Response to “Frat Boys Convert”

in Response from Reader/# 9.1/Blog
from Demetri Karanikos ’09

I just finished reading the Statler & Waldorf article titled “Frat Boys Convert” after its content was brought to my attention, and the word that came to mind was, simply, ignorance. To say I was insulted by the article would be an understatement.

It is clear the author is very unaware of what fraternities and greek life are about. First, I can tell you that the establishment of a physical “headquarters” of a chapter is an unfathomable leap forward for that chapter and its brothers. It provides a working/living environment that has become the cornerstone of “greek life,” it increases fiscal responsibility, by infusing its members with useful life skills, and provides a place of such pride in which no physical establishment can compare, to which alumni will return for years. Also, make no mistake, attacking a chapter’s physical establishment is just as offensive as attacking one’s chapter. The two are not separable points.

Secondly, if you believe that all greeks are about is drinking and sin you clearly are not a part of greek life. Last year the greeks of this campus gave thousands of hours of community service. Additionally, their efforts resulted in over $25,000 towards philanthropic endeavors. I have spoken before students, parents, and administration on the virtues of greek life, and I am never at a loss for words.

Lastly, and most personally offensive to me, are your comments about 15th Street houses. I am a very proud brother of Tau Epsilon Phi, one of those “15th Street houses.” To say that we cannot maintain our house is so beyond offensive, you cannot even imagine. Every single brother of my house—including myself—returned one week prior to the start of school to spend a 40-hour work week of manual labor to fix up our house for the school year, along with countless other houses. Perhaps you would appreciate our efforts more if we had increased fiscal resources, but, as I am sure you are aware, college students aren’t the most affluent members of society. So considering the meager budgets houses have to maintain large dormitories, I think we all do a damn good job with all the work we put in.

I would like to see you produce a non-greek willing to cut their summer a week early to hammer, paint, and sweat to fix up their room for the next year. If that is not pride in your house, if that motivation won’t keep this church standing, then I have no idea what will.

Before I go on and on, let me just say it has been my displeasure to read your article aimed at swaying public opinion against a well-meaning fraternity (just like the other 30 on campus) and I regret that you have even begun to form such a view of greek life and houses because of the ignorance of an outsider’s view. I just hope that you hold your tongue in the future from judging fraternities before you have any semblance of a good idea of what goes into running a house, a chapter, a brotherhood.