Discourse / Editorials / Greek Task Force / February 19, 2009

Thoughts from the Embers: Faculty disconnect

The process of interviewing for and writing the Greek Task Force follow-up this week was sort of disappointing.

First of all, TKS was denied access to the meeting at which the report would be discussed, because, according to Chair Pro-Tempore Andrew Leahy, our presence would prevent the faculty from being “as comfortable as possible to express their opinions.”

It is true that the new rules regarding press access devised after last year’s debate only ensure access to meetings of faculty committees, not meetings of the whole faculty, and so Leahy was perfectly within his rights to keep us out. However, we understood the spirit of the new rules, and the fact that faculty and administrators agreed that we needed new rules in the first place, to be a token of their commitment to greater transparency. Most of the point of the Greek Task Force’s formation, as we understood it, was to encourage open discussion of Knox’s issues with the Greek system. Keeping the student press out of that discussion is not a productive way to accomplish that goal.

Secondly, the people we interviewed, including members of the Greek Task Force, didn’t seem too sure about what exactly the GTF was supposed to be doing in the first place. From several interviews, the consensus seemed to be that the GTF’s charge was murky and the report, though it was thorough, well-written, and balanced, probably hadn’t changed a single mind.

We understand that these opinions do not represent everyone involved in this process: it might have been easier to get more opinions had we been at the meeting. Still, it seems like the report, despite its wealth of information and suggestions, may have been a bigger effort than necessary given the fairly “meh” reaction it’s getting.

For this reason, we’re coming out in favor of history professor Penny Gold’s suggestion to form a faculty subcommittee dedicated to the Greek system. Task forces can get things done, but they’re one-hit wonders: professors Gold and Fineberg both said that the sorts of problems that caused the Greek Task Force to form repeat themselves over and over and over. Perhaps a standing committee would allow us to learn from experience.

TKS Staff

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