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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Greek Life…Again

Published: March 2, 2012
Section: Opinions

There has been a lot of talk around campus recently surrounding articles published in both the Justice and The Hoot regarding Greek life. While The Hoot’s editorial was interesting and well conceived, I would like to take a second and give my perspective on a few points raised in the Justice’s editorial “Recognize Greek Life.”

The first issue that the article raises is the recognition of Greek life on campus and how recognition can bring regulation. As a member of a fraternity, I can say that there is a majority opinion in my organization against recognition for that very reason. We, as an organization, have had to grow and evolve into what you see (and don’t, for that matter) without the supervision of a big brother-like figure to determine our boundaries. What has resulted in this tumultuous process is a group of people who can—with enough will and hard work—truly determine the future of our organization. While I cannot speak for any other Greek organization, I am positive they have undergone a similar process. By enabling the university to regulate what we do, all of this work will have been for naught. What my organization desires, more than anything else, is enough recognition to rent out certain locations on campus for philanthropic events, to be at the same level as improvisation groups or a cappella groups.

As one would expect, I must now discuss the regulation that would come with recognition of Greek life. As the article briefly states—if you rush at Tufts University, you are almost guaranteed a chance to join at least one organization. This seemed to imply that exclusivity is, by nature, a bad thing for Brandeis (or on a larger level, society). You will, however, be hard-pressed to find a student who does not at least know someone who was denied membership to one of the many other exclusive organizations. It is a very sad fact, but exclusivity is one of the great divides between the good and the great; it is why you attend Brandeis and your lazy friend from home who nearly failed high school attends a college with lower rankings. I am not implying that any organization is great by the simple virtue of exclusivity; it is, however, an important factor that is not inherently good or bad.

My next question is for anyone who wants to answer: What are the perks to becoming a recognized organization on campus versus a non-recognized organization? I have already mentioned the most prevalent one that comes to mind, and the only other I can think of is funding (which would be redundant, since we are a member-funded group). So now, if I were to make a benefits and disadvantages list, the disadvantages would greatly outweigh the benefits. All of this, of course, implies that the administration would not simply create regulations that completely eliminate what Greek organizations do. Once these floodgates are open, the possibilities are only limited by the signatures of a few important people.

The last point that arises in the Justice’s article is aligning the values of Brandeis and Greek life to allow a more cohesive system. According to the dean of student life, Brandeis’ core values are: Citizenship, Integrity, Respect, Civility, Lifelong Learning, and Embracing Diversity (CIRCLE). It seems to me, unfortunately, that the Administration and much of the student body have forgotten that embracing diversity is not limited to race or gender. Our own website emphasizes the importance of embracing diversity as “because our lives are richer the more we are exposed to a full range of people and experiences, we celebrate human diversity, and strive for the broadest representation of perspectives in all that we do.” It is impossible to align any goals on either side of the debate if our administration actively neglects the very goals it seeks to promote. How do we solve such an ingrained issue in the system? The answer to this problem is as easy as defining the similarities between a raven and a writing desk.