Opinion: We demand transparency

April 26, 2018 Opinion

Greek life is a pervasive characteristic of any college campus. For many, fraternities and sororities are a source of joy and lasting friendships. However, oftentimes, Greek life can be a source of great anxiety.

This is no fault of Greek life in and of itself; the Hollywood-fabricated stereotypes of fraternities and sororities just do not portray their realities.

These stereotypes naturally cultivate anxieties for parents sending their children off to distant colleges, anxieties that colleges have to mitigate in order to effectively sell their image and maintain admission rates.

Moreover, the presence of fraternities and sororities on campuses helps colleges maintain relationships with alumni. For a college such as Rollins that receives large annual donations from alumni, maintaining these relationships is vital.

Thus, it is often not in Rollins’ best interest to suspend or otherwise tarnish the reputations of the Greek organizations on its campus.

However, this does not justify the college deliberately withholding the details of an ongoing investigation of a fraternity, especially when one of the reasons behind the investigation concerns a Title IX violation.

Since March, the Phi Delta Theta fraternity has been suspended; its current status is called an interim administrative hold.

Both the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life (FSL) and the Office of Student Affairs have been extremely tight-lipped about this issue, expressing concern for the reputation of the fraternity.

It is understandable that FSL and Student Affairs are not publicizing details of their investigation before it is concluded, especially when Phi Delta Theta is already in the process of reconstructing their reputation.

However, reputation should never be prioritized over transparency, and while a pending investigation does little to repair the reputation of a fraternity, being open about the status of a fraternity within the student body is better than leaving everything open to speculation.

Furthermore, in theory, transparency would provide reassurance to our community as to where the priorities of administration lie.

Most importantly, though, if a group of students potentially pose a threat to the campus’ safety, we should be made aware of it so we can take appropriate precautions. With 43 percent of the student body involved in Greek life, it is our friends and neighbors who are most impacted by this investigation, and we all have a right to know why.

What is probably most unacceptable about this situation is that the president of Phi Delta Theta claims that they, too, have been left in the dark as to what the investigation has uncovered. Why? This accomplishes nothing but a potential repetition of the same mistakes.

This lack of transparency is a trend. Students were never fully informed about last year’s blanket suspension of all campus fraternities.

I understand that laws protect student information and that investigations concerning Title IX are very sensitive, but it should not have taken The Sandspur four weeks of questioning—which included unresponded e-mails—to find out why a campus organization was being investigated.

No details of the suspension or investigation have been released to the campus prior to The Sandspur reporting on this event, leaving the rumor mill to spin and speculate.

Information about Greek life investigations needs to be made public. We should be able to go onto the college website and see the number of times that an organization has been investigated or suspended and the reasons why.

This would help students be more informed in their decision-making during recruitment. At this point, it is dangerous for a student to unknowingly rush a fraternity that has been investigated three times in three years.

In a time when fake news and rumors run rampant in society, help us, Rollins, to ensure that this is not an issue on our own campus.

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