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January 17, 1984 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-01-17

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Page 4

Tuesday, January 17, 1984

Getting to ki
sity undergraduates between 1980 and
By Mike Buhler 1983. But that still leaves a number of
people in the dark on rush-how it
Sure, fraternity rush is just an excuse works and if it is really as terrible as
for a week's worth of getting drunk. others say it is. Believe me, it is not.
Not really, but I had a sudden impulse Animal House, that fine expose on
to say that. Actually, only a negligible fraternities, was accurate in its por-
amount of liquor is consumed on this trayal of the extremes of fraternity life
campus during rush, because nobody and rush. Most houses fit somewhere in
wants drunk rushees ambling about: between Omega and Delta. In all my
and actives, well they try to attend a rushes, I have never met anyone by the
class or two here and there. After some name of Jugdish. Besides, no house I
prefatory remarks, I'd like to clear up have been through had a sofa for the
some old misconceptions about rush, Couch Potatoes. Many have back
and perhaps make some new ones. doors, but they are not used. Rushees
Anyone the least bit aware knows are treated with a great amount of
that this week is rush. There are ads in respect. Sure, there are many guys
the Daily, the campus is plastered with that may not fit into one house or
handbills, and the Diag has numerous another, but the diversity at this
boards and banners. You can't help but University has a house for everyone. It
notice the banners, because this time is the rushee's obligation to visit many
around fraternity men are trying of them, and find the one, if any, that is
something new - active advertising. right for him.
Originally the banners just flopped in Misconceptions or not, nobody can
the wind and stated their message. generalize about what it is like to live in
Now, if you aren't careful, the whole any house in any given year. With the
banner will swoop down and klonk you constant change-over in membership,
in the head. Truly active advertising, the living environments continually
that system. shift. Some houses could be termed
Why this sudden inundation? To quiet, and others noisy, but beyond
recruit new members. I see the Greeks that generalizations are not easily
as the largest un-represented minority made.
on campus, something the membership PLEDGING is the time to find out
drive is attempting to change. Every what a house's true.colors are. Any
year more and more men and women man who accepts a bid is in a no-
on campus join these organization, and obligations utopia to see if he really
at the current rate, the minority status likes a fraternity, while the members,
may soon-disappear. Rush is a formal too, get to make sure he will be comfor-
time to meet new people, see the table in the house. What can be so
houses, and figure out .whether or not terrible about that? The guy has ex-
the Greek system is for you. pressed interest in a house, the house
THE NUMBERS in recent years in- has expressed interest in him by exten-
dicate that about 30 to 40 percent of you ding a bid, and the two entities, pledges
have rushed, and that membership has and actives, get a few months of trial
grown from 8 to 15 percent of Univer- membership.

now you at fraternit)

The Michigan Daily
r rush
to asking "What is your favorite flavor=
of ice cream" or "do you 'think that
Willy Wonka was exploiting the Umpa
Lumpas?" Answers are very unpredic
table, and the last two give great in
sight into one's sense of humor. a
I'M CONVINCED, though, that the
worst thing is the constant shaking of
hands. Some guys altogether ignore an
extended palm; several will try to rip
your arm right off; and a select group
will give you the Dead Fish. It is iii
possible to anticipate who will do it, lt
all of a sudden you offer a hearty grip
and instead reel in something soft a-
slimy. If anything can make you recoiTh
it is that Dead Fish-just limp and sC'
ting there. Dead Fish don't get rigor
mortis; they kind of puff up a little and
float in your hand. And naturally I'd
like to throw that fish back into the
stream, but I can't because the guy who
owns it appears to be alive, and he's a
guest. So what do you do? Just suffer
through it.
See, there is a bit of risk on all fronts:
The rushee is concerned with his
presentation, as is the active. But the
active has so many more concerns: He
must get people into his house, remem-
ber several hundred names, and hot
flinch at a Dead Fish. The rushee,
when not impressed, can leave at any
time. But the actives, who live there;
have to stay and shake hands I sups
pose that is wh'at the active badners are
designed to knock out:the Dead Fish.
Buhler is a regular contributor, to
the Opinion page.

Daily Photo by SCOTT ZOLTON
Fraternity banners dot the diag in an active attempt to encourage participation in rush week. In addition, they serve to
klonk the Dead Fish on the head.

Okay, so sometimes the pledges have
to do things, like answer the phone and
work on the house. None of this is very
demanding, and it is a good opportunity
to meet all of the members in a variety
of situations. But I feel that a pledge
should learn how to mix a proper gin
and tonic, so if I entertain one or
several, I like to give them reign over,

the bar. Not that I drink with pledges*
all the time, but we have been known to
kick back on a Friday afternoon and
shoot the, uh, breeze for a while. Sud-
denly I'm talking about pledging, when
I should talk about rush.
The worst thing for a rushee, as I
recall, is walking through the door of a
fraternity, and meeting the guys in that

house for the first time. It takes a lot of
self-assurance and an open mind,
because one can't know who they are
going to meet.
The same holds true for the actives.
You have to ask, over and over, the
same mundane questions, like "where
are you from" and "what are you
studying?" Sometimes, impulse leads

r -_ . ____--___

ie a dtgant fa l
Edited and managed by students ot The University of Michigan

Vol. XCIV-No.,88

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

TqE 9E=R--ToTQ MY &rzeI


AND 1- SoyT

ot: COURSE, 'you LOSE

s .

