Much to the dismay of fratboys everywhere, Cornell’s Greek system came under attack this August when the administration announced its desire to rework the University’s fraternity system. Associate Dean of Students for Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Travis Apgar lead the Big Fat Greek Crackdown that was met with vehement opposition by Cornellians. Animosity brewed and students protested that Cornell officials were out of touch with students’ social life.
On August 25, The Daily Sun ran the first article detailing the possible restructuring of the Greek system. The change that received the most attention was the claim that by 2012-2013, freshmen would be barred from attending open frat parties with alcohol. Rushing processes would be without alcohol, and frat-sorority mixers would be eliminated during the pledging process. Dennis gave some analysis on the announcement, highlighting points that would be echoed throughout the debate that would ensue over the following months.
The demand for weekend boozing is not going anywhere, but once freshman are barred from attending open frat parties, there’s going to be a big discrepancy between supply and demand. Think about it: on a given night early in the semester, 500-1000 freshmen (maybe more) will now be looking for a new outlet for boozing. Where will they all go?…
…There are a couple of possible sources of supply: dorm rooms, Collegetown, the woods behind Jessup? Collegetown seems like the most likely destination for the freshmen swarms, but this presents a new problem
Freshman looking for alcohol in less safe locations proved to be the most common argument against the new policies. When the IFC hosted a forum on August 8th with University officials, fraternity representatives repeatedly tried to convince Apgar, VP Susan Murphy ’73, and Dean of Students Kent Hubbel ’67 that they were putting students in danger. With IFC President Allen Miller ’11 leading the discussion, things got heated pretty fast. Frat bros lined up out the doors in a packed Uris basement auditorium to air their grievances with the panel. Boos and hisses flew, and it was generally kinda embarrassing from an outsider’s perspective. But Hubbel, disgraced Alpha Delt alumnus, and his team held firm.
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,” he said. Then gave advised the fraternities that “if you want to see success of the Greek system, you should join with us.”
Later that night, President Vince Andrews ’11 – Phi Gamma Delta member – and his Student Assembly wrote a letter to Dean Hubbel expressing their anger over the University’s lack of communication with student government about the decision.
All of the forums and gripes proved to be in vain. The Board of Trustees reviewed the proposed policies on October 28th and approved. In yet another exhibition of futility, students’ voices and the Student Assembly were overrun by administrative power. Ripples from the conflict reached other Ivy League schools, where students braced for the possibility of the same policies being enacted at their Universities. In September Harvard students called Cornell admins dangerous, and Princeton admins hinted at a copy-cat policy.
As we said then, hopefully they’ll wait until 2012 to see the effects of 2010′s epic Prohibition Policy.