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June 02, 2003 - Image 22

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2003-06-02

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Orientation Edition 2003

OP/ED

I

It's not the date rape seminars, its the date rape
JON SCHWARTZ TO SIDES TO EVY SCHWARTZ

T here are many rea-
sons that contribute
to my general dis-
taste for the Greek system
at this University and fra-
ternities and sororities in
general. There's the phoni-
ness of dealing with
rushees, the cruelty in
handling pledges and,
quite simply, the ease with which I can improve
any rough day with a quick jab at this fraternity
or that sorority girl.
Largely, the reason people like myself can so
often sling mud is because of everything that
we saw during the first half of our freshman
year, when flocking to ZBT with our 60 closest
friends was the only way we knew of to imbibe.
In my case, it also has something to do with the
fact that since that time, I've surrounded myself
with people who feel the same way.
But in reality, the biggest reason is just that
the Greeks make it so damned easy.
I think it is beyond dispute that, at least on
this campus, the Greek system fosters an
environment that encourages the proliferation
of many societal dangers. Now, before any of
you frat boys sign on to your e-mail account
to attack me for that last statement, think
about it this way: What message did you give
to potential brothers when you were holding
your rush activities? Did it sound anything
like this: "The Interfraternal Community at
the University of Michigan is dedicated to
working together to promote a shared vision
of integrity, academic excellence, brother-
hood, service to community and commitment
to the highest ideals of Greek Life."
That's the statement the Interfraternity Coun-

cil posts on its Web site, and it's a noble and
impressive goal. But to credit the IFC for hav-
ing high-reaching hopes does not excuse the
Greeks themselves for failing miserably at
reaching these heights.
Like it or not, the Greek system on this cam-
pus is synonymous with drugs, alcohol, deaths
and date rape. And that isn't by accident. The
image that the system gives off to those on the
outside, including me, is that while it obviously
doesn't explicitly encourage drinking yourself
dead or becoming so drunk that you take
advantage of another partygoer, it does little to
stop these things from happening.
I know that what Ijust said sent IFC President
Joel Winston into a fit of madness. But again,
my problem is not with Winston or the IFC. I
think it's noble that the committee reacts to these
issues by changing the rules for their parties and
holding seminars to teach the wrongs of date
rape. My problem, though, is not that they hold
the seminars - it's the fact that they need to
hold the seminars. I can support the fact that
they put sober monitors at all their parties - I
just wonder what kind of society of college-aged
people needs sober monitors.
Let me point out that I understand the dan-
gers of condemning the Greek system, or any
community, based on allegations. But if the
defense against my claims is simply that the
accusations are not always true, then I must
question why this system is so prone to facing
such allegations and attacks.
I've been to many parties since coming to the
University. My house even hosted one recently.
Not once have I been asked to remain sober at a
party to ensure that no one killed himself. Not
once, in the week before my house or apart-
ment invited people over, have I gone to a semi-

nar to remind me that when I start having a
good time, it would be an insensitive and wrong
thing to do if I chose to take advantage of
someone partying with me. And yet I have
never been to a party and watched someone
drink or drug himself to death. I have never
been to a party that led to a date rape. Further-
more, I've never even dealt with false accusa-
tions of such things directed at my housemates
or me.
Does my successful record at throwing and
attending parties (knock on wood) mean that
I'm some sort of righteous person and I know
how to pick a lame party? No, it means that I'm
a civilized human being. So are my friends. It's
not that we shun alcohol, but rather, that we can
also be counted on to remain legitimate mem-
bers of society, even after a few drinks.
If the Greek system wants to shed these repu-
tations, it needs to stop handling these issues
reactively. Forget about seminars; start getting
rid of the animals that don't belong in the frater-
nities, let alone at our dear University.
The fraternities on this campus cannot hold
themselves to different ideals than their organiz-
ing body. Something has to give - either all our
Greeks need to adapt their beliefs to the morals
of the IFC, or the council needs to give in to the
disturbing desires of some of its constituents.
But if you're going to dedicate your system
to "working together to promote a shared vision
of integrity, academic excellence, brotherhood,
service to community and commitment to the
highest ideals of Greek Life," then stop recruit-
ing people who need to be taught how to act
like decent people.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Bush failed to address relewnt ques-
tions, or to sway fence-sitters on affir-
mat'ie action
TO THE DAILY:
In listening to President Bush's recent comments
against my university's admissions policy, I found
myself feeling a mix of disappointment and uncer-
tainty. The fact is I do not know how I feel about the
policy. On the one hand I value the diversity on this
campus and the contribution it has made to my expe-
rience, but on the other hand I still find it difficult to
accept that race should be such an enormous aid or
detriment to an applicant's chances for admission.
Over my years in Ann Arbor, I have waited anxiously
for someone to make it all make sense and to outline
a system that is fair, but also preserves many of the
values of the university.
On Wednesday, my disappointment and indecision
continued; I am beginning to think that such a system
will never exist. In listening to the president's words,
I hoped to hear him offer some brilliant alternative
that would resolve everyone's worries, but I didn't
expect much. I hoped to hear him speak out against a
legacy system in admissions similar to the one he no
doubt benefited from at Yale University, but I didn't
expect that either. Now, with these two historic cases
pending in the U.S. Supreme Court, I am hoping to
see the University release to the public all the rele-
vant data. I am hoping to see the numbers and find
out exactly how diverse this campus would be with-
out the affirmative action policies in place. I am hop-
ing that this kind of disclosure will help people like
me, now firmly planted on the fence, to finally gain
the perspective needed to decide what is right and
what is wrong. I am hoping for all of these things, but
if there is one thing that I have learned, it is not to
expect much.
RICHARD MAYK
Business senior

4

4

Jon Schwartz can be reached
atjlsz@umich.edu.

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Michigan Marching Band
Open Auditions During Orientation
Auditions start at 3:00 PM
Playing Auditions will be held at
Revelli Hall on the final day of your
Orientation Session.
Audition will consist of:
* two major scales
- one chromatic scale two octaves
- two excerpts of contrasting musical
style no more than one minute
in length

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