Taking responsibility for your actions

Beth Rankin

Let’s look at the facts, shall we?

During Kent’s 2006 Halloween festivities, 25-year-old Dana Lim nearly had his legs ripped off when he was thrown under a tow truck by Delta Upsilon member Nicholas Zajac. As a testament to the real uses for fraternity networking, Zajac served only two and a half months in jail.

Less than a year later, DU’s former president Robert Lewis was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend in the DU house on Lincoln Street.

The last thing freshman exploratory major James Welsh remembers about the evening of Sept. 9, 2007 – before his jaw, eye socket, cheek and nose were shattered – was being at a Kent State fraternity party.

Police had to use their stun guns Homecoming weekend when a 21-year-old was caught trafficking cocaine at one of the party houses next door to the Sigma Nu annex on University Drive.

And let us not forget that Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s house was gutted by fire at 4 in the morning last Halloween.

We act shocked when the city begins implementing a zero-tolerance policy for unruly parties. Can we really blame the city for creating outlandish fines for minor infractions? Perhaps they are trying to – oh, I don’t know – cut down on violent crimes, drunk driving and arson. In this academic year alone, University Drive has seen pepper spray, stun guns, cocaine dealers and at least one couch burning.

Mindless drunks will burn a couch in the middle of the street for no reason. How much more can we afford to let them get away with?

And to be fair, it’s not just the Greeks trashing our streets, but with their social networking skills, they sure know how to throw the biggest, filthiest, most dangerous parties in town.

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Do you ever go back downtown Friday morning to pick up the plate of half-eaten pizza you left on the curb outside Guy’s, or the empty six-pack box on the sidewalk in front of Jimmy John’s, or the puke you left in Phi Kappa Tau’s back yard? Of course not, and chances are nobody else cleaned it up, either.

The city of Kent made an example of a Sigma Nu member because people are tired of their city constantly looking like Blossom after a Dave Matthews Band concert.

What we don’t need right now is Undergraduate Student Senate to set up another useless committee to hold a forum that no one will show up at. We also don’t need another confusing “Thinking About Your Drinking” campaign which – let’s face it – only serves as a reminder to stop by 101 Bottles after class.

What we do need is for the University to make Panhellenic Council, individual students and organizations responsible for arrests and incidents at these parties.

The press isn’t being unfair to the Greeks; we’re just printing the facts. You guys get busted for breaking the law a few times, have a sing-a-long to raise money for cancer, then call it even.

I think it’s time we hold our student organizations to a higher standard.

Beth Rankin is a senior photojournalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].