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The Concordiensis. (Schenectady, N.Y.) 1877-current, May 25, 2000, Image 11

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Honse Redistribution N!>~E~ougbU2.K: Open Minds Dear Members of the Campus xesidential groups. This heusing fefrtde;: c:oed, a:ndc npn-gr-eek ·• · ·. - · ·· · · - · _ · Community,. proposal, aside frc;>rn simply being socialist in nature, is .a top-down As manyofyou arenow aware, -strategy. This m~ans that the col- the U2K steering contrnittee has lege is bringing clown the level of recently issued several proposals social and residential life of some aimed at altering social and resi- groups to satisfy <>!hers. This alien- dentiallifehere at Union College. ates a certain section of the college It is of the utmost importance that community, causing disruption, hurt every Union student read the re- feelings, and tremendous animosity. port because it truly effects every- For decades, these groups have en- one. joyed, and.fimd~d their current hous- On the surface, no one will ar- ing. The buildings in and of them- gue that there are urgent problems selves represent ~ second home to at UnionC0Hege which need to be many alumni, and it is this relation~ addressed. Tlte committee has ship which will ca11se the hurt feel- done a decent job both identifying ings and animosity. and defining these problems. Ad- The solutionwollldbe to ,propose ditionally, tile committee has made a bottom-up strategy. In this modelj good recoJJi:illendations with re- the college would invest resources gards to both the preservation of to renovate certain buildings on Greek Life andtlte need for the de- campus, and expl<lre the feasibility velopmentofawiderandmoredi- of possible new consttuction. For verse social life at Union. These example, the college should imme .. recommendations in and ofthem- diately remove the administrative selves will do m11chto improve life services from Silliman Hall, at Union and sllou1d be supported Feigenbaum Bllll, and Lamont by the campus cor:tlP1unity. How- House. These ,grot.~ps could be quite ever, thete remains another aspect\ easily relocated in current block of the report which is far more con~ . dorin space in: N()rfli or Sduth'Col-, troversial. . -. . . . leges, There also' ex'ists at' ~~~st ~0 Again, not ;Ill,any people will ar- locatio:qS on. camp~ which are fea-; gue with the fact that housing in~ sible fornewcons:tructioA. Ontbese equity does exist here at Union. lots, the college Cl()uld create hous• However, the committee's proposal ing which would rival the best on is not the correct way for the col- campus. These free-standing, cen- lege to proceed in, remedying the trally located buildings could then aforementioned inequity. During be converted back into student the past two weeks, and, in fact, housing and given to sororities, the past two yeMs, there . .have been theme houses, or any other recog- dozens of arguments made on both nized functional group who desires sidesofthisissue. The committee's housing. Addition-any, to accommo- recommendati()n is greatly slanted date smaller groups of students who to one side. The truth is, that the simply wish to live together with no forceful displacement of any group higher purpose, the college should from its housing, whether college continue its Seward initiative and owned or not, is wrong and unfair, expand its real-estate purchases to provided that the group is in good all perimeters of campus. standing witlt the college. If the college we1e to take these The forceful displacement of steps, it would make significant these groups is wrong on ma.ny strides toward resolving the hol,ls- levels, both for the college, and its ing issues. This idea. would move groups into the middle of the cam- pus and into wonderful h?u~ing .. · byGin:ii;L.Campan&lDa SimplY:liN 'raising eVeryone else's , Opin'ions Edit~r ·status; tile greek system will ap- It is hunlali nafure to fear that . . pear far less dominant, and, in- whicll we do not know. This past deed, itwiU be. Furthermore, the week fear of the unknown has growth of the Seward initiative infested the Union College would allow srnall groups of student body. Organizations friends to live together' simply as have been banding together and friends,, not as organized groups .. splitting apart over one of the charged with. the burden of sup- biggest controversies since the porting Union's socialiife otpro.