I take many different perspectives and opinions for many different reasons in class and on the blog. Unless I specify something is my most deeply held opinion, don’t read too much into anything. I do this to 1) spark discussion;2) Push a range of opinions; 3) Obscure my own views so you don’t think you have me “figured out;”4) I am figuring out my own thoughts.
Since I am watching my course evaluations, employment security, and reputation evaporate in front of my eyes (maybe), let me state for the record.
1) I think the CC report was framed in response to a crisis. So, to fault it for not emphasizing the positive is like complaining that the Gulf Oil SPill commission didn’t talk about how beautiful the beaches of FL are.
2) The data in the CC report is mostly sound. There may be problems of representation in the qualitative data. More data is useful. An appendix or second report with more student input and also updates would be useful. But to reject the issues it raises due to some flaws in data is misguided.
3) I do not see the Greek organizations as “evil” or “the devil.” There are important differences in sororities and fraternities. Those must be considered. However, a social system that is by design about creating scarcity and inclusion-exclusion dynamics will affect individuals and the context that shapes behavior. It is a profound socializing experience. Also, the Greek system as is seems most central in shaping access to alcohol and relationships/sexual encounters. To tell me it is most centrally about GPAs or philanthropy or making friends, especially for the fraternities (because of their access to space more than gender, I think) just does not seem honest. It seems like a rationalization.
3.5) To whit, as good management students who I expect to have good social scientist skills, you must be able to step outside of this system and see how it affects individuals and the context of behavior.
4) The argument that Bucknell “must” have the Greek system as is for anyone to have “fun” seems laughably flawed to me.
4) Being a non-athlete, independent seems like a pretty grim social experience here.
5) I know of no conspiracy among faculty to ban the Greek system. Although, I did forget that the “possibility” of banning it was in the report.
6) The ways that Bucknell dances around the legal drinking age, being a residential college, trying to be responsive to students, and trying not to piss off alumni makes for some odd organizational policies and routine behaviors. The whole system seems to either be a cause or an accelerating factor in the extension of adolesence. We are becoming the helicopter university as an extension of helicopter parents. I, personally, do not like it. I want to be able to treat you always as adults and if not equals, at least peers in the class and community who have many common causes.
7) Binge drinking is a problem. I wonder about alcoholism.
8) Sexual behaviors are a problem.
9) There are seven bars in Lewisburg, not three.
10) As a junior faculty member, I already feel too pulled into all of this discussion. Between my own family and doing research, what happens with the Greek system, with engagement, with campus climate, with gender dynamics, and all of that is jsut not somethign I have much control over or can invest much in.
11) I think too much is asked of student athletes.
12) I find it tragic that I have advised at least five or six students in the last three years who were great individuals who left because they did not see a life for themselves here that would be good if they chose not to go Greek.
13) There should be more hand-holding.
14) There should be more weird haircuts, body piercings, tatoos, and peculiar fashion choices.
15) You all are too risk averse about life and too risk tolerant about what you put in your bodies.
16) I enjoy all of you as people; however, some of the behaviors I see or read about are appalling or horrifying.
17) I went to a small(er) more in the middle of nowhere that was ALWAYS non-Greek and we had lots of fun. I am not saying that Bucknell will or should become more like that place (Carelton if you care).
18) I think it is weird you talk about grades so much. I almost never talked about grades in college.
19) All students should go abroad.
20) THreats to withhold donations as alumni to help other students get an education here are like drinking-extortion. Your total education, for EVERYONE is higher than the sticker price. You stand on the shoulders of those who came before and this place is about education. Whether or not you get a damn mug or whether or not some administrator strikes you as an ass is like 1% of what this place is about and the 99% is about what you are learning. TO deny what has been given to you over this crap is petty. To threaten to is petty.
21) At the end of the day, i wish I could get the Bobby McFerrin song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” playing in your heads all the time. Life is good, short, and sweet. You are blessed to be in a place where learning, knowledge, community, and exploration are at your fingertips. That is what matters. There is always beer.