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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Hartford Courant's anti-Greek rant is a Disgrace

If The Hartford Courant actually
did its homework, it might be surprised
to learn that historically the Greek
Community and Alumni have made
many positive contributions
to the University of Connecticut
This morning I read this outrageous article propagated on Twitter by Hartford Courant columnist Carolyn Lumsden (I'm not sure if she actually wrote the article because it's not attributed to any one specific author). It's no surprise that The Hartford Courant is among those leading the charge to dissolve ties between the Greek Community and the University of Connecticut.  For according to the unholy scripture set forth in the loony land of liberal theology, organizations like 'the Greeks' have no place in our 21st century PC society. This is mostly because Greek organizations maintain the right to discriminate (i.e define or deny membership) based on subjective reasons, or other reasons which include and aren't limited to classifications like gender, age and even race. (To be clear, when I mention 'race' I'm referring specifically to the charter of some black cultural fraternities and sororities which by design grant admission elusively to African-American students; a standard - which by the way - I support given their unique role, ritual, and cultural history; one that they should certainly be proud of).  I'm also willing to guess that anyone who contributed to this editorial was probably never part of a Greek organization or else they wouldn't have written such a lopsided story which draws the unreasonable conclusion that UConn should take steps to sever ties with Greek life based on a few recent acts of student buffoonery.

I find that most of the people who who are critical of Greek fraternities and sororities have never been a member of a Greek fraternity or sorority, but these so-called experts seem to be quite vocal in expressing their negative opinions about our members, or how our organizations work; they characterize our members - especially the men - as chauvinist, elitist, segregationists, rich, or worse - hate-mongering racists who conspire together for the sole purpose of arranging large keg parties in order to perform widespread campus mischief and mayhem, and of course - plot to trap and intoxicate innocent women and engage in date rape, or other morally disgraceful acts. And what they say about Sorority members is even worse from a stereotypical point of view which I find particularly odd coming out of the mouths of many feminists - who, although they deny it, are elitists in their own right. Of course, all of this mis-characterization of Greek members and organizations is pure nonsense and farthest from the truth.

I'm in good company with Rosa Parks,
Pope John Paul II, and Michael Jordan

While socializing and making new friends on a typically large, and sometimes intimidating college campus is probably the main reason one would want to seek Greek membership, there are plenty of other reasons why one joins a social fraternity - sports, hobbies, charity work, leadership training, alumni networking, and making general connections which last far beyond the typical four or five year college stint.  Most students don't go to college with the intention of joining a fraternity.  Indeed, in my own example, I started hanging around with a group of guys around campus, and after a semester received a bid to join.  Figuring that the guys were good natured, and it expanded my social networking (this predates the age of Facebook and Twitter), and that I should probably start kicking in for some of the beer I was drinking at 'the house', I joined. And to this day, we still keep in touch, and remain very close buddies with a few guys who's friendships I value immensely.

One of the reasons I'm particularly outraged by this article is that it paints an inaccurate depiction of the role that the Greek Community plays on campus, particularly at UConn.  Unbeknownst to most people, individual fraternity and sorority members (as well as each Greek chapter, cumulatively) are required to maintain a suitable grade point average (often 2.3) to remain active on campus.  Furthermore, each chapter is mandated by their National chapter to perform works of public service on campus as well as in the local community and report back results to their National chapter.  During my four years, my Greek Chapter solicited gifts from toy stores and orchestrated a 60-70 child Christmas Party in a community center in Willimantic. Trust me, the feeling of seeing Santa Claus pass out gifts while whispering "Feliz Navidad" to each smiling child was worth far more to us than an overflowing red cup of keg-poured Schlitz beer on a Thursday night.  We made a difference in our community.  And it mattered!

Not bad stats!

The Hartford Courant, which - silly as it seems - claims to be fair in its reporting should take the time to reach out to the UConn Office of Greek and Sorority Life and ask the current Greek Advisor about the kinds of contributions which Fraternities and Sororities make on Campus before merely casting us out with the devil for what seems to be purely ideological reasons.  Moreover, UConn is well supported by Greek Alumni Organizations which contribute both time and dollars to University projects, and programs.  Based upon the reasons, I listed earlier - I'm sure The Hartford Courant would like to see UConn flourish without the benefit of fraternal organizations.  But for the time being, it does, and the truth is and whether the media likes it or not - UConn is better off for it.

As far as The Courant's far-fetched notion that Greek organizations have brought ambulances to campuses far too often is a tad bit outrageous to be made part of their sensationalized argument to ban Fraternities at UConn, isn't it?  And how many ambulances have gone to the hundreds of college campuses all over the country for sports-related activities, politically-sponsored clashes, race riots, random shooting sprees, or non-Greek related parties?  And how many people were sent to the hospital as a result of attending a UConn Greek-sponsored party last year?  Or the last twenty years? Or how many people have died resulting from a UConn Greek Party?  The answer might surprise you - it's zero!  A lot of things might happen.  Which is always the excuse to rationalize the argument to tighten the reigns around people, or cast out organizations you don't like - I mean, for the insane, that is.

And if you're out to blame alcohol for every crime that's committed - sure, then work to reduce the drinking age so it's not such a novelty for kids who've been taught alcohol is taboo by rules which exceed those found in most civilized democracies.  Then college wouldn't become the festival of drinking its become for ALL STUDENTS, whether they are members of fraternities or not.  If schools are deemed "party school", its not because of Greek organizations, it's because the University in question has a lax policy on policing underage drinking.

Whatever happened to journalistic integrity where you draw conclusions based on relevant facts?  How is "Let's do away with Greek organizations at UConn - because of what happened at Trinity or Bowdoin, or Middlebury" even be considered a rational argument?  But if I tell you that the state economy in Texas is growing because of reduced taxes and regulation, would the editors at The Courant rush out to push for that kind of pro-business policy here?  Of course not!  Because it's all about the perceived ideology, and social engineering, and not about relevant facts.

And if you want to go down the road and talk about exclusion and anachronisms, we can do that too.  And based on the editors definitions we should also look to ban the African American Cultural Center, the Indian Cultural Group, the Bisexual, Gay and Lesbian Group, the Latin-American Group, the Woman's Center or many of the other hyphenated groups which exist on Campus, and consume office space free of charge in the Student Union, or elsewhere which are all bastions of exclusion which the editors at The Hartford Courant are all to happy to hypocritically dismiss as merely a cultural organizations dedicated to promoting tolerance and cultural awareness under the banner of organized segregation.

And lastly, let's talk about money.  The Courant argues that it takes courage to ban fraternities and sororities because of the financial dependency Universities have come to have on their Greek-Alumni.  So in light of UConn screaming for more funding every legislative session, do you think it's sound fiscal policy to antagonize those who help to selflessly contribute to offset the bottom line?  Do the editors at The Hartford Courant live in houses with no windows?  Sometimes you have to really wonder.

At the end of the day, it's the same old liberal argument which seeks to control thought, association, and assembly.  These are the same people who fight viciously for individual rights for special interest groups, but can't tolerate a group of 19-year old men (or women) pooling their money to room, drink beer, and run a campus clean up operation.  It's high time that the editors at The Hartford Courant get over themselves.  And focus on more important things like why a one-Party system of Democrats has run Connecticut's economy into the ground.

Good Grief!



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