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February 20, 1960 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1960-02-20

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Seventieth Year

Is Affiliation Educational?

n Opinions Are Freo
tth Will PrevaW"

ddiorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.

FRATERNITY and sorority affiliation has been an issue on this
campus for many years. Every time rush begins the argument flares
Critics frequently find nothing but banality and decendance in
the system; supporters frequently counter with euphemistic statements
from prominent old grads.
The affiliate system is neither as good nor as bad as either critics
or apologists would have the public believe. The system can be de-


Con ...
Personnel Director
FRATERNITIES and sororities, consciously or not, perpetuate a myth
in their attempts to advance the affiliate cause.
The myth centers around the educational value that they have for
their members. It makes two basic points, both of which after closer
scrutiny appear to be false.
The first point concerns academic benefits for students. While
pointing to complete exam files and members with high academic
standing, affiliates further maintain (today to a lesser degree than
formerly) that a student's college education is enhanced by joining a

DAY, FEBRUARY 20, 1960


"It's Not the Way You Play the Game.. .

fended, however, in rational terms.
and it gives an opportunity for
personal growth.
IT IS NO great secret that the
University is a big place. The first
thing that affiliation does is reduce
the mass of buildings and people
into manageable size. When this
statement is made, outraged intel-
lectuals frequently shout, "Ah hal
You admit it, fraternities are nar-
rowing!" In the sense that one
does'nt live with several thousand
people, as in a quad, a fraternity is
narrowing. But realistically, no
person can have any meaningful
interaction with 1,500 or so people.
A fraternity or sorority breaks
down this crowd into a manage-
able group within which one can
have meaningful associations. The
only alternatives to affiliated living
are the quads which some people
find impersonal and serile, or the
more devastatingtnarrowness of
an apartment with only a few
other people.
* . *
IN ADDITION, fraternities help
a student find friends. In a fra-
ternity, one finds people with some
common bonds. The number of
these bonds differs from fraternity
to fraternity, but there are many
in all fraternities.
Is this narrowing? Actually, it
is the same process by which any-
one selects his friends. It is cer-
tainly true that for a junior or
senior this process is unnecessary.
He knows a large number of people
and he knows his way around
campus. He can find his own
friends. But assistance in finding
friends can be very important for
a freshman or sophomore.
* * *
THERE IS ALSO an "educa-
tional" value in an affiliate sys-
tefb. In the view of some of the
more vocal critics of the system,
an ideal fraternity should contain
all sorts of different people from
all sorts of different background.
Although this veiw ignores certain

It is a legitimate social situation
practical problems involved, there
is much merit in this suggestion.
Although fraternities and sorori-
ties do not frequently pledge
people from a wide racial, religious
and social backgrounds as many
people desire, one should not bej
misled into believing that everyone
in any given fraternity-or soror-
ity is "identical" because that is
simply not the case.
There is much diversity in a
fraternity, and living with people
who have different personalities
and viewpoints is an invaluable
experience. Living in a fraternity
or sorority involves more than
toleration of other people; one
learns to associate and cooperate
with many different types of
people. To put it somewhat over-
simply, one goes beyond learning
"tolerance" and learns coopera-
MANY OF THE above argu-
ments are more valid for fresh-
men and sophomores than for
upperclassmen, because by the
time a student has reached his
junior year he has had enough
experience to be able to follow his
own interests.
There is one experience which
,an upperclass affiliate has which
is a unique opportunity for most
students: experience in leadership.
What many non-affiliates fail to
realize is that this experience is
not confined to the few who be-
come officers.
There is a wide opportunity for
leadership on committees, through
house meetings, through guilding
some of the underclassmen, and in
assembling leadership in rush.
The affiliate system is not per-
fect and many persons are clearly
not fitted for affiliate living. Its
social value decreases as the stu-
dent becomes more familiar with
the campus, but it remains a valu-
able training ground for leader-
ship for those who wish to take
advantage of it.