- semester/trimester debate. :viding other services to justify (Honestly, how many people are their use of social space. Recog~ aware of the results ofthat issue?) nizt;d organizations, such as fra- The U2IC Propos!ll. All one has temities,. sororities, and theme · to do is mention the very phrase houses, should continue to oc- . · to send icy chills up any frat boy'.s cupy the larger buildings with spine. One would assume that it social space so that they may · would bring joy and a smileto the continue to,utilize these spaces, lips -of those who now live in not·merely for social space, but buildi~gs such as .... Potter for the countless philanthropic . House; where rooms m:iginally events and other service$ they intended to be singles have pairs provide. Gto11ps of students, who · ofstudents crarrnned in. However~ have· been simply thrown to- this is clearly not,the situation. gethe'r- without any 'higher· put- The administration is undertbe . pose, organ'tzation; or cailse, will -. iinpression that all they need to have neither'the'desire: dri~e, nor . do ~ord~r t~ equalize housing is · necessityto faci'li.tate'the serVices - to allow all'sfudents tQ have a<.:- provided -by. the cul.l:ent. OCCl,l- cessio 1:\le 'good' housing as well pant¥ of these hoqses. . . . as the 'not so good' housing. I Union Co_llege, its students, its . believe I am not the f:ttst student faculty, and its alumni, would all • to qu~stion WHAT the people be better served by rejecting this who decided that this would be aspect of the U2K proposal. By • fair were thinking. Let me play simplyraisingthestandardofliv-. Devil's Advocate for just a ing for some students, and not minute. Couldn't one argue that lowering it for others, the college · this plan, in addition to improv- will make significant strides to- . ing housing for many students, wat·d solving its problems with;- will be worsening housing fer out alienating anyone. We appeal· many students at the same time? to the collegecomtnunityto rilakd • Unless every student can live in the right decision and do what is · equally nice housing, then the truly best for Union. system will neverbe fair. There- Sincerely and respectfulty, The Brothers of the Sigma Phi Society_ . for, the redistribution will be ac- Proposal Has Definite Faults complishing nothing other than making different students be sub- jected to the class 'B' (the lowest ranking) housing. At this time, I would just like to add that three Greek organizations and one theme house Ill'(( the current Qc- cupantsofthis, s~- called, lowest class housing. The two buildings that fall into this category are Raymond House and Potter House. I make this point not to emphasize the bad housing on this campus but to point out that this is not a plan attacking frater- nities. Yes, the top five 'A+' houses on campus are fraternity hotisesj however~ has anyone recognized the fact that three of the four bottom 'B' houses are also fraternity houses? by Eugene D. S«.:hultz Distributi()M Manager On May 15 20()0, the U2K Steering Committee released a .report entitled A Proposalfor ResideJ!Iial and Social Life at Union. The e11tire campus should know \the future of Greek life at Union and the transition to sophomore rush, the establishme11t of an all-inclusive House System to begin in the Fall of 2004, and an arta:yofnew social initia- tives.\ {U2K Proposal, p.l) For the most part the U2K Steering Commit- tee did a fine job in dealing with the issues that were presented to them. However, sincetlle members of the committee are fal.lible, so too are some portions ofthe proposal. Included in the report is the ()Utline for what has been labeled as the \Proposal for a House System.\ (U2K Proposal, p.3) The House S-ystem. as outlined calls for a system \comprised of twelve houses and every Union student will be assigned randomly to membership in one of them )JfiDr to arriving as a rreshman.\(U2IC Proposal, p.3) The committee feels that by creating this new House System they will create \a source of connecticm to the College, as well as a source ofmendship, learn- ing, motivation to get involved in ex- tracurricular life. a.nd, perhaps above all, an enjoyable aa1d vibrant social life.'' (U2K Proposal, p.3) 1t is the belief of the committee that by implementing this housing system, Greek presence on campus will\move Greek life more to- ward the periphery (literally and figu- ratively) while mabt1g available to ev- ery Union studeni some of the most valued parts of <ireek. life.\ (U2K Pro- posal, p.2) The report at its .core tries to deal with the inequality ofhousing at Union College. They want to make it so that both men and women have the sarne opportunities when it comes to hous- ing on campus. Since the college has otily been co-educational since 1970 there is a discrepancy when it comes to where males and females live on cam- pus. By creating 1he twelve house House System the U2K Committee hopes that this wi II eliminate the hous- ing :issue at Union. Union does have a problem when it comes to where men md women live on campus. Do not getrnewrong, this must change. However, the way the commit- tee recommends h<lw this should he han<! led is where t personally have a problem. The committee believes that in order to make housing e([Ual on this campus the current residen1s of Fero House, . Sigma Phi, Smith H()tlse, Chi Psi, Psi Upsilon, Phi Delta 'Theta, 1248 Lenox Rd, 1294 Lenox Rd, 1320 Lenox Rd, and Wells House all must vacate in or- der to help initiate this plan. By en.- acting this plan the committee hopes that it \will give every student ac- cess to social space ~d funding to host programs.