Take responsibility for your opinion

Darren D'Altorio

Letter to the editor

Dear Editor:

Beth Rankin, thank you for rehashing notable disasters of college life from the past year in your column “Taking Responsibility for Your Actions (Jan. 31),” associating nearly every negative campus incident with the Greek community. And for utterly ignoring the fact that non-Greeks host wild parties, commit crimes, burn couches, puke on sidewalks and litter irresponsibly everyday in Kent.

I agree with your point that individuals should be held responsible for their actions and that student organizations should be held to a higher standard than they are now. You forgot to explicate on that, however.

You simply singled out the Greeks, accusing us of ulterior motives for the “real uses for fraternity networking.” You also accuse us for “hosting the biggest, filthiest, most dangerous parties in town” and suggest that we compensate for breaking the law by having a “sing-a-long to raise money for cancer.”

For the record, risk management is a crucial element of Greek life. Our parties must conform to rules set by the university bylaws and rules of the national fraternity headquarters. These rules include registering all parties with the university; implementing a guest-list at the door; checking if guests are over or under 21; regulating alcohol consumption; banning glass bottles and liquor and having a “sober monitor” in each room. Neglecting any of these policies can mean social probation or termination of the fraternity’s charter.

If anything, Greek parties are the safest, most controlled party environments on campus. Yeah, the crowd can get big and loud; people might dance and leave a wake of debris. But that happens at any party — Greek or not.

Beth, you pointed to fraternities as the prime source of debauchery in Kent. Local Kent authorities are enacting zero-tolerance policies to combat unruly behavior in the entire city, not just the Greek parties.

The football team, basketball team, wrestling team, baseball team and hockey team all hold parties at their respective group houses, which have no letters affixed to the front, that attract large groups of people and encourage the same behaviors that occur at Greek parties. Where was the criticism of these student organizations in your assessment of irresponsibility on campus and in the city? Why were they omitted from your tirade?

Yes, fraternities and sororities have sing-a-longs, skit shows, sidewalk chalk drawings, basketball tournaments and teams at Relay for Life to raise significant amounts of money for an array of charitable organizations. How dare these initiatives be discredited as ways to “call it even.”

I hope the initial logical flaw — and unnecessary belittlement of the Greek community — has become clear to all. We are all responsible for our actions; the group or organization at large should not be slammed for the actions of individuals. However, student organizations should continue to strive to instill the mental and ethical wherewithal in their members so we all promote the positive image of the organization and the university.

The bottom line is: College kids like to party. And everybody associates himself or herself with a group in some way, whether as a member or simply by attending a party. But some groups have letters denoting their residence, making them an easy target for wayward opinion holders. It is unfair and irresponsible to sling brash opinions about specific organizations, dressing them up under a columnist’s masthead, especially when there are plenty of organizations that could be criticized on the same level.

Perhaps certain observers should think twice about their opinions and adhere to the fundamentals of proper, effective mudslinging if they choose to be a hater: Know your enemies before you try to drag them through the dirt.

Darren D’Altorio

Senior magazine journalism major

Member of Phi Sigma Kappa