Letter to the Editor

Crime, punishment and Greek Life

Tom Braslavsky is a friend of mine, but his column ‘Giving Greek life a chance’ (Jan. 20, pg. 4), is completely off base. These hazing infractions most likely have always existed to some extent (in some organizations, but not all), and this latest spat of embarrassing Greek-life behavior is not a recent phenomenon.

I think it is fair to say that the offending behavior probably happens all the time. Just this time the culprits were caught. Even if GW requires more comprehensive alcohol education for Greek-life members on proper alcohol policy and behavior, will it make a real difference? No.

People who want to continue these practices will continue to do so, but perhaps in a more veiled and secretive manner. This is why a “self-governance” policy is bound to fail. Offending organizations should not be given more power to self-regulate when they break rules. This kind of policy would only shield Greek life from these embarrassing moments without actually stopping it from happening, which should be the goal of the policy.

The recipe for truly safer Greek life is to make it harder and harder for the offending organizations to bury their offenses.

Braslavsky leaves this argument behind to focus on the positive impact of Greek life at GW, and the people involved in it. He has mixed up causation and correlation. People who are more likely to be involved in student life at GW join Greek life. It is highly unlikely that the Greek-life experience changed them in some marked way. Greek life at GW needs to be more highly regulated, and the students involved in these activities are not immune to rules and the consequences of breaking them.

-Jonathan Robinson is a junior majoring in political science. He is not a member of Greek life.

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