Alumnus recalls favorable fraternity experiences
(Editor's note: The Tech received a copy of this letter addressed to Provost John M. Deutch '61.)
In recent issues of The Tech, which I receive on a lifetime basis as a former general manager, I have received the impression that freshmen may be prohibited from living in a fraternity during their freshman year. I fervently hope this will not come to pass, and I write to emphasize my conviction.
When I came to MIT as a bewildered freshman from a small Alabama high school in 1940, I was invited to stay in the Delta Tau Delta fraternity upon arrival. I did so, joined (without pressure) and remained there until the day I graduated. I later lived in a dormitory for two years while working for my PhD and I feel I have the experience to compare fraternities and dormitories.
As an unsophisticated freshman, I found the warm friendship, sound counsel, support and other resources of the fraternity to be invaluable. Without these, I might not have made it past the first year (pass/fail did not exist then). However, I was on the Dean's list every semester and received a William Barton Rogers Award (then made for "outstanding services").
There was never any vestige of the "Animal House" aspect Hollywood likes to inflict on fraternities. On the contrary, our group was a dedicated, hard-working, mutually supportive group of fine young men.
The possible lack of democracy in fraternity choices always has troubled me, but the answer, I hope, might lie in making the advantages available to any student who wishes them rather than in curtailing them seriously by artificial and unnecessary rulings.
Lamar Field '44->