News Tidbits 5/6/2011: Some of Us Can’t Be At Slope Day

6 05 2011

Oh graduate finals. You take way the afternoon of one of the biggest social days of my year. Well, I’ve studied a fair amount, and since final #1 is at 3 PM, I figured I would take a brief break to tackle a few of the many news pieces to have been released lately, before they become really old news.

1. SAE’s pledge class joining TKE. Do I think this is wrong? On many levels, yes. Playing Devil’s Advocate here, I can see why they might’ve pursued this idea. It’s no great secret that TKE’s numbers have been declining recently, and the fresh blood of a sizable class adopted from a fraternity with a strong social reputation could definitely help in some respects. In a historical sense, there’s nothing particularly like it.  When Phi Sigma Kappa and Phi Sigma Epsilon merged in the mid-1980s, even though both had houses at Cornell, there’s no indication the bortherhoods merged; it seems Phi Sigma Epsilon simply closed. There are some cases of entire fraternities merging, such as Zodiac and ATO in the 1930s. In all my fact-checking, I found only one case; pledges of Theta Chi, which was booted off Cornell’s campus in 1999, asked if they could join Alpha Epsilon Pi, and the offer was accepted. AEPi partially operated out of the Theta Chi house until 2001 (first they operated both their house at 140 Thurston and the house at 40 Ridgewood, then just Ridgewood), when it became too expensive and they reverted back to just their Thurston property.

On a related note, four of the former SAE pledges (not affiliated with the TKE group) were indicted on charges related to the death of George Desdunes ’13.

If I were an alum of TKE (which I’m not, thankfully) I’d be livid. It sets a horrible example, that even though the members of your pledge class had an indirect role in someone’s death, that you’re high enough on the social ladder that another house will come to your “rescue”. For all practical purposes, the size of this group, and their former association, will likely cause Tau Kappa Epsilon to become a hybridized version of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Arguably, that might help the house’s perceived social standing, and it provides some measure of stability, but at great expense to the house’s integrity, and it speaks volumes on how much the SAE group actually cared about their own fraternal association. It just seems ethically wrong to me.

2. Then again, being ethically wrong seems to be a running theme of the semester. I have to say, having an IFC officer mock MGLC’s step show will sexual gestures towards a large audience that included Ithaca high and middle school students, and then voting to not remove him until the associate dean “strongly advises” it and he tenders his own resignation…like really? Is the system trying to get dismantled, because honestly I can’t tell at this point.

3. last on the pieces of news to tackle, the fatal fire at 107 Cook Street. We all talk about how some of the houses in Collegetown are unsafe, but never would anyone want a tragic event such as this to happen. Argue about zoning and landlords and proper maintenance all you want, but that doesn’t change the fact that someone has lost their life just as the semester was wrapping up. As an aside, I actually knew two guys from my major who lived in this exact apartment last year, and by their accounts it wasn’t in terrible shape. But right now, what matters is that someone is gone all too soon. As a final aside, the last fatal apartment fire was on Heights Court near North Campus back in May 2006. That house was renovated, and at last check, was up for sale.

P.S. I have a backlog of entries to write; once my schedule clears up, activity on this blog should pick up.



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