I read four letters in the April 22nd edition of the Maroon-News to which I feel compelled to respond.
To President Chopp: Your letter bore the title “President Chopp Responds to F.A.C.T.’s Demands.” At best, your response was irrelevant and dismissive; at worst, it was simply a restatement of the same old University blather. I was amused by the following: “Colgate has expressed the desire to own the Greek-letter houses in order to continue fraternities and sororities with Colgate support and supervision as a component of the educational process.” To this date, I have not heard or seen any explanation by Colgate’s administration or Board of Trustees for their unwillingness to lease the fraternity and sorority houses, a plan which would give the University just as much control over those houses as ownership was. Logically, I can only assume that ownership is the true goal, University oversight being only a ruse. Why does the administration and Board of Trustees refuse to divulge their reasoning behind the decision to own rather than lease? The letter I received from John Golden which addressed the issue was as terse, dismissive, and lacking in substantive reasoning as your own recent letter to the Maroon-News. Futhermore, I read with dismay and sadness the University’s response to an admittedly tasteless and thoughtless email which circulated on the Colgate campus following the brawl at the Palace. The student who wrote the email should be (and according to his apology, is) ashamed of his actions. However, for Colgate administrators to imply that those opposed to the sale of the fraternities and sororities are inclined to attack, verbally or otherwise, minority students on campus is not only dishonest and cowardly, but also illustrative of why so many students and alumni resent Colgate’s actions. Shame on you.
To Katherine Eberly ’06: Your letter was well-stated and highlights some of the realities behind Colgate’s decision-making process. It is easy for Colgate, and for many other colleges and universities around the nation, to point the finger at any building with Greek letters on the front and say, “There’s the problem.” Sadly, on a national level, too many fraternities and sororities live up to the stereotypes we are bombarded with on a regular basis. Additionally, Colgate’s own Greek system needed to change. I readily admit these facts. What is most unfortunate, however, is the University’s willingness to take the easy road (one which, I suspect, they feel will lead to a higher ranking in U.S. News & Report). I wonder how many of your fellow students are aware of the open-ended clauses in the University’s contracts to buy the fraternity and sorority houses, clauses which allow them to modify the conditions under which a fraternity or sorority will be able to continue to occupy that house? I wonder how long it will be before the much- ballyhooed concessions the University made are reversed?
To Ilyse Morgenstein: You ask a valid question: if the rights of students at Colgate are in jeopardy, why has no one at Sigma Chi been punished? Let me respond with a few questions of my own. What do you think the other fraternities and sororities would do, were the University to punish the brothers of Sigma Chi for their dissent? Isn’t it possible that they would back out of their agreement to sell their houses? Isn’t it possible that the University has anticipated this? Isn’t it possible that the University’s stance towards its Greek system will change radically once it owns the houses?
To Scott Krummey: in your letter, you claim, “However, it seems that the Animal House Attitude is prevalent among those opposed to the University’s plans. They are scared to death that the University will somehow revoke their right to party, drink and engage in super-secret fraternity activities.” Your naivet?e is, hopefully, a rhetorical trick. First: do you honestly think that the University’s ownership of the fraternities and sororities will bring and end to drinking and partying at Colgate? I can only speak to my own Colgate experience, but, rest assured, drinking and partying were prevalent in the dorms, in apartments, and in fraternities when I was at Colgate. Second: my own fraternity, Phi Delta Theta, has been dry since the year 2000. Why are so many Phi Delts, both undergraduate and alumni, so opposed to Colgate’s plan? It doesn’t impact my life one way or another if the brothers of Phi Delt can drink or not drink. Given our chapter’s successes, it would seem that it’s not that important to the undergraduate brothers, either. Maybe you ought to enroll in a class on logic before you graduate, because your reasoning in the above statement is painfully inadequate.
Rich Andriole ’94