By Allen Miller
In response to Katie Engelhart’s article, “Hey There, Sister,” Opinion, Nov. 13.
I’d like to start of by saying that I do appreciate Katie Engelhart’s opinion on the subject of Greek life. I believe that she brings up some great points and critically assesses some of the flaws in our Greek system and in the general Greek community. She represents the Greek system’s harshest critics and does so in a graphic and provocative manner. What transpired that night in Collegetown was horrendous and absolutely inexcusable. As the executive vice president-elect of the Interfraternity Council, I would like to apologize on behalf of the entire Greek community for the trauma she went through. I don’t think there is anyone among us who would condone such rude behavior.
Yet Engelhart’s method of drawing this to our attention, namely her harsh opinion article last Thursday, is both immature and offensive. Her logic is clouded, her argument biased and her criticism so broad and undisciplined that her article becomes more about personal failings than any failings within the Greek system. Viewed in that light, Engelhart’s rant almost becomes mildly entertaining. I sincerely doubt that Engelhart’s use of obscene language at Collegetown Pizza brings out her “maturity and poise.” Her bash of, or so called “sisterly advice” for, the Panhellenic Council serves only to cause further division and increase the implied rift between Greeks and non-Greeks. And I highly doubt that her belligerent attitude is the best way to give her sister “a lesson in self-assertiveness.” In trying to humiliate the Greek system, Engelhart succeeds only in humiliating herself.
Clearly our Greek system has suffered from flaws and setbacks over the years. We have failed time after time and the stereotypes we assume along with the negative publicity we receive have never helped. It is a sad but honest truth that the faults of a few lead to the demise of many. Yet at the same time, Greeks have brought much to this campus. From philanthropy to student government to alumni giving, Greeks get things done. And while I can’t speak for the Panhellenic Association or for the Multicultural Greek Letter Council, I do know that the current IFC executive board has worked tirelessly to better our system, to create a more unified community and to address the very issues that Engelhart brings up. Myself, President-Elect Eddie Rooker and the next IFC executive board are going to continue to do everything within our power to bring about positive change.
So I ask Engelhart, and anyone else who is reading this, to keep an open mind — to exchange the image of the stereotypical frat boy for that of the responsible fraternity man — and to open the lines of communication so that we can build back a sense of community on this campus. And if this is too much to ask for, I urge everyone to remember that we can disagree without being disagreeable. We can learn to fight the forces of fragmentation with the vision of common cause. A new breeze is blowing through this campus and better things are yet to come.
Allen Miller ’11 is executive vice president-elect of Cornell’s Interfraternity Council, which governs fraternities on campus.