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial'Board
The wrong (gin and) tonic

_ .. ..._ 4.
R s y

adult's first opportunity to make
decisions about everything from what
time to go to bed to how nuch to study
independent of parental influence. It
is, for most students, their first time
away from home. But the University's
Housing Office apparently wants to
keep the "kids" from making wrong
choices in at least one aspect of college
life - alcohol. The new policy on
alcohol consumption in dormitories is
an inappropriate response to a
problem --alcohol abuse - from an
institution that is supposed to educate
students, not protect them from 'the
evils of the world.
The new policy,. circulated to all
dorm staff members by Associate
Housing Director John Heidke, attem-
pts to clamp down on drinking by,
among other restrictions, banning the
use of house council funds to buy
alcohol, preventing mentioning alcohol
in advertisements for parties, and
requiring that each dorm party be
registered with the proper staff mem-
ber. The new rules replace a more
reasonable three sentence statement
that required residents to obey
Michigan law and refrain from
drinking in public areas of dorms.
Heidke claims the new policy is "not
a major change" in policy, leaves less
room for misinterpretation, and will
lead to a "support network for non-
drinkers." Heidke and other proponen-

ts of the plan also expect to see a drop
in vandalism and alcohol abuse.
But the new rules will not accom-
plish any of that. They will not get
students to reevaluate their drinking
habits.. Only a program of education
and information could get students to
make more responsible decisions
about alcohol. This type of educational
program has been conspicuously absent
from University life. The new
guidelines don't change that.
If the rules are enforced, students
will find ways around them - going to
bars, open parties, or friends' houses.
The consequences of residents leaving
the dorm to drink (and possibly drive)
are frightening. It is also quite possible
that residents returning from a bar
could be more prone to unruly
behavior than if they stayed in the
dorm with 100 peers to watch them.
The more explicit policy also could
increase tension between residence
hall staff and residents, making
resident advisors more like police of-
ficers than student advisors. University
students are at an age when they don't
need to be told what not to do. They
need to learn by experience; some of
those experiences are going to be bad.
RAs, and administrators, should be
guides and educators, not .police of-
ficers and parents.
Housing officials should stop trying
to raise the University's "children"
and start teaching its students.

Oh, the wonders of Greek


To the Daily:
What the hell is wrong with the
people on this campus? I walk
through the diag, and
everywhere I see vandalized rush
banners. I walk through the fish-
bowl, and I see people tearing
down rush posters. "Hey, be cool
guys, that takes a lot of time," I
might say, but the typical
response is either "fuck off frat
asshole," or "damn frats are all
assholes." What the hell is wrong
with these people?
Let's forget for a moment that
these are probably the same
people who would scream bloody
murder if any fraternity member
crossed the street the wrong way,
and address the problem as it
stands: Why do people have so
much against the Greek system?
Probably because they don't
know much (if anything) about it.
Fraternities and sororities
have existed on this campus
almost as long as the campus it-
self. Only in the last few decades
have they undergone such brutal
attack. Since fraternities are
traditionally conservative, they
stick out on a "liberal" campus
like U of M. Many student groups
(especially the Daily) seem con-
tent to take a few isolated events
and project them over the entire
Greek system. Come on people,
this isn't Animal House! Frater-
nities and sororities offer many
things-an improved social life, a
good academic environment,
greek sporting events and so
on-to the potential rushee. Not
every frat is right for every
rushee, and in fact some may not
find the Greek system to their
liking. But if the potential rushee

fraternity and they pile everyone
into the same group. Tell these
same people that they are prac-
ticing prejudice and they get very
defensive, because that's what
they are actually doing. Some
people, it seems, are just looking
for a whipping boy, and find the
Greek system to be sufficient for
their purposes. Maybe they read
the Daily and have been brain-
washed by its one-sided reporting
of Greek activities on this cam-
pus. For whatever reason, most
of their arguments are pretty
Look at some of the positive
aspects of the Greek system.
Many of the best open parties on
campus every year are put on by
fraternities. Every year frater-
nities and sororities raise tens of
thousands of dollars for charity.
Greek GPAs, as compared to in-
dependents, are higher. Yet,
people still scream about the
Greek system, tear down posters,
and vandalize banners. Many
people I know who previously had
no interest in a fraternity have

become members. In fact, one of
the most anti-Greek people I
know joined a fraternity last year
after he checked out the houses
on campus. He told me recently
that he's damn glad he did. So
am I.
But, there seemingly will
always be a group of childish
people who will continue to van-
dalize the rush posters and con-
demn the Greeks without grounds
to do so. If someone does have a
legitimate grudgl against the
Greek system, that's his or her
business, but most do so apparen-
tly because it's fashionable, or
because they need a cause, or for
whatever reason. These same
people will be quick to accuse me
of harboring other interests'in
writing this letter, given my
position. To these people I have
nothing to say, since their actions
have proven that they do not
deserve my trouble. Our con-
stitution guarantees freedom of
speech, and a greater man than I
once said, "I may not agree with
what you say, but I shall defend
to the death your right to say it."

I guess these vandals should
learn to be a little more tolerant
of opposing points.
In closing, I'd like to relay an
amusing story which occured at a
football game last year. I wds en-
joying the game, when I saw a
girl staring at my fraternity
jacket. She then lookedrat me as
if she was about to spit in my
face, and shouted, "Fucking frat!
Long live GDIs!" GDI, for those
unfamiliar with the term, stands
for "goddamned independent." I
looked at the pink and purple
sweatshirt and saw the Greek let-
ters, gamma, delta, and iota stit-
ched on the front. An anti-Greek
system person wearing a Greek
lettered sweathsirt. Doesn't
make much sense does it. I guess
they (the "official" GDIs) all
share a common interest or
something, not unlike the greeks
on campus. Maybe fraternities
and sororities aren't so bad after
-Tom Ellis
Januar .-A

Ellis is the Rush
Phi Kappa Tau.

chairman at

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