... what for me?


fraternity or sorority. Generally, it
is a practice for individual houses
to vie for scholastic as well as
athletic honors.
Alumni organizations also look
with favor upon chapters which
can keep up their scholarship
standards. Some set standards be-
low which a local group is not
allowed to fall.
However, affiliates fail (as do a
great many others) to differentiate
between those able to obtain the
high marks and those able to
think. The ability to evaluate data
and to arrive at sound decisions
is as much a part of thinking as is
acquiring and assimilating knowl-,
Emphasis on, letter grades does
not necessarily develop minds, as
so many affiliates would like to
* * *
THE SECOND indicates the so-
ciological advantages of affiliation
by pointing out that "you learn
to live with people," not merely
tolerate them by joining a house.
Toleration can mean acknowledg-
ing a person's existence, but living,
affiliate, style, demands something
more. It requires an ability to
work with others and cooperate
with them to insure smooth opera-
tion of the group.
A sense of toleration can be
acquired in independent housing
but the required affiliate house
effort supposedly leads to "mutual
understanding." "You can close
your door in the dorm but you
can't be isolated in the sorority
house," it is argued.
' * * *
VIEWED superficially this argu-
ment is valid. Further investiga-
tion reveals, however, that it is a
false generalization.
The very idea of fraternities and
sororities as groups which select
their membership undermines the
validity of this assertion. For
groups which employ subjective
criteria for selection will naturally
desire those who will seemingly fit
into the house.
A rushee will most likely seek

afliliatiaon with a chapter which
contains students who share his
social views and "make him feel
at ease." In that case it is easy "to
get along" and cooperate even if
individual backgrounds differ.
IF RUSHING, through its con-
sistent small talk, fails to bring
out inconsistencies and idiosyncra-
cies, it is quite likely that some
actives and pledges will become
disillusioned after a short while.
The number of affiliates quite
eager to live outside the coopera-
tive group and the tendency of
affiliates to publically or privately
insult their "brothers" and "sis-
ters" indicates the failure of indi-
viduals to recognize probable in-
In place of sound mutual under-
standing there often develops obli-
gation to keep quiet about actual
feelings toward individuals in the
house or a desire to find some way
to move out of the group. The
responsibility to maintain stand-
ards or to work for the good of
"X" may stifile internal criticism.
But on the other hand it may not
produce a situation "where indi-
viduals learn to live together,"
they may merely learn to co-exist.
* * *
COMPLETELY happy affiliates
or very critical individuals in the
same system are in the minority.
But there is certainly a large num.
ber of those In the center who
"get along" with not too many and
tolerate many more. There is also
a strong possibility than an indi-
vidual really knows just a very few
people in his house.
It is then possible to conclude
that actually learning to live with
people never happens in a great
number of cases. There is often a
continuation of past attitudes un-
der different circumstances or
some type of eventual repection of
the fraternity or sorority.
Educational value is negligible
in such cases and affiliates fool
themselves by continuing to main-

-Daly--James Richman

* It's Whether You Win or Lose!"


... Philip Power

A FRIEND of mine tells of a professor who
has just recently joined the University fac-
ulty. It seems that he was in the Fishbowl the
other day, and while trying to dodge the clots
of students there, was knocked over by a large
St. Bernard.
This upset the professor no end, disarrang-
ing his orderly thoughts and Lord knows what
else. All in all, he's still pretty mad about the
whole thing.
With professors leaving the University in un-
fortunate numbers, it seems that the least stu-
dents could do is to keep St. Bernards and
other beasts from knocking down those few
faculty members the University is able to keep.
THINKING about the Fishbowl and Gaza
Strip (the small corridor connecting the
Fishbowl with the basement of Angell Hall)
makes me increasingly irritated at the sup-
posed planners who designed the thing. It
seems reasonable that they could have realized
that thousands of students would be trying
to get to their classes via the constricted fun-
nel between Angell Hall and the Haven-Mason
Hall complex.
. Why, I wonder, couldn't they have made the
blasted thing just a little wider?
As of now, the ,cord for the long course
during the crowded period is somewhat over
eight minutes - leaving the dashing student
about two minutes (or less, if his previous
class ran overtime) to dash up the several
flights of steps to his next class.
TODAY, the psychological after-effects of the
Fishbowl syndrome may be more responsible
for the erosion of quality at the University
than lack of funds or resignation of professors
or increase in class size.
Students, forced to go through the Fish-
bowl route, arrive at their classes out of breath,
trying to recover from the last ditch sprint
after they break free of the jam. Or they are
already on the ropes from trying to fight
through the coveys of girls which float more
or less freely through the Gaza Strip. And they
stagger into class a physical wreck.

