Staff Editorial: For fraternity settlement, the devil may be in the details

Staff Editorial

Resolution?This last week, the housing dispute between Lawrence University and four fraternity chapters was finally resolved. While we are pleased to hear that the legal battle is over, there are several questions about the ramifications of this resolution that should concern every Lawrence student.

The Joint Statement released by the university and the fraternities clearly states that fraternities will now be governed under the university’s Formal Group Housing process, but how this lawsuit will change Formal Group Housing (FGH) as we know it remains quite unclear. “Certain protections” and “provisions” have been made for fraternities “under specified circumstances that might arise in the future,” but what these provisions are – and what circumstances could potentially alter the FGH process, and hence affect every student – remain entirely unknown.

Furthermore, it remains unclear how the university and the fraternities will be held accountable for the proper use of the newly “designated funds in the university’s endowment.” To whom, and by what process, will the endowment-funded scholarships and program funds be awarded? Will fraternity members be eligible for and receive university-funded scholarships solely because of their affiliation? The extent to which this resolution is “equitable and fair for all students” remains to be seen.

We are also of the opinion that LUCC should take action to bring FGH under its jurisdiction. During the past two years, the university administration has been reluctant to relinquish its control of FGH because of the conflict between the university and the fraternities. Now that the legal dispute has ended, we are optimistic that the university administration will follow through with its promise and allow FGH to be governed by students.

It is very possible that this resolution will work to the benefit of all students, and we are naturally pleased that our fraternity peers are satisfied with the immediate result; but in our opinion, we should suppress the urge to adopt a “spirit of celebration” until we better know this resolution’s impact upon the student body as a whole.