GU Greek Life Speaks Out

FILE PHOTO: DAN GANNON/THE HOYA Greek organizations are not officially recognized by the university, but members frequently house together.

Greek organizations are not officially recognized by the university, but members frequently house together.

Students involved in Greek life organizations are speaking out against Georgetown’s continued lack of support for social fraternities and sororities at Georgetown following the university’s email condemning Greek life activities and values on campus Sept. 14.

On Sept. 15, the Georgetown University Student Association sent a student-wide email response to Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson and Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Jeanne Lord’s message, emphasizing its belief in the positive role of Greek life on campus.

GUSA Liaison to the Greek Council Tucker Cowden (MSB ’17), the former chapter president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, said he supported GUSA’s decision to send an email detailing its stance on Greek organizations.

“What motivated the response was that, particularly in this season of the school year, GUSA’s role is to make sure that every student has an accurate understanding of what the on- and off-campus groups offer,” Cowden said. “I think the main reason for the response was just to let them know that as students they have the right to free speech and free association.”

According to Cowden, the GUSA response to the university’s email was not intended to be inflammatory.

“It’s their job to affirm university policy, and there are no hard feelings in them doing that,” Cowden said. “The GUSA response was focusing on the reason that people join these organizations here [which] is in line with cura personalis and is in line with those other ideals that we pursue at this university.”

Cowden said he was disappointed that the email sent by Olson and Lord contained stronger language than those of previous years, referring in particular to the allegation of fraternities leading to higher rates of hazing and alcohol abuse on campus. Olson and Lord sent a similar email during last year’s rush season.

“At Georgetown, everyone I know who is in a Greek organization has just the same values as everyone else on campus, as far as moderation and mildness and that kind of thing,” Cowden said.

Men’s Jewish social fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi Master Jack Rosenberg (SFS ’17) said that the vilification of Greek life by the university is not a fair representation of the presence of such organizations on campus.

“We’re involved in charity, we put on scholarship events, community service, educational forums,” Rosenberg said. “We fill a hole that obviously 10 percent of the student body is interested in.”
Olson said he stood by the university’s position regarding the issue of Greek organizations after talking with students.

“Dr. Lord and I have listened to student perspectives on this, and we remain fully committed to the points we made in our recent letter,” Olson wrote in an email to The Hoya.

Lord said she appreciated the position outlined by GUSA in its` email response, but she believes students should not limit their extracurricular activities to Greek life.

“It is our hope that students will explore the diversity and richness of life on the Hilltop,” Lord wrote in an email to The Hoya.

Rosenberg said he hopes the students and university will reach an agreement on the issue of Greek life on campus.

“We are actively searching dialogue with the university,” Rosenberg said.

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