Lawrence faculty members have drafted a statement that offers “unwavering support” for the actions of the University administration and board of trustees regarding the new formal group housing policy.The Nov. 30 statement came shortly after a series of protests staged by the Lawrence Fraternity Alliance in opposition to the decision that will make the quadrangle housing, previously reserved solely for the fraternities, open to any qualifying formal group as of the beginning of the 2002-2003 academic year.
The statement, drafted by the faculty committee on university governance, came at the suggestion of several faculty members, according to Beth De Stasio, chair of the committee.
The committee currently consists of six elected members: De Stasio, Paul Cohen, Gretchen Revie, Nancy Wall, Gene Biringer, and Brian Rosenberg as an ex officio member.
At the time, the faculty as a whole had never issued an official position or even discussed the matter, according to De Stasio. The faculty committee on university governance thus decided to draft a statement “supporting the work of the task force… and expressing our hope that the current fraternities would agree that housing allocation should be more equitable.”
Once the first version of the statement was written, all faculty members were encouraged to read it and offer suggestions for improvement. The committee then incorporated feedback from participating faculty members into the statement. The final version of the resolution was voted on at the Nov. 30 faculty meeting. The vote was unanimously in favor of the statement, except for one dissenting vote.
Though the potential impact of the statement was uncertain, the committee hoped to deliver a message to Lawrence students and alumni. According to De Stasio, they wished to portray “that the faculty feel strongly that university-owned housing units should be available to all students wishing to live in formal groups and, further, that we feel that the fraternities are an important part of LU campus life and they should continue to be so.”
Bill Haas, president of Beta Theta Pi fraternity, stated that he felt the resolution was the faculty’s opinion and that they are entitled to it. Therefore, LFA is not planning any formal response to the resolution at this point.
Dane Tice, president of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity, had little reaction to the statement. He did, however, seem confident that the fraternities are all working within the new formal group housing plan and that the faculty’s hopes are being met.
November 30, 2001
The Lawrence faculty affirms its unwavering support for the recent efforts of the Board of Trustees and the college administration regarding the equitable distribution of student housing at Lawrence. In so doing, we underscore two fundamental points made in the president’s recent letter to the community: 1) that the position of the college initially emerged from the recommendations of the Task Force on Residential Life, a committee consisting of faculty members, trustees, and students (including fraternity members) and thereafter upheld by the Trustees; and 2) that—as at least one fraternity has publicly recognized—neither the trustees nor the president seeks to exclude Greek societies from campus life. Indeed, while we recognize their right to protest the current policy, we sincerely hope that the fraternities will ultimately set aside their sense of corporate grievance and resume their place, alongside other campus groups, as vital participants in the community as a whole.