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Greek organizations need to take some responsibility

The Nov. 9 issue of The Signal reported in “Cop Shop” that Campus Police, “observed a male student crawling across Metzger Drive.” Apparently, when the officers questioned the student, he said that he “drank too much beer at the Sigma Pi house.”

Few things rile me up about this campus, but events like this should not be allowed to pass under the radar.

A student reduced to crawling home because Sigma Pi allowed him to drink too much alcohol is a disgrace to our campus and community at large.

I am willing to bet that there are few students at the College that have neither attended a party at one of the off-campus fraternity or sorority houses, nor heard about the debauchery that occasionally takes place.

Many of you might be nodding your heads saying, “So what? We are in college and we are adults. If some freshman drinks too much, well that’s his problem.”

No, it is not only his problem, but a much greater dilemma that faces the entire College community. Why should traditional fraternities and sororities exist and be allowed to create an environment where a student feels that it is acceptable to drink too much alcohol?

“Greek” organizations are directly affiliated with this institution and I believe their behavior, whether on or off-campus, reflects negatively upon the entire College.

For all of its lofty rhetoric, the Inter-Greek Council (IGC) constitution’s mission statement seems to be lacking in a few areas. Nowhere does this statement mention that the Greek organization must assume responsibility for its actions or the repercussions of its parties.

Additionally, the council itself does not even maintain the authority to reprimand an organization for acting inappropriately.

Ostensibly, fraternities should serve a purpose, but at our College, they are required to do very little. I stress “required” because maintaining a minimum for community service has always dumbfounded me. Of course some Greeks, such as Chi Upsilon Sigma, go above and beyond the philanthropy requirement, but this does not appear to be the case for all Greek organizations.

Philanthropy is a great thing, and I wish I had more time to take part in campus endeavors to help our local and global community. According to Section III B 4-G of the IGC constitution, to maintain “active status,” all fraternities and sororities must “participate in at least one community service project or philanthropy event per semester.”

That’s fantastic, but why does the “strong leadership” and commitment to “the betterment of the community” present at a philanthropic event, and mentioned specifically in the mission statement, evaporate at an off-campus party?

Many Greeks may also feel that the unity they create among themselves trumps any argument against them.

To this I refer to the 150-plus campus (non-Greek associated) organizations at the College that I’m sure would love the extra participation and campus unity that would be created if Greek life did not exist.

These organizations provide the same unity that a Greek organization might, but most do not promote drinking in the same manner that Greeks do; they foster a community, rather than simply get it drunk.

So while Greek life on campus is a disgrace, I do not believe in criticizing something without giving a suggestion to fix the problem.

Perhaps IGC can amend its weak constitution and provide for judicial reviews of Greek organizations that have out-of-control parties such as the one our sick friend from the Nov. 9 “Cop Shop” attended.

Or perhaps the college itself, via Campus Police, or a better partnership with Ewing and Lawrenceville Police, can crack down on a problem that it knows to exist.

In any case, Greek life needs to get its act together before the entire community gets out of hand.

Information from – The Signal, “Cop Shop.” Nov. 9, 2005, cgi.tcnj.edu/~igc/index.php,tcnj.edu/~cus/CusWeb/tcnj.edu/%7Estuactiv/studentorg.php


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