After four years at Lawrence, including two living in a single on the Greek Quadrangle, I find myself torn and hurt by the continuing discussions regarding the residential status of the Greek System here. It seems that emotions and legal obfuscation have managed to undermine collegial goodwill and an attempt to create a better academic community. On Wednesday, President Warch issued yet another diatribe describing his desire to increase housing equity on campus through a restructuring of the Fraternity System.
It is extremely difficult for me to understand how anyone could describe the Greek System as a privileged few. Perhaps it is a privilege to live in a building that is free of the infamous Sage Hall cockroaches, or has two stairways in case of fire as opposed to the single exit in Brokaw Hall. Living in a clean, safe environment should not be considered a privilege, but a necessity as Lawrence competes against other similar institutions.
The fact of the matter is that for several decades our university has under-invested in support facilities in relation to our peer institutions. For some time we were unable to afford a necessary level of investment, but it remains puzzling that we can spend nearly a million dollars renovating the president’s house while students are forced to live in Spartan conditions.
The one privilege that the Greeks do enjoy—separate housing—is not unlike that experienced by smaller student groups with long standing campus residences, like ORC and the Co-op. The school needs to insure that the higher percentage of single rooms in fraternity houses is mitigated through a higher percentage of single units in new residence halls. It is extremely worrisome that in many plans for the recently approved residence hall, nary a single makes the blueprint.
Worrisome likewise is the current situation of the Greek system on campus. Aside from providing all-campus social events, the Fraternities have devolved into base organizations with high ideals and low expectations with no substantive benefit to anyone. It is painful to attend a service council meeting and see not a single member from the Quad. I feel a disdainful view toward academic pursuits and xenophobia incongruous with the Greek ideals.
The Beta control of LUCC and the Phi Tau reclusiveness are legendary. The Phi Delt apathy and Delt chicanery define other houses. And how many freshmen have actually heard of the Sig Eps? It is no surprise that the administration no longer feels that Greeks have a place on campus.
I find myself a senior on the sidelines of this great conflict. It probably makes sense for me to remain a Greek, if only to avoid the unhealthy food served to the remainder of the student body. The administration and Greeks need to be honest with each other to reach any sort of amicable resolution. Otherwise I fear that we may create another Northern Ireland or Palestine in Appleton.