Apathy with reason

Several weeks ago Matthew Fair quoted one senior on her feelings about Senior Week being canceled, and her blunt response, “I’ve basically stopped caring,” struck a chord with me. I believe the Class of 2007 has every right to be apathetic about the College. Let’s recap some of the events that they have endured over the past four years:

The first is transformation. I believe the College had the best intentions when it reshaped the curriculum, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. With program planners, required classes and core curriculums constantly changing, members of the senior class had to be on guard to graduate on time. Just recently, Records and Registration released letters telling seniors whether or not they were eligible for graduation. If you listened closely enough, you could hear a collective groan being uttered by the senior class. I’ve seen numerous people who had been told they would be fine by their academic advisors learn that there were problems with their transcripts. Transformation and the chaos associated with it have left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Class of 2007.

Another problem was that the administration allowed Sodexho to exploit the student body. I’m not going to rail against the offensive quality of Sodexho food, the laughable “customer service” or the abysmal sanitary conditions. But I will say that the senior class was more than clear when it voiced outright opposition to the Carte Blanche program during its sophomore year and the administration stood idly by. Well, not really “idly” – there were the secret negotiations without student input that renewed the food provider’s contract. Obviously, the collective voices of the student body can be silenced, as long as the Almighty Dollar has its say.

There was also a series of other events that contributed to the senior class’ apathy. The complete and utter debacle that was the new apartments, the police “crackdown” over the past year, budget cuts and the housing crisis have eaten away at the spirit of the senior class. Meanwhile the administration was recounting time and again the New York Times’ accolade that the College was a “hot” college.

The nail in the coffin was the mishandling of Senior Week. The administration, fearful of another lawsuit, banned alcohol and raised prices, scaring many seniors away. Many seniors made alternate plans to ensure that their last college memories would be on their terms, not on those of the administration. While the Senior Class Council did an admirable job in attempting to negotiate and schedule a quality event, they were up against an administration that clearly wanted an end to the tradition.

Maybe the Class of 2007 is the class that stopped caring, but we should remember the reasons why. While I am sure there are seniors who care about both the class and the College, the ranks of the apathetic will continue to grow if the administration treats the student body as it has over the past four years. It may be too late for the Class of 2007 to start caring again (it certainly is for me), but hopefully the administration will register the dissatisfaction of one class and make some critical changes to ensure a better experience for future students.

Dan McElwee

Coverage of AEPi: biased and inaccurate

After reading a few articles in The Signal about Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) and the Inter-Greek Council (IGC), I felt compelled to set the record straight about this unrecognized organization.

IGC is simply following standard policy with the stance it is taking toward this unofficial group. Two years ago, Sigma Tau Gamma was suspended from campus for five years, during which time certain members of that group tried to continue to function as a fraternity on this campus.

A letter was then sent out by the IGC president advising the chapters to have no interaction with the group as Sigma Tau Gamma.

Neither Pam Mirabelli nor IGC ever told chapters to not participate in AEPi’s canned food drive. The first day that the food drive was posted was Thursday, March 22; IGC’s meeting was on March 21.

Quite possibly the biggest factual error reported by this article was that because AEPi is a member of the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC), it has to be recognized by the campus. Here is a direct quote from the NIC Web site:

“The NIC has no power to mandate changes at any host institution. However, many campus presidents have indicated that they are willing to bring resources and reform to the table to assist member fraternities in improving chapters. The Campus Expectations assist our chapters in being highly functional organizations that bring pride to the campus.”

Clearly NIC chapters have no power to dictate to any college campus what their policy should be. NIC has expectations of campuses but no power to enforce these expectations. The NIC open expansion policy means that other member chapters of NIC would have to vote yes if a recognized AEPi interest group came up in a vote to IGC to become a colony.

The privileges of recognized groups include booking rooms, advertising for events and holding events on campus. If Max Marshall, president of the unrecognized group, plans to do this through another group, he will be violating the College’s policy. Marshall’s group, as it is not recognized, cannot be sanctioned, but whatever group it uses to book the room with can be. This is not IGC policy; this is the College’s policy.

I sincerely hope this clears up any confusion. The AEPi articles focused on the point of view of a few students and were extremely biased pieces with many errors and confusing statements. I hope in the future The Signal will be more diligent in providing both sides of the story equally.

David Gaughan, President of Inter-Greek Council