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At What Other School...?

Amy Fisher

“At what other school...?” This is a phrase that we’ve all said at least once, and there are an infinite number of variants: At what other school could you walk from one end of campus to the other and never step outside? At what other school can you list all of your classes and classrooms without once uttering a word of the English language? At what other school do students play intramural soccer against a team called Math or Chemical Engineering?

I relish these quirks for the uniqueness that they bring to our school. Unfortunately, though, I have recently added a sadder one to my repertoire that makes me ashamed for us, for the things that some people are capable of doing to their fellow students: At what other school are students so severely pitted against one another that they can spend their time trying to kick each other out of their own living groups?

As some people might be aware, MIT students living at the Delta Kappa Epsilon house are in the process of being kicked out of their home in a crusade led by other MIT students.

It seems to me that in the responsible groups’ eagerness to lord over others who they should be respecting and treating as equals, a very vindictive and somewhat absurd punishment has been delivered. There are many appropriately irritating and inconveniencing ways of punishing the infraction that DKE -- and certainly others, unnoticed -- committed that might perhaps interfere with their alcohol practices, and not with their lives as students. And it cannot be argued that this major relocation won’t have adverse academic effects; I personally know many brothers of another fraternity that suffered the same fate, and almost all of them has had to, as a result, take from one to four extra semesters to complete their degree program.

A more mature punishment would have respected the fact that the fraternity system is not its own entity, that it is a social organization within an actual college, which we all attend and suffer through together. Rather than banding together to try and make this a better place to live in, it seems to me that some fraternity members are instead spending all their energy on making it harder for some people to get by in this place where it is already hard enough.

We all know how brain-wrenchingly difficult it is to survive at the Institute. I think we can all imagine how little time and sanity students have to completely uproot and start searching for a new home in the dead middle of a semester. Somewhere, in our transformation from a unified body of students to a very fractionated group of F’s, S’s, ILGs, and dorms, we have lost sight of the fact that we are all in this together.

Amy Fisher is a member of the class of 2005.