Butler University welcomed freshmen last week by curtailing their ability to fraternize with other student groups on campus.
All Greek house presidents received an email from Becky Druetzler, director of greek affairs and orientation programs, explaining that there were to be no social gatherings of any nature during Welcome Week.
While this email claimed to be in the spirit of keeping freshmen students on campus, it concerns me that the safety of freshmen may have been jeopardized anyway.
Freshman Maddie Biscocho ended up finding her own entertainment after Welcome Week activities.
“I walked around and explored the campus and neighborhoods,” Biscocho said.
Although Biscocho didn’t involve herself in any dangerous activities, other students might have.
Who is to say that bored freshmen didn’t wander off Butler’s campus looking for something else to do in Indianapolis?
The issue here is bigger than students drinking on campus. It is an issue of safety. It’s crucial that freshmen feel safe to experiment on Butler’s campus, where they have resources and options for help if something were to go wrong.
Irene Stevens, dean of student life, said, “We want to help them in their transition by letting them get acclimated as a group.”
However, how can the freshman class become acclimated if they aren’t allowed to explore the full campus?
Butler frequently has described itself as a bubble. It seems within the first week Butler pushed new students away.
This is bothersome. I understand that Butler wants freshmen to stay engaged in Good Clean Fun activities, but not every student fits that mold. Parties will be thrown and students will attend.
Stevens said the Welcome Week rule has been in place for 15 years. Then why is it being seriously implemented now?
Why is the solution to keep freshmen more focused on the university to shut down 150 student organizations that help these freshmen become involved?
It is claimed that Greeks were targeted in this case because they do not have to apply for an event space. If one were needed, they would be able to use their respective houses.
However, if another non-Greek student organization were to request a room, their request would have been denied.
Welcome Week events, of course, were openly encouraged.
Although the university does provide freshmen with a wealth of activities to participate in during the day, they have their nights to themselves and when there are no other student-led activities, students end up making their own fun.
Fortunately, resident assistants in the various residence halls helped freshmen find things to do at night.
“We did stuff like laundry parties, also known as fountain-hopping,” Biscocho said.
Although it’s good that Butler is still attempting to give freshmen something to do outside of Welcome Week activities, it is important that they continue to include all student organizations along with new students so that freshmen are given a better opportunity to interact with new groups and friends.
While I understand the university’s approach and their desire to keep the freshmen involved in Welcome Week events, shutting down possible outlets of socialization is unacceptable.
After all, Butler constantly preaches that the size of our campus is advantageous. If we don’t allow freshmen to interact with the plethora of groups at their disposal, we are not only hindering their opportunities, we are hindering a chance to tighten the Butler community.