Members of the Greek-letter community gathered in the Marvin Center Monday night to ask pointed questions to leaders of University departments about student rights and responsibilities.
Students at the event addressed panelists from the Center for Alcohol and Drug Education, Student Judicial Services and the University Police Department, among others. Attendees were candid about a variety of subjects, from underage drinking to the contradictions between GW’s non-discrimination policy and the GW chapter of NROTC.
“What if the second time you are really sick, and you know that if you call EMeRG, you may be suspended?” one audience member asked, referring to the alcohol amnesty policy. “So you don’t call and something happens. Isn’t there a problem with that?”
Assistant Director of CADE Katie Bean responded, saying each case is looked at individually. She said CADE is “looking for patterns of behavior that show that the student is making numerous decisions that are unhealthy and unsafe,” and therefore a second offense may not necessarily result in suspension.
Associate Director of SJS Gabriel Slifka agreed with Bean.
“We want you to have a good environment here on campus that is safe, and so that every single person is OK the next day,” Slifka said. “But to tell you the truth, you’re the ones that are the decision makers, because we can only put out so much education and only offer the opportunities for you to make those decisions… You need to decide, as individuals, as an organization, and as a community what you are going to allow on our campus.”
Sigma Kappa and Phi Kappa Psi sponsored the event, and many of the attendees were new members of Greek-letter organizations. Slifka addressed hazing policies on campus, and said GW enforces a strict “no tolerance” policy toward hazing.
“As a new member you have a responsibility that you do not carry on any traditions that may be negative, because hazing is cyclical,” Slifka said.
The most controversial question of the night was posed to the representative from the LGBT Resource Center.
A student in the audience asked, “If the University bans hazing, why does the ROTC program not have to abide by this rule in regards to being gay or lesbian?”
Last year, a student was removed from GW’s Navy Reserve Officers’ Training Corps for being gay.
“That is definitely a sticky subject,” replied Josh Bartell, the resource center’s assistant program coordinator. “It is the policy of the University to allow the U.S. military to follow their own guidelines, and that’s the stance the University has on that, unfortunately.”
Sophomore Daniel Reef, one of the event’s organizers and recruitment chair for Phi Kappa Psi, said his fraternity and Sigma Kappa geared the event toward new members of Greek-letter organizations, most of whom are freshmen and sophomores who may not be fully versed in their rights on campus.
“We want to promote Greek life in general as well as downplay some of the negative connotations [associated with it], hopefully building a better connection between the administration and Greek life as well as the students in general,” Reef said.
Junior Betsy Luxenberg, president of Sigma Kappa, echoed Reef’s sentiments.
“We want to give them all the resources and information possible,” Luxenberg said, referring to members of the Greek-letter community.