John Grace, one of five alumni sponsors for the Bengal Lancers fraternity, was intrigued to learn that Trinity is now reverting back to the terms “fraternity” and “sorority” to describe those organizations on campus. When these clubs were originally created on campus, Grace said, there was a concerted effort to distance them from national organizations labeled “Greek.”
Grace, a Trinity alumnus and member of the Bengal Lancers, said many alumni were unaware that fraternities and sororities were being referred to as Greek and were enlightened through the events of last spring.
“The discussion over terminology changes was started by alumni in the wake of the suspension of the four clubs in the spring,” Grace said.
He is referring to the suspension of Chi Delta Tau, the Bengal Lancers, the SPURS Sorority and Gamma Chi Delta over allegations of hazing and sexual misconduct (not all organizations shared the allegations of sexual misbehavior).
Alumni are particularly supportive of the decision to go back to the phrase “fraternities and sororities,” Grace said, because traditional clubs on Trinity’s campus do not want to be compared to national clubs with numerous problems.
In a phone interview, Grace addressed concerns Ahlburg has shared with the Trinity community about hazing and the recent suspensions. Grace said that when Ahlburg speaks about abuse of new members, hazing and binge drinking, he is relying on instances from large public institutions.
“All of the examples he provides are from national fraternities,” Grace said.
Optimistic, Grace believes that the events of last spring have ultimately been beneficial for the Lancers as well as the other fraternities and sororities.
“The issues of last spring have caused alumni to re-engage with their clubs and the school,” Grace said. “There is more discussion now than there has been in years in terms of club values and the role of these organizations on campus.”
Grace reaffirmed that no matter what the outcome of these talks may be, the clubs’ presence in the Trinity community is a positive thing. Alumni are more involved than ever before.