Last Tuesday the Homecoming theme for 2011 was announced, teams were paired, and celebrations were had. However, only one component is still missing: an Independent Council team.
We at The Butler Collegian think the exclusion of an IC team from Homecoming is unfair.
Butler University administrators need to give independents more ownership of Homecoming and other campus events throughout the year.
The PuLSE Office denied IC’s request to be considered a group to participate in Homecoming. Instead, independents will be grouped by their residence halls to participate in Homecoming events.
Although IC and other independent students are technically still ‘invited’ to attend Homecoming as part of their residence halls, they feel less welcome because they don’t have anything else to identify with but the buildings they live in.
Butler claims that all students are welcome to participate in Homecoming activities and constantly reassures students that Greek students do not dominate the campus. However, this is just another instance of the administration’s hypocrisy on the issue of Greeks versus independents.
While Greek houses have the opportunity to collaborate with other fraternities and sororities about making floats and lawn decorations for Homecoming, independents are lumped in with their residence halls.
If IC was allotted its own group for Homecoming, it is likely that more students would participate since they all identify under one title rather than members of various residence halls on campus.
However, during Spring Sports Spectacular, IC was given their own team. We thought that would set a precedent for them to have their own team for Homecoming as well.
Unfortunately, the PuLSE Office didn’t agree with IC’s proposal, even after they petitioned rigorously to be made into their own team for Homecoming.
Butler is not a large school, so there is not much room for exclusion of students who are not members of Greek houses. If Butler wants to maintain the close relationship that is cultivated on this campus, then administrative officials need to incorporate independent students as well as Greek students into massive campus-wide events, such as Homecoming.
How does Butler expect to keep a tight community when Greek students dominate the campus?
The answer is not to push independent students away from on-campus events.
“I’m exasperated,” Hannah Wysong, an IC executive board member said. “Essentially, this decision directly affects independents, but we have no control over it in the end.”
This lack of an IC team this year is essentially encouraging non-Greek students to simply stay home.
It is imperative for the university to make all students feel comfortable and welcome at on-campus events and to avoid Greek favoritism.
Administrative officials and members of the PuLSE Office should have weighed the pros and cons of this issue more before deciding to continue to place independent students with their respective residence halls.
Hopefully this year’s Homecoming will make it obvious to all involved that independents are a necessary part of the student body, and more of a fight should be put up for their expanded participatory rights in school events.