It’s officially midterm week, which means that it’s officially the middle of the semester, which means we are all drowning in work. We can finally begin to see the light of spring break, whether you’re traveling to sunny Florida or curling up in bed back home for some catch-up on “Netflix-time”. However, as the middle of the semester rolls around, the time has come for reflection. We must reflect about the joys of this year, the downfalls, the triumphs, and the heartaches. However, most importantly, we must reflect upon the critical issues that have recently occurred on this campus and how we can move forward.
On March 11, President David A. Greene sent a school-wide email in which he stated that he wished to give a talk to the campus community to “share my thoughts about how we might move forward on critical issues and bring into the open issues that often go unspoken but need to be addressed.” Last Monday, Greene addressed a packed Pulver Pavilion, discussing both his disappointment in recent events as well as his dedication to continuing change. Community members discussed the speech all night and throughout the next day, but what we noticed is that the main topic of conversation has been surrounding only one part of the address: the underground fraternities.
We know they exist, we go to their parties, we like to guess who’s in what frat and who’s getting tapped to pledge next. We know that the Administration—as well as most of the faculty—is aware of the frats, but they are the elephant in the room. The fact that Greene brought up the frats at all during his speech was astounding and impressive, but they diverted attention away from the main point of his speech.
The fraternities may have had a role in the drama that has ensued in the past few months; however, at the same time, there are more pressing issues that were caused, not by an organization, but by tangible issues on campus such as systemic racism, homophobia, and sexism. The persistent violence that we have seen on this campus is not just due to groups of men who hang out together, live in off-campus houses together, and call their friend groups by a name. It is far more productive to spend our time educating and supporting our community than to chase ghosts.
Jake Bleich & Kiernan Somers