The College of William and Mary is currently in the process of planning a new housing complex for the fraternities, likely to be built in the next few years. However, the idea that the fraternities should get new housing is preposterous. If precedent is any indication, allotting new housing for them would be a waste of money. It is unlikely that the current fraternity complex will ever stop reeking of beer and sweat due to fraternity members’ reckless and irresponsible behavior. The new complex would look several years older within a year. Why should students who are not members of fraternities have to live in the trashed residences while the very students who have damaged them over the years receive brand new housing? If fraternities remain as on-campus housing, it would be unfair for upperclassmen with the latest time slots in the housing selection process, or for incoming freshmen to have to live in them.
Special interest housing can be a great experience. The language houses are a great example, because students have the opportunity to practice a new language, learn about a different culture and interact with people from that culture. The language houses provide a wonderful way for students to become more well-rounded. For this program, the residence component is an integral part of the experience. However, fraternities do not necessarily need to live together in order to fulfill their goals, which are to develop close relationships with each other and to raise money for charity. Neither of these activities necessarily requires a residence component. Take Alpha Phi Omega, the service fraternity, as an example. People easily form close friendships and contribute thousands of hours of service without living in the same dormitory. Perhaps the need to have fraternity housing at all should be reconsidered.
However, if fraternity housing at the College is continued, the residences may be better maintained if there are better enforced regulations. Sorority housing, for example, has specific rules enforced by the national representatives. Representatives stay in the sorority houses for an extended period of time, which encourages the sisters to take better care of the residences. Perhaps if there were maintenance regulations in place that were better enforced, the fraternity members would be more encouraged to keep the residences clean.
In short, special interest housing for the fraternities should be reconsidered, or more effective maintenance regulations should be developed. It is unfair for students who have not done damage to the units to be forced to live in them. Having housing for specific organizations can be beneficial for individuals and the rest of the community. However, if said organizations are falling short of maintaining their residences, they should accept the consequences. It is undeniable that the current state of fraternity housing is sub-standard. The College must address the issue one way or another, because maintaining the status quo is unacceptable for fraternity members living in the units, as well as for the rest of the student community that could potentially have to live in them.