The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 56.0°F | Overcast and Breezy

Column Perpetuated Fraternity Stereotypes

Column Perpetuated Fraternity Stereotypes

On page 7 of the March 12 issue of The Tech, under the eye-catching headline "Dry R/O Week Would Lead to Downfall of Fraternity System," A. Arif Husain presents his views on alcohol consumption during Residence and Orientation Week. However the piece doesn't concern itself with rush. Instead, it is a confused condemnation of fraternity life steeped in sarcasm to the point that its real meaning, if it ever had one, is lost.

Under the guise of a discussion of R/O Week, Husain presents us with his view that "it is a clear and indisputable fact that booze is the lifeblood of our fraternity system." He further illustrates his point: "A frat without a keg is like an ocean without water." There are other choice quotes in the same vein, but these are typical. Does this drivel even qualify as sarcasm? There is no irony here; nothing suggests it. To the contrary. Husain supports the view that fraternities exist only to drink even in the "serious" part of his article where he sums up that "freshmen need to be made aware of how the fraternity system is inevitably based on alcohol,' as Interfraternity Council President Jason D. Pride '97 admits how they actually decide should be left up to them."

The debate on alcohol during R/O Week is a valid one, as is the debate on underage drinking at MIT. Husain presents an unsubstantiated attack on MIT fraternities which deals with neither of these issues. I am offended by his reduction of the fraternity experience to an extended drunken torpor. In fact it does promote social interaction and brotherhood among men with or without alcohol. In addition, maintaining an autonomous self-governed collective requires assuming leadership, being responsible for one's actions, sacrificing for others, and dealing with the differences among people. As is typical of detractors of fraternities, Husain makes the sweeping comments of an outsider who has not taken the time to understand the system he is criticizing. His article serves no purpose but to perpetuate the unwarranted stereotype of fraternities as drinking clubs.

Radu T. Aghinii '98