Discourse / Greek Task Force / Letters / January 14, 2009

Inaccurate reporting furthers Greek troubles

I know I have written to TKS before with some modicum of patience, but David Nolan’s article concerning the Greek Task Force in the November 13, 2008 issue of TKS has pushed that patience to the limit. Perhaps I am unfair to compare him to his peers, Matt Baker and Deana Rutherford, whose previous articles on this topic have earned my esteem. However, I am tired enough of having to repeat myself after every TKS article regarding the Greek Task Force, either in print or in person, without having to also correct errors that are the responsibility of the paper and its journalists. I recognize that Deana co-authored this article, but I address David because (I hope) it is safe to assume that it is he who deserves the criticism as it was he, and not she, who attended ATP’s meeting with the task force. This meeting, after which David asked no questions, was our only contact with TKS since September; given the inaccuracy of this reporting, I am inclined to request all future meetings be off the record.

There are so many things wrong with the quote concerning our origins near the end of the article that it is difficult to know where to begin. Most simply, it is a misappropriation; Paige Barnum is a junior, and if TKS had done even the most casual fact checking they would have noticed that Kappa was indeed present on campus her freshman year. The “quote”, such as it is, is mine, but it is both inaccurate and misrepresented. As a founding member of ATP myself, I know that “all” of us did not go through recruitment. In fact, most of us did not; I am a rare exception. Does David suggest that I don’t know the history of my own sorority? Or worse, is he implying that we are the bitter rejects of a hurtful, exclusive system? I assure you that my decision not to join Pi Beta Phi had nothing to do with how friendly and welcoming I found them when I attended informal recruitment my freshman year. It was simply apparent that I was no more a Pi Phi than David is a TKE. Six members of the Greek Task Force have never gone through recruitment; I can only hope that they understood my meaning more clearly than a reporter who did.

TKS, the Knox community relies on you, for better or worse, as its primary news source. Irresponsible reporting has been at the heart of almost every major controversy on campus in the past year and a half. Though I can be persuaded that the ensuing conversations were important and have helped strengthen our community, your role is to help, not hinder those discussions. This article is insulting at best and harmful at worst, not only to us but to our sisters in the national women’s fraternities. Our organizations have suffered enough from the consequences of judgments made on the basis of no information; I do not want us to endure the consequences of judgments made on the basis of bad information.

Sincerely,

Liz Soehngen

President, ATP

Liz Soehngen


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