Or they find that their necks have been per-
manently sprained from sudden twisting as
they look for friends while in conversation with
acquaintances, or as they suddenly catch sight
of one of the "guppies" (those who sit on the
side of the Fishbowl or Gaza Strip, not caring
to join in the melee in the center.)
A student in such physical shape can hardly
be expected to pay any attention in class for
the first half hour. Probably any serious think-
ing will have to wait until that evening.
pROFESSORS, it seems, suffer even more
than students. Although not joining direct-
ly in the free-for-all in the main arena, they
try to sidle along the edges, all too often run-
ning into the potted palms.
Some professors literally tremble before they
jump into the melee. Some of the more sensi-
tive ones merely pull up their coats around
their faces for protection and make the best
of it. The more hardy run outside, around the
building, and up to their offices or classrooms
by the back stairs.
All told, a tremendous number of careful
lectures, complete with gems of insight and
information, must have been permanently torn
to shreds by the psychic trauma induced by a
voyage through the Fishbowl.
AND WHAT is more irritating, the people who
make the Fishbowl only slightly less dan-
gerous than the old Roman arenas seem to
love the, whole thing. Perhaps, like most other
people, they are merely friendless and insecure
and only need companionship -- at a distance
of a few millimeters. Or perhaps they are
merely frustrated extroverts. At least they have
succeeded in frustrating others.
A friend of mine, while trying to make a
class and stalled in traffic for the usual period,
probably suffering from advanced claustro-
phobia, once saw a camel's hair coat detach
itself from the main group, raise on its toes
and bubble,
"Oooh! Just everybody's here today."
I guess so.
s Who-m?
really are. Crusading Daily staff members, who
have argued (and rightfully) against such
'wrongs' as paternalism by the University and
the current National Defense Education Act,
are apparently afraid to let students rush with-
out their annual tirade of anti-rush propa-
The rushee is apparently not old enough or
mature enough to decide for himself whether
he wants to join a fraternity or not; some
Daily staff members must do it for him.
THESE STAFF members should also consider

Ripping Good Show

WHAT MORE can be said about
Jack the Ripper, aside from
the usual preposterous legends
which have sprung up during the
past few years to confuse us all?
Who, one might ask, was Jack
the Ripper? According to the
Archives of Improbable Curiosi-
ties, to be found in any well-
stocked library, Jack the Ripper
roamed the streets of London
many years ago, knifing young wo-
men much as Richard Nixon
knives aspiring Democrats, only
in a far less subtle fashion. An-
other journal, the Annals of Rip-
ping, has it that Jack only killed
maybe five or six unfortunate
dollies, but was credited with far
more bloodshed.
Why, one might ask, was not
Sherlock Holmeshcalled out to
solve these crimes? Was he not
an equally unlikely character? For
as popular myth has it: Be they
ever so humble, there's no police
like Holmes.
But enough of speculation; the
latest solution to the ever-fascin-
ating Ripper problem (for it seems
that the real J. the R. was never
uncovered) comes to us via the
film, with an overactive imagina-
tion supplying the hitherto un-
known motives behind this Lon-
don bloodbath.
Butfirst a word from the co-
The news: France has set off
an atomic bomb; the films are
horrifying, And Dwight D.,
stumbling over an unfriendly
script, deplores nuclear (only he
can never pronounce that word)
testing. And poor Walt Disney has
filmed a Coast Guard short, com-
plete with a real-life emergency.
Previews of coming films tell
us that something called "Sink the
Bismarck" has been launched on
its way across the world of the-
atres with the usual bad taste
implicit in such undertakings. For
the opening in London, Prince
Philip was dargged from the side
of his expectant wife, and an
opening in New York called forth
a full-scale parade. Woof.
Now back to London. This "Rip-
per" is full of sombre scenes,

