Coping with change: Greek system must be flexible

Conley Hurst, Staff Writer

After President Ruscio’s decision to extend Phi Psi’s suspension to three years, many in the Greek community reverted back to the alarmist attitude that spread after the suspension of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. According to some, the administration is clearly staging a crusade against Greek Life at Washington and Lee. This interpretation contends that Dean Evans, President Ruscio, Amy Perkins, et al. are basing decisions on Greek Life upon the assumption that fraternities and sororities harm the university’s reputation and are inherently destructive. They all secretly hope that in a few decades, Greek Life at W&L will be dead. In short, there is an administration-wide conspiracy to overthrow the rule of Greek Life.

This alarmist interpretation is convenient. Instead of admitting to any issues within the Greek system, this interpretation seeks to delegitimize decisions made by the administration by claiming it is inherently biased.

But by using this approach, Greek Life is making itself look extremely unstable. For example, many have claimed that the third-year housing project is an attempt to keep students closer to campus thus weakening the influence of Greek Life on the student experience at W&L. In reality, if Greek Life is too inflexible to accommodate third-year housing or too unstable to remain a strong influence despite it, what does that say about our system?

I am a fraternity member and a strong believer in the importance of Greek Life in the W&L experience, so maybe I am biased. But I think that the Greek system here is far too strong to feel threatened by change.

As a community, we must come to terms with reality. Let’s give up the idea that the administration is conspiring against us. It’s only a way to cope with the disillusioning events of the past couple of years. I am sure most administration members understand that a strong Greek System leads to stronger student experiences. After all, President Ruscio was a member of a fraternity here; why would he want Greek Life to fade away?

Instead of being complacent and inflexible, we need to embrace change and work with the administration to implement it on our terms. Ideally, the Greek System will not come to be viewed as reactionary or resistant. We must be flexible with the changing times to ensure the strength of the system in the future.