the administration genuinely feels that Greeks “provide interpersonal growth opportunities,” why do they then inhibit those same opportunities?
The result of the anti-social effort of the administration is essentially forcing students to look elsewhere for weekend entertainment. They are beginning to go off campus to have fun. Bars, clubs and house parties not only lead to students spending exorbitant amounts of money, but also directly leads to drunk driving and other dangerous behavior.
While students here used to have the option of making the short walk back and forth to the Fraternity Quad, they must now constantly endanger themselves and trek to downtown Rochester. Is this the goal of the administration?
Not only does the anti-Greek and anti-social policy on campus hurt us as current students, it also hurts the future of UR.
Jason, a friend of mine from high school (class of 2002) is the salutatorian of his class of 415 students and scored a 1500 on his SATs. In an attempt to attract such a talented individual to our school, I told Jason about the social life on campus and convinced him to visit. With any luck, I was sure I’d get him to enroll here. Unfortunately things didn’t end up as I had expected.
As it turned out, Security barged in on the fraternity party he went to and ruined the mood, causing everyone to leave. Jason asked me the following morning before he left, “Can they just come in whenever they want and do as they please, disrespecting all the brothers like that?” I answered with an honest affirmative. Jason was appalled and disappointed. He ended up not even applying to UR. He would have been a great asset to our school. Who knows how many more Jason stories are out there.
For the most part, the Greek community cooperates with and respects the administration as much as possible. All we ask is that the administration live up to their claims of supporting fraternities and sororities and reciprocate the respect and cooperation we show them. We ask that UR join the rest of the country and start practicing an innocent until proven guilty policy instead of vice versa. By so doing, we can preserve what is left of the meager social life on campus and even boost it back to a successful level that will make our college years memorable and attract new students for years to come.
Voisine is a sophomore and a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.