bristling beards, evil gluttons,
show-girls, and the whole cast of
grim characters; only the names
have been changed to protect the
guilty. Jack stalks the streets,
peeking behind stall doors (those
still attached), urging that men to
rush, and generally making him-
self obnoxious.
Jack is invariably nabbed in
all the Ripper stories, this time
by an alert American cop. And so
he must resign his position as ex-
cutive vice-president of the Rip-
per Club (as one of his descend-
ents was to do many years later)
and meet his grim end. The won-
der of it all.
Thus Jack the Ripper again
meets his doom, but one can only
sit back and await his next resur-
rection, probably at the hand of
of some other enterprising film-
In all fairness to the lovers of
ripping good times, it must be said
that this film has its share (how-
ever paltry) of suspense, claus-
trophobia, aggravation, blood,
gore, odd-types and shudders.
Given the somewhat sensational
nature of the plot, the producers
are to be congratulated fortheir
restraint in selecting only the less
bloody scenes for our entertain-
It is difficult to imagine what
might constitute a really first-
rate treatment of the Ripper
theme. Perhaps it can't be done
at all. One could hope for a more
thorough treatment of the psy-
chological implications, or maybe
even (shudder) character devel-
opment. Butnlacking these, the
best treatment might be a really
no-holds-barred reign of terror,
with ghastly spectacles and grue-
some scenes until the thrill-seek-
ers begin to wish they had stayed
This latest Ripper film is quite
deflicient in the matter of nause-
ous scenes; one can see views of
equal horror in the kitchen at the
Union almost any night.
Summing Up:.What a grim re-
view: no thesis, no support and
no summary. Just like the film.
--David Kessel

to the
Unwarranted?.. .
To the Editor:
PROFESSOR Felheim's remarks
about Dean Walter Rea and his
support of IFC rush are surprising
to say the least. He has carried his
loud outburst to Vice-President of
Student Affairs James Lewis and
has protested Rea's alignment with
the fraternity system in the ad-
vertisement that appeared in Sun-
day's Daily.
Felheim's objection (the only
one printed in The Daily) was that
Rea showed partisanship as the
Dean of Men. But is partisanship
wrong in this case? Rea's endorse-
ment, if it did anything, served to
bring more men out for rushing.
With all the talk by The Daily
and others of discrimination in
fraternities (a possible explanation
for Felheim's irritation) non-affili-
ated men should go out and in-
vestigate the matter for them-
STUDENTS should see what the
fraternities have to offer, or what
they lack; they should come to
their own decisions. This result of
Rea's support would be beneficial,
and even "educational."
As for undesirable effects, I can-
not see how a responsible Univer-
sity official could do wrong by
urging students to investigate what
their campus has to offer them.
Prof Felheim is an English
teacher and he should stick to his
studies; it is improper for him to
make charges of partisanship
against a University administra-
tor of Dean Rea's reputation with-
out fully airing his opinions on
the subject. When Rea's "fault"
seems to be a sincere desire to
stimulate campus interest, I for
one would like to know Felheim's
real motives for his unwarranted
-Kenneth Henderson, '62
Retain Loyalty Oath . .
To the Editor:
THIS LE'TTER is addressed to
the poorer students at the Uni-
versity of Michigan. Do you want
your college education paid for?
Would you compromise a piece of
paper for a good sound American
dollar? If the answer to these
questions is yes, then you and I
senator and tell him that you
want the loyalty oath and affi-
davit retained.
If we succeed in our drive to
have the loyalty oath retained,
then more colleges will refuse aid.
But will we worry about this?
Definitely not. After all, the rich
daddies who send their children
to Harvard, do not need the mon-
ey anyway. In this straight for-
ward manner, more aid will be
given to the University of Michi-
gan and you and I can go to
school. Think about it, poor stu-
dent, and write a letter to your
senator before your conscience in-
Marvin Resnikoff, Grad.


