Mar. 1 will mark one year since Dean Tuttle sent an email to the Trinity community stating that all orientation activities were suspended pending the investigation of inappropriate conduct on the part of unidentified clubs. While we have since devoted extensive amounts of time, energy and coverage to this Greek saga, fundamental aspects of the current situation remain unclear. The recent Concert for the Cure philanthropy event, formerly sponsored by Gamma Chi Delta, has brought into question the privileges afforded to the currently-sanctioned organizations.
Let us be clear: We do not question whether the four Greek organizations have stayed true to the terms of their suspension. In fact, we commend the organizations for their efforts to rebuild and positively contribute to the community.
However, the reinstatement process lacks clarity, transparency and an objective outside student perspective.
When reporting for this week’s front-page story, “Concert for the Cure raises questions,” we interviewed Michael Fischer, Jamie Thompson and Briana McGlamory and also looked at past administrative statements.
According to an email sent by President Ahlburg on May 3, 2012, “During the suspension period, these organizations… can participate as a group in pre-approved, limited non-social community-oriented activities and projects, but all other activities of the organization are strictly prohibited.”
While Concert for the Cure is a community-oriented event that raises thousands of dollars for children with cancer, the event itself involves alcohol, music, and dancing. Organizers also requested money from ASR for transportation to prevent drunk driving. The organizers recognize it’s social. Does the administration?
Moreover, the members of the suspended Gamma Chi Delta organization were told they could not associate the Gamma name with the event. Yet, all of the individuals selling tickets, requesting funds and managing both the day-to-day operations and the non-profit are current or former Gammas. The address listed for donations goes to the Gamma’s on-campus mailbox. The Concert for the Cure website references Gamma’s frequently and the Gammas wore their jerseys at the event.
By all accounts, Gammas followed every rule the administration created, and yet when anybody walked into Cowboy’s, it was clear that this was a Gamma-sponsored event. All of this sends a mixed message about what the administration expects.
Looking at the big picture, when we asked Fischer, Thompson and McGlamory about a general timeline for possible reinstatement and what the proposals looked like, we were directed to other members of the trifecta for answers, and when those members could not respond, our questions remained unanswered.
We acknowledge that Fischer, Thompson and McGlamory all have busy lives outside of this issue, but since the administration has embarked on this reinstatement process, it should be done right, with clearly-defined standards and a thorough explanation of the reasoning behind their thought processes and judgments.
Most importantly, because the reinstatement process is an entirely new concept—no other Trinity Greek organization suspended in the past was ever given the option of reducing their suspension—it sets a precedent and standard for future years.
Now is the time to see if there are visual improvements or change within the organizations. We, as involved and concerned community members with a stake in our school’s reputation and peers’ well-being, urge the university to make the proposals public. Better yet, we encourage the sanctioned groups to do it themselves to show just how far they’ve come.
We also want to suggest that outside students be involved in the review process. Greek Council was created to provide a student prospective. The administration trusts students to be the judge of their peer’s actions in the case of the Honor Council and Student Conduct Board, so why is this situation any different?
If both of these steps are taken—making the proposals public and including a more objective student opinion—there will be more confidence in the overall process and outcome.