We can’t be happy underground

We were alarmed this week at news that an underground fraternity is operating on campus. According to reports gathered by the Signal staff, the group – calling itself Chi Beta Pi – has been holding rush events for freshmen with the promise that they would get some form of recognition at a later date.

Unsupervised, this presents a grave threat to the freshmen being misled into joining the organization.

Governing bodies such as the College’s Inter Greek Council (IGC) operate to protect students from the ills of Greek life such as dirty rushes and hazing – in which pledges are often coerced into engaging in abusive behavior. Such behavior is all too often the stereotype associated with Greek organizations.

IGC has done good work in the past overseeing the operations of Greek organizations on campus, suspending the charter of Sigma Tau Gamma in Fall 2004 after it violated its own and IGC’s respective alcohol policies.

So we were dismayed when we found IGC unwilling to provide us with information about the rogue fraternity. IGC members said they were actively searching for members of the underground fraternity and yet were reluctant to offer information about Chi Beta Pi to The Signal and, thus, to the student body as a whole.

This seems contradictory to IGC’s purpose.

It is understandable that IGC would want to protect its reputation. Likewise, it is understandable that the College would not want to draw undue attention considering the recent public pressure put on it to curb underage drinking.

But when IGC withholds information that may be helpful to the entire campus, especially to freshmen pledges who may not understand what it is they’ve involved themselves in, not only does it damage its – and the College’s – reputation, but it continues to endanger the students involved.

As Chi Beta Pi has allegedly engaged in activities that are not only against College and IGC policies but are also potentially harmful to the students involved, it is vital that IGC talk candidly so that students can avoid involvement with the group or come forward with any information they may have.

There is more than image and reputation at stake here.