Volume 93, Issue 64

Tuesday, January 25, 2000


Fraternity friendship at what cost?

What's in the water at Brescia?

Smokers unite - fight the power

Smokers, shut up - no need to whine!

Fraternity friendship at what cost?

Re: "Real phriends know better" Jan. 20

To the Editor:

Mr. Bycraft makes some excellent points in his rebuttal, pointing out that fraternities aren't all bad. Any organization that involves itself in community service deserves credit, because, as is pointed out, mainstream media tends to ignore the good that people are accomplishing in society.

The point raised that Mr. Butler did no real research for his column can't be ignored. Even when writing columns or satires, the journalist must have concrete research and proof, so that he or she can make the point in a valid way. I did not think that Mr. Butler's column was amusing in the least.

However, Mr. Bycraft also misses some important issues in his rebuttal and makes faulty arguments on a few of his points. Paying money for social contact, even if it does not "buy" the friendship, should not be necessary. The argument that "$900 is only $25 a week" is a cliché and invalid because it can be further reduced by saying a fraternity only costs $3.57 a day, or 15 cents an hour and so on.

A great many people cannot afford an additional $900 on top of tuition fees, the cost of books, etc. Mr. Bycraft does not successfully deconstruct the fraternity as an exclusionist club of elites.

The claim that fraternities ready people for the real world is also faulty. Certainly, they can play a integral role in the social aspects of the world, but does Mr. Bycraft forget that the reason you come to university is for an education? The subtle exclusion of this fact slowly starts tipping the scales towards the unfortunate fact that Mr. Bycraft may very well be the typical fraternity boy. Placing more emphasis on social contact than education in university is a definite equation for disaster.

I doubt that fraternities value individuality either. The $900 (or whatever the cost) fee probably excludes a large number of want-to-be members from considering the club, increasing the homogeny towards students with more money.

To be successful, a formal organization must expect a great deal of conformity. Blatant use of the word "closed" contradicts the claim further – are the brothers more likely to invite those that are truly interesting to the party, or simply those who fit their mould more easily?

Finally, as far as alcohol is concerned, where people are lacking sobriety there is control lacking. It does not matter if one person gets drunk, or if 1,000 people get drunk – the fact remains that it creates unknowns that people cannot accurately predict. I don't think that bars are any more or less dangerous than fraternity parties, only different.

You don't know everyone at a bar, but you can meet new people. A lot of people are drinking, a lot of people aren't. Bars are only expensive if you go to drink and many people only go to have a good time. Compared to what I normally consume in alcohol, spending $25 a week on the stuff is outrageous – would I be correct in guessing that a large portion of the $900 fee goes toward alcohol?

One final question – would the fraternity be willing to accept an abstaining student with more affinity for quiet socialization than loud parties, an atheist who speaks his mind and has no money to spend, one who would not involve himself in charity work other than those of a non-profit nature – or is that just a little too individualistic for the fraternity's tastes? Is that too controversial?

I'd be willing to wager that a more accurate closing line to Mr. Bycraft's letter is not "Hope to see some new faces," but rather "Hope to see more of the same."

Curtis W.L. Jones
Sociology I

To Contact The Opinions Department:

Copyright © The Gazette 2000