Those Who Are In

(EDITOR'S NOTE: The following
article was originally printed in
The Harvard Crimson under the
title, "The Search at Princeton for
the Cocktail Soul" It can be read
in its entirety in the Grove Press
publication, New Campus Writing,
No. 3)
IT IS THE first night of "Bicker"
at Princeton, and through the
windows glaring orangerout of a
hundred majestic black bastions,
the committees are seen as they
come calling, catching sophomores
just accidentally attired from top
to toe in immaculate tweeds, and
Exeter yearbooks displayed with
casual prominence.
"Hello, we're from Cottage."*
"Come right on in," and an in-
cohate cordial babble of welcome
as they all heartily seat them-
selves, and suddenly find a terri-
fying silence left standing.
"Uh, that looks like an old
Currier and Ives you've got up
there." (The walls, they always
start with what you've got hanging
on the walls, or with what you're
majoring in or what you did last
summer of where you're from-but
avoid that one, there's danger
AND SO IT GOES for 10 or 15,
minutes. Total strangers confront-
ing total strangers, making ner-
vous small talk with artificial
poise, watching through narrow
eyes for the wrong color of socks,
a grammatical slip or affectation,
a pun or wisecrack in questionable
taste. Then-"Well, we really must
be running along. A lot of men to
see tonight, you know."
. "Well, we've certainly enjoyed
chatting with you."
Smiling and nodding and hand-
shaking them out the door, room-
mates turn to each other with
dread or accusations, while outside
in the hall the committees rate
personalities on a grading system
from one to seven (except for Ivy,
the top, which needs only a plus
or minus)-one even reports with
decision, incredibly enough, on a
walkie-talkie; "This Is Pete calling

in for Cottage. Negative on wonks
in Patton 96. Dirty story, grubby.-
room. That's right: negative."
* * *
BICKER is the annual process
by which sophomores are chosen
for election to the unproctored,
privately owned and operated eat-
ing clubs. The college newspaper
calls it "the most important single
value-forming experience of the
average under-graduate's career at
The object of Bicker, according
to a booklet published by the clubs
themselves ("Now That You Are
Eligible"), is to discover "person
ableness in the individual" and
"congeniality of the total section."
Certain stereotypes are associ-
ated with some of the clubs which,
like all stereotypes, do not hold in
many individual instances. They
are, however, fairly reliable.
Thus, the campus "doers" or
activity men are apt to be found
in Cap and Gown or Quadrangle,
and athletes tend to turn up, ac-
cording to their inmost natures,
wither in Tiger Inn, the lair of
"the gentlemen jocks," or in Can-
non, home of "the sweaty ones."
BICKER reaches its colorful ell-
max during Open House. Seven-
thirty that Saturday evening the
entire class, bathed, brushed,
shined, combed, and shivering,
hurries through the dark night
and biting wind across the campus
to Prospect Street, where the
grounds of 16 plus clubhouses--
and the not-so-plush Prospect Co-
operative Club - stretch before
them. The luckiest ones have re-
ceived several bids, and join one
of the big five.
You stroll with anxious expecta-
tion across the broad lawn up to
the great white columns of Coloni-
al's porch. The door swings open
and you and your group (through-
out Bicker, you move in a group
of three or four-your are judged,
accepted, and perhaps rejected
collectively) are swept into the
dazzling warm uproar inside.
You feel the soft depth of the
rug beneath your feet and can see
a bright, glittering, well-groomed
haze allaround you. Up the grand
stairway, lined with upperclass-
men clapping and cheering, until
you reach the top where beaming

Who Blasi

YES, IT'S that time of year again. You can
tell by the content of this editorial page that
It is fraternity rushing time on the Michigan
As one looks over 'the traditional anti-rush
editorials and cartoons, he wonders just how
open-minded the 'idealistic' Daily staffers
[ %. fir


* by Michael Kelly

t* r.y

- - .. - -.- * ThAtI4 all I

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