Referendum is the beginning of debate

by Nicole Artzer | 11/16/93 6:00am

Ever since Student Assembly announced the eferendum on single-sex houses in the Greek system, there has been a renewed debate about the best approach in discussing social options.

I think this is a good thing. But I find much of the information on which criticisms of the Assembly's handling of the vote are based to be inaccurate. I'd like to clear up some misconceptions.

First, the referendum was not the climax of discussion on the Greek system. Nor is it the end of our efforts to gauge student opinion on Greek houses.

Rather, the referendum is the beginning of debate and exploration on our social life as a whole -- a point of orientation from which we can move forward in a specifically qualitative manner.

Just as every scientific experiment has two kinds of data, quantitative and qualitative, both of which are equally important, the Assembly's research of student opinion is also two-pronged. The referendum may be considered quantitative, in that it is gauging how a number of students feel about a specific and pointed question. The shades of opinion, different suggestions and range of reactions will be evaluated in the qualitative part of our research -- the debate and discussion series.

While a one-question referendum is unlikely to field every possible response to an issue, the discussion series is charged with doing just that. "Men and Women and the CFS" will be an extremely comprehensive, nine-part series that will strive to collect as much information and promote as much exchange between as many members of the community as possible.

Each event is open to every student, faculty member and administrator. Every remark will be noted.

Of the nine events, three will be held in Greek-letter houses, five will be held in dormitories and the last public forum will be held in Webster Hall. I hope that everyone will take advantage of the variety of opportunities to make their voices heard.

I am grateful to those who took part in the referendum, but the issue will not be resolved if concerned students do not continue to take part in the campus debate on our social system.

Nicole Artzer '94 is president of the Student Assembly

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