Clearing up some misconceptions

For the past month the Student Life Committee of the Student Association Senate has considered possible methods of addressing the mounting problems with Greek-letter life on campus. After some discussion, we opted to form an ad hoc committee to constructively focus our energy. The purpose of an ad hoc committee is to investigate different issues and propose possible solutions. If the committee determines that the best solution is to leave the current system unchanged, so be it. The idea seemed logical to me.

Under the SA bylaws, the Student Life Committee is mandated to consider “student fraternal and sorority life.” The Senate is constantly criticized for not doing anything. Now, we try to address an important issue and we are being personally insulted and degraded.

Before I address some of the issues brought forth in The GW Hatchet’s Oct. 29 front-page article “SA to monitor Greek-letter groups,” let me briefly address one particular point. The statement attributed to me – “The reason that people are sitting in their rooms in Thurston Hall drinking hard liquor is because they have no party to go to” – was a paraphrase of what I said. I want to point out that this statement is an absolute misrepresentation of what I really said.

More accurately, I tried to explain that with the lack of Greek-letter parties on this campus, there is less to do socially. If people don’t want to pay the $10 to go to a bar or club, the social alternatives are minimal. Students are forced to participate in completely unsupervised activities. Perhaps, that is the reason we have seen a rise in the alcohol-related incidents in Thurston Hall this year. Now, I would like to clear up a number of the misconceptions about the Senate Greek Affairs Committee.

Firstly, while I had not contacted Interfraternity Council President Neil Smith to discuss his thoughts on the committee, I had many conversations regarding the issue with IFC Vice President Ben Kirshner. In retrospect, I should have contacted Smith and for that I apologize. However, I can assure you that if any ideas come out of this committee, the entire IFC will be notified. Please understand that the intent of this committee is not to step on anyone’s toes but to provide another perspective in addressing the issues within the Greek-letter community.

Tracie Anzaldi, coordinator of Greek affairs and spirit events, brought forth several issues. Rather than address each issue individually, I will make a general statement. Regardless of her perception, this committee does not exist to attack her or the job she has done. Few in the Greek-letter community would criticize her work with the Greek-letter organizations. I apologize if she misinterpreted my motivations with this committee.

Like Ms. Anzaldi, I am only trying to do my job, even if she feels that I am powerless. I want to represent the students, Greek-letter members and non-Greek-letter members, who elected me. I am well aware of both the University’s rules and the national risk-management policy.

I feel like a victim of sensationalism at its worst. This proclaimed “do-nothing Senate” is doing something. The Hatchet is more than welcome to express its opinions. Next time, however, I suggest that it come up with something better than criticizing me for trying to take action on an issue troubling the entire school.

-The writer is an SA undergraduate senator from the Columbian School of Arts and Sciences.

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