Greek life revisited

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February 5, 2010

1:07 AM

Let’s face it: The state of Greek life at the College of William and Mary is far from perfect. From housing issues to an unfortunately singular focus on alcohol consumption, a range of problems prevent fraternities and sororities from realizing some of their varied and lofty aims. The CAP report’s recommendations, released this week, ranged from the frivolous to the direly needed, and now the administration must work to separate the wheat from the chaff to make positive changes that will help create a better environment for Greek life now and into the future.

The 25-page assessment was expansive and honest. It frankly addressed issues like alcohol, but not in a way that derided all drinking. For instance, it has long been a problem that alcohol enforcement varies between Student Affairs, Residence Life and the Campus Police, making it very unclear where the line is drawn. For students, it is great that this message is finally being heard.

As far as College policy is concerned, there were two other major areas of focus: fraternity housing and the status of Greek organizations on campus with respect to the College. Since the need for new fraternity housing is self-evident and College President Taylor Reveley has begun taking steps toward the creation of a new Greek village, we will focus on the second.

In the College’s eyes, all student groups — from a movie club to a fraternity — are created equal. The needs of a Greek organization differ sharply than those of a standard club. The College has already created Greek Life positions. The report says that it should also establish a committee with the mandate to recommend changes to College policy. We endorse this suggestion, with some reservation. The College has been very effective at allowing fraternities and sororities to maintain their independence over the years. As a result, the community is fragmented; organizations like the Inter-Sorority Council and the Council for Fraternity Affairs are somewhat hobbled as a result. Going forward, the College should do what it can to give the nature of Greek life more frank recognition. More centralized cohesion should allow for a more effective implementation of beneficial policies overall.

Positive change to the College’s Greek life will not happen overnight. However, change is certainly within reach and the Greek community isn’t going anywhere. We should get started.

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