Greeks Freak…and it’s not the MGLC’s step show.

13 10 2008

So, I’m churning out two updates in one day. Yay.

For those who follow the trials and issues of the Greek system (which are probably very few in number, but nonetheless fascinating in its own twisted way), the big news in the system has been related to the Greek conference (Call To Action Summit) held in Appel last month. Quite simply put, Cornell and a coalition of alumni are threatening to remove Greek self-governance unless some changes are made. Now.

The first concern are academics. The fraternity system as a whole stands at 3.26. In the fall of 2007, it stood at 3.246 (sororities are at about 3.4, and higher than their non-Greek counterparts, so they don’t have the same issue).

I only have a paper copy of this past semester’s average, which is why the elctronic one is only the prior two semesters. Anyways, that upsets the alumni. The campus average is somewhere around 3.4. That is very upsetting. As one fraternity alum exclaimed, “Cornell Greeks could and should be smarter than non-Greeks”.

So, obviously, they launch into this whole sphiel about promoting academics and all that goes with it. Here’s my concern, as an attendee; we all know that certain schools are more rigorous grade-wise than others. ILR averages about a 3.8, while engineering is nearly a full point lower. For a generic house, where the have two rushees who are relatively the same in every characteristic except that one’s an ILRie and the other is an engineer, which one are they going to choose, as their independence in the system is under threat?

That’s my issue. The intended goal is smarter Greeks. GPAs don’t necessarily mean someone is smarter, but based off of statistics, one might think it is. I’m concerned those from more rigorous majors (my dept. averages a 3.2, which is why I feel every right to be concerned) are going to have a slimmer chance of getting into a house because the house will focus more on their course of study, thinking it more potentially attractive to give bids to those in majors with generally high GPAs (and I’ll be damned if someone steps up to say that would never happen, and can prove it).

The second topic was getting rid of the Greeks “party-and-kegger” image. This I can agree with more. I feel embarrassed if I wear my letters around campus because I get this awkward feeling that unfamiliar faculty and staff are looking down on me, as if they heard I’m drunk four nights a week. I think I’ve drank maybe four times this semester, and only one of those times was it even with anyone from my fraternity. So, I personally would love to do away with the party image.

Unfortunately, I’m also aware that parties are a primary source of “fresh blood”. The general view is that people aren’t as interested in a sense of camraderie and connections and cheaper housing; they’re visiting in the fall for the free booze. Fraternities who have used alternative method are generally looked down upon. To that extent, I’m aware of the two ag frats [AZ and AGR] doing events on the Ag Quad to attract attention to themselves and to get people interested, and Seal and Serpent posting flyers in high-traffic areas, but the aggies are considered off the wall anyway and Seal’s desperate for members.

So, the system is attempting an “informational” on the 26th. It seems like it will be a guided tour of the houses and a career fair style setup in the multipurpose room of RPU. I’ll be downright shocked if they have a significant turnout.

The third is the spectre of hazing. As someone who has been directly involved in overhauling parts of their own fraternity’s pledging to address the concerns, I can say that most of the ideas they were proposing were one’s we put into effect after hazing allegation went public in almost ten years ago. It took five years to put into place though, because some alumni vehemently opposed what they referred to as “taking the fun and character out of the pledge process”. They disaffiliated with us over the restructuring, but we did what we had to, and we’ve been the better for doing it (I won’t give exact numbers and details because I’m concerned they would give some others the information necessary to determine my afiiliation).

Meanwhile, Greek and non-Greeks alike are flipping out over the police distrubing dozens of $500 fines in a given weekend. Here’s the bad news folks—the locals are strongly supportive of the measures. And unless you plan on commuting from Lansing or Dryden, you’d better learn to deal with it, because as much as we’re upset, the support from the rest of Ithaca (excluding South Hill and IC) is staggering. Students are a captive market, and unless it can be proven otherwise, expect things to only get more stringent in the future.

EDIT: Speaking of MGLC, I take it this [1B] means Alpha Phi Alpha is active at Cornell once again? Congratulations gentlemen. Best of luck to you.




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