Although in long shot it may look like a replay of the film Animal House, Colgate University’s war on fraternities, in close-up, is much more than just life imitating art. “This is an issue of first amendment rights to free association,” The Colgate Review’s Mark Bello writes, “an issue of property rights and good faith in negotiations, an issue of Colgate’s accountability to its students and alumni.”
As it happens, fraternities are not the only traditional groups not welcome at Colgate. The military’s Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) can find no shelter at Colgate either, but “Peace Movement” veterans flourish there and take credit for ending the Cold War.
The official stand of Colgate is that “organizations that choose to retain ownership of their houses may not house Colgate students after the 2004-05 academic year and will no longer be recognized by the university.” The university administration’s decision to penalize the frats for being, well frats, is, according to Bello, wildly unpopular.
“Nearly half of the student body signed a petition protesting Colgate’s coercion,” Bello writes. “Over 10 percent attended a week-day afternoon rally against Colgate’s policies.”
“Over 500 concerned alumni have signed on in opposition to Colgate’s actions.”
Not to feed stereotypes but if Colgate’s frat boys were to live up to them, they could find a drinking game on the internet that they may view as appropriate. Joe Williams of the New York Daily News compiled a choice list of examples of educational jargon that partygoers can drink to.
Anyone who has covered or come in contact with the educational system in this country will instantly recognize these terms. I encountered the first of these as part of an explanation by a Benedict College bureaucrat who told me why it made sense to base most of that school’s freshman class’s grades on effort, or showing up, rather than actual test scores and grades on term papers:
- Time-on task
- Dead White Guys
- Scaffold (as a verb)
- Authentic learning
- Differentiated instruction
- Integrated learning
- Balanced literacy
- Highly qualified
- Self-directed learning
The way things are going at Colgate, if the fraternity denizens there play this game, they could be on a bender for years.
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.