Don’t Haze Me, Bro!
Posted by Oliver Renick on September 8, 2010
In a plaid-laden auditorium, University admins are met with interrogation, hisses, boos, bros, and even a Keystone reference as Greek members battle new Prohibition Policy.
In response to the University’s recent crackdown on Greek social life, Cornell fraternity members held a forum this evening to voice their concerns against the campus-wide movement to minimize alcohol abuse. With a single unanimous mission, a Greek Phalanx of speakers soon assembled against Cornell administrators Travis Apgar, Dean Kent Hubbel ’67 and Susan Murphy ’73.
The scene in Uris G01 was certainly a fratty one, with the entire auditorium filled by Greek members and lines of angry bros waiting behind police for seats to become available. What gavel-tapping IFC President Allen Miller ’11 planned as a calm, collected meeting quickly morphed into a mild hazing of the three administrators and what was labeled as their ill-conceived plan.
The proposal, spearheaded by Apgar, is designed to “amend [fraternity] recognition policies in a few simple ways,” by requiring alcohol-free rushing and pledging, as well as disallowing freshman from attending fraternity parties involving alcohol. Each objective is planned in such a way as to slowly wean the frats off of alcohol, and all changes will be fully implemented by Spring 2012. However, Apgar made it clear that the University doesn’t want to “control [the Greek system],” and that they “still need to work out details.”
While fraternity speakers were complemented with vehement applause and finger-snapping, the sometimes roundabout responses from Cornell’s administrators were often met with grumbling and hissing. The group of disgruntled Cornellians became especially lively when Dean of Students Kent Hubbell prefaced a circumventing answer by reminding the crowd of his membership in the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity.
A red-faced Hubbell laughed off the hisses and boos, and went on to remind the students that this is a “national problem,” and that the University is “faced with a set of rising expectations with regard to abuse of alcohol on campus, and we are obligated to do something. We’re not here to advocate for a dry campus or a dry Greek system.” In a stern voice, he advised fraternities that “if you want to see success of the Greek system, you should join with us.”
Regardless of the administrators’ claims, IFC members continued to demand explanations for how the number of Greek recruits would be maintained, how safety would be improved, and why fraternities were being targeted in the first place. One student asked why co-ops were ignored, claiming “an attack on the Greek system,” while Ryan Lett ’12, president of Phi Gamma Delta ‘Fiji’ asked if the university was merely trying “to move liability away from Cornell.”
Alpha Sigma Phi’s Doug Durant ’11 said that drinking “was not a keystone part of my recruitment. I see an affront on Greek traditions. I can see no other result from this besides shrinking of the Greek system.”
Murphy attempted to reassure fraternity presidents, saying “This will not result in a shrinking of the system. It’s not up to me to decide your social life on a Friday or Saturday night. All we’re doing is changing policy – not practices or habits. I take issue with the claim that frats provide the only safe place to drink.”
Although the initiative aims to maximize safety, spokesmen from the fraternities echoed sentiments that abolition of recruitment boozing would lead to more dangerous drinking environments in dorms and in Collegetown. Rohan Siddhanti ’12, president of Sigma Pi, bluntly told the panel “fraternities and sororities will adapt. We will find ways to take these kids. To Collegetown, to Turningstone… they’ll be drinking in their dorms. It’s not changing the culture – it’s not changing the roots.”
While Murphy quickly reminded Siddhanti of his own chapter’s rocky past, the latter half of the forum was a rather raucous tag-team assault on the amendments proposed to redefine the University Recognition Policy. At one point forum leader Allen Miller reminded guests to “keep this professional… to a point.” With the Fraternities’ extensive laundry list of complaints and a single unanimous voice against the new policy, one almost expected an administrator to beg, “don’t haze me, bro!”