Friday, May 1, 2015

So the frat apologized today, for the events of last September that touched off the "No Means No" campaign. Their sign had implied that No meant something else besides No, and this was deeply offensive to lots of people, including at least half a dozen in my office building, which houses teachers of Italian, teachers of French, teachers of Spanish, teachers of Portuguese, you get the picture. I found it ironic that people of all these diverse language backgrounds - the place is like Europe, after all - found it necessary to post large signs that declared what "No" meant, as if there was any doubt, or any word that could possibly be less ambiguous in the world of language vocabulary.

But back to the frat. I've been challenged to give one good reason why any frat should be allowed to continue propagating its "brotherhood" idea, which plays a huge role in shaping the social lives of male students on this campus. The women and their sororities don't seem to be as bad, but many of them target the fraternities as housing the most desirable husbands, or boyfriends, to start off properly, and so often they seem to be all in it together. But they play a huge role on campus, so the question would be, can you ban them? Can you even imagine a campus without them? Can people live normal lives free of the entire institutions that keep them going?

When I was in college, frats were enormous drinking machines; there were guys in there who drank it by the keg, and you could tell. Soon after that they turned to coke, at least at Univ. of Iowa, and from what they say here at Tech, it seems to be similar here. Where do they get the money? Who knows? Are they in collusion to see how many lives they can ruin, on the way to ruining their own, or driving the name of the frat down into the gutter? It seems to me that coke makes people more arrogant; they drive faster, they get an attitude, they lord it over people around them. Don't frats have a problem with that kind of stuff already?

OK, so I'll admit, in fact I have no idea what they do in those frats; I don't even have a reliable source to tell me. I can say that it seems that well over half of cars have some kind of greek letters on the window; student conversation on social media such as yik yak seems to be obsessed with them, as if they are everything, you're either in, or not. But I really don't know. And I wouldn't know if it was even possible to ban them, or get a campus to live without them. How would that be done? And would it make things any better?

Start up a conversation. Get some freshman to say he's thinking of joining one. Let people tell you what that entails, besides a lot of money. Do you get access to their test files? Do you get free "tutoring"? Or is it just a benign kind of social thing, where you have somebody to hang with on weekends, and they pretty much just stand around outside, eating good food? Let them tell you some good reasons to join frats. I've forgotten most of the ones I ever knew.

e pluribus haiku 2015