The Senate Perspective: Moratorium on Greek life erodes student autonomy

We’re sure most of you are familiar with the Greek Task Force and the Greek Life report that was submitted at the end of January. Vice President Bryan Lund and I, as members of the Executive Committee to the Faculty, have worked hard to fight for the long-term interests of Knox students. Sometimes we have agreed with the proposed changes to faculty regulations and other times we have thoroughly disagreed—for the most part though, at the very least, we felt that our opinions as student leaders have been heard and thoughtfully considered. The issue of a moratorium on forming any new Greek organizations though, is proving to be exceedingly divisive. The members of the Executive Committee could not come to an agreement on a proposal for the April faculty meeting and instead decided to submit a pro and con list. We wanted to make sure the general student population was made aware of the very serious possibility of a moratorium on any new Greek organizations. This has been tabled and will be discussed at a special meeting of the faculty next week.

Ever since the discussion on the Greek system began during the fall term of 2007, we have stood firmly in opposition of anything that would erode student autonomy, the autonomy of all Knox students, and not just those involved in Greek life. The initial reason the Greek Task Force was formed were faculty concerns; some felt “up against a wall’ when it came time to approve the KPO and TSO colonies (currently Sigma Chi and Kappa Kappa Gamma, respectively). Regulations have now been put into place by the faculty making the process by which a local colony is formed far more transparent. Additionally, these regulations allow the faculty to be aware of a colony’s progress each step of the way.

Therefore, a moratorium on new Greek organizations would not only be unnecessary, but more importantly, it would be unfair to students and effect autonomy. We are deeply concerned that, if this moratorium passes, students would not be allowed to form a local colony. Furthermore, we see the possibility of a blanket moratorium as an easy way for anti-Greek faculty to push their own agenda through, saying ‘no new Greek organizations’ for an indefinite period of time. To us, forming a new club, sports team, group, or Greek organization at Knox College falls squarely under a students’ right to freely associate with any group or groups they so choose.

Elaine Wilson

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