Panhellenic Council Offends Women, Infringe Rights

I’m offended by Derby Days. But not because anything that Sigma Chi did. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The offender is the Panhellenic Council. As my sorority’s Panhellenic delegate read aloud the new guidelines set by the Council (of which I automatically became a member when I joined a sorority), I laughed. Not at the obscenity of its content, but at the irony. A women’s group, in the name of feminism, created a constitution of strict guidelines preventing anything that could be deemed unladylike, promiscuous or put us in the position to have our womanhood compromised. This is the gravest of insults. As a girl, Panhellenic Association is telling me how to comport myself. Anything that falls under the category of the aforementioned behaviors could land me a seat in front of my sorority standards committee because obviously, my personal, moral barometer is not sufficient enough to monitor and judge my own, individual behaviors. What ever happened to personal responsibility? Ironically, one of the buzzwords for the Residential Education initiative is “self governing,” yet no shred of that concept is imbedded in the Panhellenic Association’s resolution.As the irony faded, I found my laughter spurring from the ridiculous insinuations of what is Derby Days. I was part of the winning team of 2004 – and I did absolutely nothing of what you are envisioning now. What I did do I can freely speak of and I could tell my mother without shame. I even told my grandmother; it was that kosher. I made friends, lots of them, both Greek and non-Greek, both male and female. I laughed. I even danced a little. I was sober. And I did not even have so much as an inappropriate or un-welcomed grope or glance from the opposite sex. I was part of Sigma Chi’s effort to raise $8,000, half of which went to Hamilton families. As a current sorority Philanthropy Chair, I praise the fraternity’s effort and ability to draw such a crowd and to raise such a large amount of money and visibility for worthy causes. And while Colgate freely and comfortably uses the Greek community as a philanthropic crutch, there is rarely so much as a “thank you” in return. Plus, it is much more fun to make an example of a group of people who are exactly the same, exhibit the exact same behaviors as the rest of the non-Greek community. It’s a wonderful diversion from the real issues at hand.According s March 25, 2005 Maroon-News article, Derby Days has produced concerns that “the weeklong activities are a means of exploiting participants and that the events can easily turn into one which sexually objectifies women.” Here’s a thought, women, and it goes far beyond the social schedule of Derby Days: Perhaps you are allowing men to exploit you, allowing men to objectify you. Strangely enough, I’ve never heard of one single complaint. And here is why: The girls who get “exploited” and “objectified” really have no case when it would come to light that they pushed their own personal limits of alcohol consumption. Colgate’s message should be: “Girls, assess your own behavior. Hold yourself responsible. Value your own personal moral barometer. Exercise your right to personal responsibility.”While the Colgate administration thinks they are saving women from the sins of men and booze (or even more blasphemous, themselves), what is really happening is a poisoning of a long Colgate tradition. They are propelling negative myths of the Greek system, quickly overlooking all the of the good, hard work for service, deep bonds of friendship and the invaluable support system at an unstable school. But most importantly, and even hurtful, is the damage and devaluation to the name of women. Every woman in the Colgate community, Greek or not, student or faculty, should be incensed, inconsolably irate, over this blatant violation of administrative boundaries. Let’s start fostering an environment where women can exercise their own personal responsibility.And leave the fundraising frat boys alone.