The Lafayette 05-04-2012 Edition

Once again The Lafayette published several articles touching on the topic of Greek Life at Lafayette College.

Brett Billings ’12 writes in the article The role of alumni in a changing college culture:

But the most vocalized angst over college changes has been, by far, the scrutiny under which Greek life finds itself.  Messick is also co-chair of the Alumni Interfraternity and Sorority Board (AISB) and estimates 60 percent of the alumni are Greek.  “The college has made it tough to be Greek,” he said over the phone.

The full article addresses websites and discussion forums where alumni hash over Lafayette related issues. It closes with me discussing the challenge of keeping alumni with diverse interests connected to the College long after graduation.

Brett also penned a farewell Letter from the Editor that posits the questions:

Why does anxiety exist in Lafayette’s Greek community?  Why are so many students hiding in Lafayette classrooms, right under their professors’ noses?  Why has the Patriot League strayed so brazenly from its commitment to academic excellence in pursuit of athletic fantasies?  Why an increased commitment to the arts, when engineering has been the historic backbone of the college?  Why does the institution promote itself as diverse and inclusive, when acts of ethnic intimidation and indifference persist?  Why does our Board of Trustees act in secrecy, with no regard for transparency, no regard for openness?  Why does the institution overpower the college?  Why is there a difference between the two?

If our answer is truly, Cur non?, then we have much with which to be concerned.  And the cost is far greater, the loss much deeper than words can here describe.

For details behind all of the cur non? references, see this Lafayette College explanation.

Finally, Eric Goldwein ’12 penned an editorial Three Fixes in response to a November letter to the editor Pard Pride. Mr. Goldwein writes one fix as Laissez Faire:

I am unaffiliated and believe that fraternities and sororities are based on traditions that are backwards and outdated. But that doesn’t mean they should be singled out, held to ridiculous subjective standards or forced to change into something they are not.

Staying the course – unjustly eliminating Greek organizations one-by-one – will prove costly to student and alumni morale. If this truly is a system that no longer belongs on a college campus, let it die naturally.

While I obviously disagree with Mr. Goldwein that the Objects of Delta Kappa Epsilon are backwards and outdated, I wholeheartedly agree that fraternities and sororities should not be targeted for elimination one-by-one as has happened over the past 25 years at Lafayette College or that the Greek community should face the threat of elimination due to ridiculous subjective standards. The latter troubles me especially because the College’s ratings on COMPASS over the past four years yielded a majority of chapter scores as “Excellent” with no remaining chapter receiving an “Unacceptable” rating. Hopefully more students and alumni can find the common ground Mr. Goldwein and I occupy.

This is the last issue of The Lafayette for this academic year. In a few short weeks we will welcome a new class of graduates as fellow Lafayette College alumni.

In case anyone has not already read the WSJ article 10 Things Your Commencement Speaker Won’t Tell You, I’ll leave you with #1:

Your time in fraternity basements was well spent.

The same goes for the time you spent playing intramural sports, working on the school newspaper or just hanging with friends. Research tells us that one of the most important causal factors associated with happiness and well-being is your meaningful connections with other human beings. Look around today. Certainly one benchmark of your postgraduation success should be how many of these people are still your close friends in 10 or 20 years.


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