\ (U2KProposal, p.6) By taking these twelve houses the committee feels that they will be a more even playing field for all the students on campus. This is where the Proposal for Residential and Social Life at Union runs into major problems. They view that these houseswill be a bastion of academia, a center for social life, and the training ground for the future lead- ers of the country. Freshmen wiHbe assigned and become a member of one ofthesehouses. ffyou choose you can participate in any aspect of the house that you want. The freshmen will even get to have Freshman Pre- ceptorialin their assigned house. The question that arises is: What will bring these freshmen back after their fresh- man year? Once that class joins other organizations, whether it be a Greek organization, a Theme house, or even a club why will freshman want to come back tothesehou'se? As shown in the past the school has seen that apathy runs rampant at Union. Why will the creation of these houses change theapathy level on campus? Another foreseeable problem is: What will stop certain factions within these houses from taking over the Perhaps, due to the eruption of this issue many people are failing houses'? Members on the Steering Committee have said that because there will be faculty involvement this can- not happen; but it has happened ·in the past and it will continue to hap~ pen in the future. Ancther issue is that there is no clear-cut plan on how these new hous~ will pick members that are resi- dents of their respective houses. One could get shut out ofliving.in the house for the three years that they are eli- gible. What then? These people are still then forced to live in dol'n)s under the same living conditions that exist now, although some renovations will take place. Still, only a few people will get to live in the \castles.\ I tis their [the Steering Committee] intention to socially engineer a school in which free choice is eliminated. to recognize the possible benefits of this :s.ystem. This plan does al- low forihe long-term.preservat(on, · and. not destrudiou of tile Greek systematUnionCollege. Inaddi- tion, the proposal does have a stipulation that if no other group would like to enter the housing lot- tery (or a .particular house then the group who is currently associated with that house will he able to stay there. The one negative aspect of this clause is that it only includes those houses listed in 'Appendix B' ofthemostrecentU2KReport. The exact text of the proposal reads; '\ .. we encourage them[the distribution committee] t() include some element of choice, to enable some gronps to remain in the cur- tent place if no one else wants it.\ In addition, the committe~ will be appointed by Student Forum and will,consist ofSTUDENTS. Two of these students will benominated by the Theme House Consortium, one will be from·the Intematem.ity Council and the fourth will be from the Panhelle~ic council This means that the theme ltous~s and the Greek house~ tha:iare going to he most effected will be able to be the most active. participants in the redistribution. Yes, those fratemities with the biggest, nicest, most centrally lo~ cated hoses will have to move. However, a TRUE Greek society WILL be able to overcome moving to a different house. The school is not telling ,these groups that they. can no longer be members -of their · Greek societies, it is not :telling them. not to have parties or rush or pledges-. All the campus is. doing is moving these Greek o;rganiza- tions to another physical location. Those Greek organizations that are true to their Greek society will be able to survive sometlring like a simple relocation. Yes, there. ~e many houses that have a deep tra- dition and many memories within. However, the physic~! posses- sions of a Greek organization are not the important possessions of a Greek organization. An the orga- nizations that stand to l-oose their current housing need to consider the long-term effects of this pro- posal. They must consider two possible futures for their Greek and Theme houses. If these houses are open minded and willing to make changes, then they will survive. If these orgahizations are rigid a.Iid refuse to compromise they will not survive. People claim that when you join a Greek organization you are \buying your friends.\ Is this any different? True, there is no monetary exchange, but instead students are being forced into relationships. By making them be-- long to one ofthe twelve hduses, you are taking away their choice to make their own life at Union. In the end the report included quotes from both current and pastmembers · of the. Union College community. Per\ haps the most appropriate comment was said by a member of the class of 1959: \The emphasi~ on complete symmetry in all things-perhaps is the ultimate goal of some idyllic concept of political correctness, but it is bad architecture and worse policy. Life beyond college is full of unequal spaces.\(U2K Report, p.~) 0 l 1 L; Coil repo The chan hou: Alth to t ins.ti that of C: life c Tl prim ofre tradi com com inqu diveJ and 1 and Th the( inth' is ve the r tee a tern? foun frate real c The: the ( more achi1 socia port tive, Unio the p way syste alterr Hous huge Oree from longi that 1 expel a vm confl zatio signe Stt to be a bui Sigm Hall, to di camp live .j on ca new ment rep01 two ( be gt: their, new1 ChiP Hous force housi denti Hou~ Hous, Road of til hous~ c.onni all st to us table~

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