A well publicized hazing incident at the
University chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity last September sent
a student to the hospital with kidney failure and opened the door
for renewed criticism of the Greek system and its ability to
monitor the activities of its members. Fortunately, the
Interfraternity Council was quick to respond, swiftly and admirably
cutting its ties with Sigma Chi and sending a clear message to
other Greek houses that such behavior would not be tolerated.

Mira Levitan

Four months later, however, after sending one of its own to the
hospital, the IFC’s stern punishment of Sigma Chi and its
message in the weeks following appear like nothing but empty
rhetoric. Three weeks ago, the IFC and the Panhellenic Association
executive boards abused alcohol at a University-funded retreat at
Tau Beta Camp, leading to the hospitalization of one of their
members. This episode has occurred within the governing bodies
responsible for, among other things, the monitoring and enforcement
of the very policies that were broken at the retreat. Reflection
and hollow acts of repentance, while sufficient in the past, will
not undo the damage that this incident has done to the IFC, Panhel
and the Greek system as a whole. Their actions will have severe
repercussions on the rest of the Greek community that can only be
remedied by the resignation of all the executives who were involved
in the incident at the retreat.

Now, scandal has tainted the upper echelon of the Greek
establishment — the IFC and Panhel — not only
contributing to negative images of Greek life, but possibly
threatening the independence of their community. Last month, the
University proposed compulsory changes to the Greek system, which
included the establishment of substance-free housing and
professional live-in advisors. By acting in such an irresponsible
manner, the IFC and Panhel have greatly weakened their
counter-claim of being a competent organization capable of
effective self-government.

Worst of all, the response to the incident in question has been
woefully inadequate. Although a number of Panhel executives
received a vote of no confidence from their members, none have thus
far agreed to step down. Instead, their response has consisted of
reflective personal statements, a refund to the Office of Greek
Life of the misused funding and a public apology to all chapters of
the Greek community as well as to the University administration. In
addition to being an inappropriate reaction given the gravity of
their deeds, the fact that they waited three weeks to issue these
apologies casts doubt upon their sincerity in requesting
forgiveness.

The board member’s actions fall far short of compensating
or atoning for the injuries suffered by the hospitalized
individual, the governing body and the entire community. Greek
executives have a long history of apologizing for wrongdoing
without subsequently changing their behavior, and these recent
developments only appear as another attempt at the same. It falls
squarely on the shoulders of those responsible to acknowledge that
their misdeeds warrant not only an apology, but their removal from
the posts that they have proven unable to effectively and
responsibly manage. Those who have received votes of no confidence
should heed the call for their resignation, and those involved in
the incident who have not received such requests should behave as
though they had.

It is time for the Greek community to act quickly to guarantee
that this type of behavior is not condoned and does not happen
again. Otherwise, incidents like this one will become all too
common.

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