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Blau Presents Skewed Perception of FSILGs

Blau Presents Skewed Perception of FSILGs

In response to the column by Stacey E. Blau '98 ["Hypocritical Fraternities Embarrass MIT," Feb. 25], I feel that Blau has presented a skewed perception of MIT fraternities to the public. I find it interesting first of all that the author admits to having "never [gone] to a frat party" and yet proceeds to provide an extensive examination of fraternities based upon stereotypes and first-hand research from analytical commentaries such as Animal House.

Blau claims that "Greek Week is to a large extent a weekend-long drinking fest." And yet, I seem to recall many Greek Week events such as the chicken wing eating contest, the Greek Week Ball, the fund-raiser for the Cambridge Family and Children's Services (a charity for orphans and abused children), and the newly introduced community service day. In fact, the Greek Week Co-Chair Waleed Anbar '99 is quoted as saying that the emphasis in events has moved away from alcohol ["Greek Week Focuses on Social, Community Events," Sept. 24, 1996].

So, perhaps, there is a little bit of truth to the statement that fraternity life is about service and brotherhood.

Blau also asserts that one thing that ties the fraternities together is the absence of intelligent conversation. I find this a bit hard to swallow given that we are all at one of the nation's best universities. But, then again, I suppose the Admissions Office is not perfect. Perhaps 50 percent of the male MIT undergraduate population are complete morons. Perhaps not.

Blau also asserts that fraternity social events are generally centered around sex. I find this to be quite an amazing discovery for a person who admits she has never been to a fraternity party. Furthermore, the author presents no evidence for this erroneous claim with the possible exception of the Delta Kappa Epsilon homepage with pictures of girls in "low-cut dresses" (an obvious indication of wild sexual activity).

I am thoroughly confused by Blau's statement that fraternities rule Residence and Orientation Week, given the long lists of Interfraterntiy Council regulations that are imposed on fraternities every year. For example, just this last year, the IFC collected $5,375 in rush violation fines. In fact, the dormitories were at an advantage this year since they were not forced to use the Clearinghouse system.

However, what disturbed me the most about the article was the misquote of Jason D. Pride '97 of saying that "fraternity life is based on alcohol.'" In reality, the quote was "Even though [a completely dry rush] is a really beautiful idea, it would seem to me an idealistic goal to have the fraternities not based on alcohol." The two statements are nowhere near similar in connotation.

In my opinion, it is not the fraternity system that is one of MIT's most embarrassing sides, but rather it is those students who believe they know everything there is to know about fraternity life without ever once experiencing it. If the ethics and morality of the individuals in the 30-some fraternities is going to be judged by the actions of one individual, then perhaps MIT students are a bit more ignorant than they may think.

Murthy Mathiprakasam '00