Fraternities Fulfill A Social Need
The tragic death of Scott S. Krueger '01 at Phi Gamma Delta has been felt deeply by the entire MIT community, including its alumni. As MIT alumni and brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon, we were particularly touched and saddened by Krueger's death.
The irresponsible act of consuming alcohol beyond excess to the point of death cannot ever be excused or cast aside with a shrug of indifference. At MIT and at all other colleges and universities around the country, students, the faculty, administrators, and parents need to find better ways to educate themselves on alcohol abuse. The focus should broaden to include the social pressures and social responsibilities faced by young men and women when they enter college.
In the wake of tragedies like Krueger's death, there is a need to place blame - to assign responsibility to a specific entity or institution so that we can assuage our own feelings of guilt or remorse. The standard reaction to Krueger's death is the vilification of fraternities. While Fiji must examine its own role in this incident, it was the actions of individuals that caused this tragedy, not the existence of fraternities. To conclude that such tragedies would not occur in the absence of fraternities is blind and dangerous logic.
Fraternities were created by people to satisfy the human need to associate and socialize with others having the same interests and ideas. Different groups with different social needs, ideas, and interests form different associations, and this is appropriate, since not everyone fits into every group.
Fraternities offer one type of socialization for students, and their persistence in the college environment is evidence that the need for such associations still exists. The dormitories on campus offer alternate socialization opportunities and identity, but there is no way to definitively state that one type of housing is superior to another. Delete fraternities, and similar groups will sprout forth with different names but the same necessary functions.
Peter J. Gasparini '88
David Cote '89
Xavier R. Sarabia '89
and 41 other Sip Ep alumni