JULIAN WYLLIE | Columnist
The way Butler University handles alcohol related incidents with Greeks does not appear to fit the crime. Such actions has established an “administration versus Greeks” conflict.
The drinking age in the United States is 21. In addition the law, Butler University is a “wet” campus and allows alcohol to be consumed and distributed on campus at university-sponsored events by a third party vendor.
But of course, it appears that the rules are not being followed, as one should expect.
Realistically, underage students will consume alcohol even though these actions are illegal.
Tanner Crandall, the President of Sigma Chi’s chapter at Butler, believes that the university is in a precarious position.
On one hand, the administration must punish Greek houses in particular for misconduct related to drinking. But on the other, there are unforeseen consequences of the implemented punishments.
Sigma Chi has been put on probation due to multiple offenses related to drinking, and an alleged hazing incident.
“We had a couple of incidents in the fall that caused us to go on probation. A couple alcohol related violations of university policy… They think the leadership is lacking.”
As a result of the violations, pledges of the fraternity have been barred from association with the house.
But is it fair to punish the pledges?
Crandall thinks that the pledges would have great ideas on how to fix issues in the future.
“We want to get to a situation where we can work for the better, but it’s hard when we cannot participate,” Crandall said.
A rift has appeared to form between the administration and Greek community. On a small campus like Butler, such a rift is not acceptable and can appear unfair.
A university official will report a case and it later becomes their word against the house.
If context is misinterpreted or ignored, an inappropriate and excessive punishment can be applied. That may lower the house’s incentive to do better later on.
The investigation process for alleged offenses goes through a hierarchy involving campus police, the student conduct office, the office of Greek life and student affairs. While the administration’s intentions may be good, the accused have said they do not feel like they have the opportunity to makes its case for innocence.
”It almost feels like you are more guilty until you prove yourself innocent—there is so much more to the story that never gets uncovered,” Crandall said.
It is important that trust be restored between the parties.
For starters, a more transparent system may alleviate the issues. Greek houses will feel like the process has more legitimacy.
Also, the guidelines related to student conduct ought to be reviewed and possibly altered to improve life on campus.
The student handbook implies that swift punishment will be given to those who do not follow every rule to the letter of the law.
However, it would be better to create incentives and later reward Greek houses for the positive things they do.
Lastly, the Butler community needs to be more informed about all matters related to alcohol consumption. While it is true that the drinking age is 21, our perception of the issues can change.
Red Cup Culture put on by members of the Red Cup Culture team, was created to identify community expectations to make healthier choices related to the risks and consequences of alcohol consumption.
But the program is only required for new students to the university.
Some students will consume alcohol regardless of anyone’s objections to the matter.
The only way to remedy concerns is to have more open and honest reflections of what has happened and what can occur in the future.
The first way to fix a problem is to acknowledge it.
Now that the university has seen what has not worked, it is time for the administration to explore better solutions.