Discourse / Editorials / Greek Task Force / October 2, 2008

We’re already Greek

I seem to have earned myself quite a few quotations in last week’s TKS, perhaps by virtue of my availability for comment on a Wednesday afternoon. I’d prefer to think, however, that my appearances in Deana Rutherford’s admirable article and in the staff editorial say something different: That I am privileged with both something important to say and someone important to say it to. If this is so, then I hope you will indulge me one more time, because I have something I’d like to add.

I suppose I can understand the threat some students and faculty have voiced regarding the projected jump from an innocuous 26% Greek population to a whopping 37%, but I’m wondering what sort of radical shift they’re expecting to see on campus. In all actuality we colony members, the ladies and gentlemen of WOI, GQ and ATP, are and have been Greek this entire time. Have you noticed us? I like to think that if I’m not wearing a Greek shirt or my sorority girl disguise (pearls and heels), the only appreciable differences between pre- and post-ATP Liz Soehngen are a hard-won sense of achievement and the addition of a few stomach ulcers. So where’s the threat?

Most of the criticisms of the Greek system that I’ve encountered, particularly from members of the faculty, have displayed a frightening amount of ignorance, relying on stereotypes, second-hand accounts, and stories from big schools, whose Greek organizations bear little to no resemblance to those here at Knox. I have been told that we are here to learn how to make careful, informed decisions through a skeptical, responsible approach, and I appreciate that this is the intent of the Greek task force. However, no member of the faculty has ever approached us to better understand our character or intentions, save an assistant professor and when we meet with professors they are unfamiliar with the data we have submitted to the Student Life Committee. As I understand it, SLC is the main conduit of information from students to the faculty at large, yet infighting and distrust over this issue have managed to close that channel, effectively rendering our professors deaf and blind to us until the task force reports back. Given this, I am afraid I cannot muster the same sense of forgiveness as many of my professors have had in regards to extensions.

When I was a first-year, one of my professors impressed upon me a very important mission. “Knox is the institution that is providing your education for the next four years. If you see a way to improve it, you are not only empowered but obligated to do so.” I firmly believe that my sisters and I are following his instructions; Knox’s Greek system needs another social sorority. On a campus that is now well over 60% female – now there’s a population percentage for you – it is bizarre to have five fraternities and yet only three sororities. Why should only men enjoy the benefit of having a wide range of organizations to choose from? And how are we to expect to change a system by forcing stagnation upon it?

So for all of our professors who have forgotten, or still don’t know, or might want an update, we are ATP. There are currently ten of us, all seniors or juniors, with a cumulative GPA of 3.4. We expect 15 hours of community service per term from each of our regular members, 20 from those on our executive board; over the last year, we have logged over 1000 hours. We like things like neuroscience, model UN, and World of Warcraft. We make our own pins according to a design one of us learned while working at a Renaissance Faire. We were formed on April 6, 2007 with the tenants Strength, Scholarship, and Service. And we are waiting for you.

Liz Soehngen

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