As we enter Spring 2006, the Broad Street community has undergone a smooth transition to University-ownership. The F.A.C.T. Rally and SA4C are a distant memory of yesteryear, and the majority of students that so vehemently opposed Colgate’s New Vision for Residential Education have silenced their voices and returned to their usual daily concerns. In the minds of the administration, as perceived from the usual public relation-conscious press releases, the transition has been completed smoothly and Colgate’s Vision is now a model for similar institutions around the country.
However, the apparently easy and seamless transition this year has led me to question what positive benefits are being felt with the new Broad Street Community in place. Perhaps it is difficult for me to see any benefits, for I am not a part of the Broad Street Community, but to the casual observer, it would appears as if little or nothing has changed – at least for the better.
It is at this time that I would like to discuss the negative changes and hypocrisy incurred last semester following the adoption of the New Vision. This plan is said to have been implemented with the intent of community building. How, then, does the administration justify this claim when recognition was withdrawn from the oldest member of the Broad Street Community? New University by-laws state that a group must reside in University-owned housing in order to achieve recognition. While the Delta Kappa Epsilon house may be vacant this year, DKE undergraduate brothers still reside together in University-owned housing (Parker Apartments), and the organization made no infractions the previous year that would justify a withdrawal of recognition.
Furthermore, I believe it is important for the students of Colgate to be informed of another act of hypocrisy. As I stated before, the purpose of the New Vision is to promote community building on campus. What the press releases don’t tell the students, alumni, parents or prospects is that members of the administration actively advised a group of students to do the exact opposite of community building.
In the summer of 2005, undergraduate members of the former DKE fraternity and parents were invited to a private meeting with Kelly Opipari to be held upon return to campus. At this meeting, the group of former DKE brothers was informed that it was in their best interests not to socialize or interact with sophomore or freshmen males outside of academic or athletic concerns. I ask the administration, how is community built into this New Vision when the result is that a group of students are advised not to socialize with approximately one quarter of the entire student population?
The point I am trying to illustrate is that I have seen little or no change for the positive, and significant change for the negative following the first full semester of the Broad Street Community. Social options have decreased rather than increased, the doors of the Broad Street houses, once open and inviting, are now closed. The oldest house on the street is now cold, dark and empty, and students are left with less opportunity to meet and network with members of different class years or backgrounds. The former DKE brothers are left unable to continue their 150-year-old tradition and the incoming classes will be unable to experience the bonds of brotherhood and outstanding alumni network, both of which have left an undeniable mark on my life.
So I ask one more time: What positive attributes will the New Vision bring to Colgate students to offset the losses incurred by the transition?