Banning Greek societies
TO THE EDITOR: In 1917, my Grandpa K. graduated from Williams College.
There, he studied languages and rhetoric, played intercollegiate football and debated. He graduated summa cum laude and was in Phi Beta Kappa honors fraternity. He also became a Delta Kappa Epsilon brother.
In the early 1960s, Grandpa and other alumni petitioned that Williams drop the Greek fraternity system. They argued that with the interstate system, rise of local airports and changes they were witnessing in American culture and society, Greek fraternities were anachronistic and out of touch. They were concerned these relics could become toxic.
In 1962, Williams College “killed” its fraternity system. Soon after, rival Amherst College did the same. Over time, Colby, Bates and many more colleges followed. They have not looked back.
These colleges have managed to provide and encourage activities that promote philanthropy events, student bonds and leadership without fraternities or sororities.
I’ve witnessed through 20 years at SUNY Plattsburgh the persistent presence of toxicity that out-of-date and out-of-touch Greek societies perpetuate.
This latest Greek misadventure, the Pi Alpha Nu hazing, manifests a culture of depravity.
President Ettling’s statement of “no tolerance of hazing” and the concurrence of PAN’s faculty adviser are empty words reflecting this institution’s weak position on Greek hazing and bullying in general.
Empty words without consequential action are as toxic as silent compliance.
Here’s an opportunity for SUNY Plattsburgh to stand out, examine the relevance of Greek life and consider its extinction. Elements of “A Proud Past” obstruct the path to “A Strong Future” if they are permitted to fester and rot in the name of tradition.
Imagine what we would accomplish by draining the sludge of paddling, hazing, self-volunteered bullying and activities that demoralize human spirit and debase community.
BRYAN C. KIESER