To the Editor:
I am neither surprised nor dismayed by Dean Barnhardt or Dean Redman's words or actions. Their quotes indicate an administration that is completely at odds with any student involvement in developing the future social institutions of campus. It smacks of the consistent stupidity and blundering machinations which have been so prevalent of the administration in the past, that it is almost becoming comical. But the issue here is not how inept the administration is or how underhanded, dishonest and sleazy these policies are, it's simply a matter of private property rights and fair representation.
The deans' statements make it clear that they do not consider this a matter for discussion. That's unilateral action, and there's no way to weasel around that. Saying that student involvement was there for the Student Life Initiative Steering Committee is completely misleading. Students on that board do not represent the landowners of each privately held house nor do they have the power to. That power can only come through legal documentation. This would be like saying that because the U.S. talked to Egypt and Jordan, they have representation for the Palestinians in peace negotiations. It doesn't take an Ivy League student to see where that argument falls apart. Strange that deans of an Ivy League school seem to ignore or fail to comprehend that fact.
The Greek system is far from perfect, but it is a system that has legitimate support from the student body. It has acceded to many of the demands placed on it by the College. In fact, I cannot recall once in the past five years when it has not accommodated a College request. This is not a healthy relationship. It is like appeasing a bully. It will ultimately lead to a very large fight. It is time for the college to start making concessions. It is time to start true negotiations and dialogue. There is something called a BATNA in management. It is the Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. It would not be in anyone's interest to force the Greek houses to start looking at their BATNAs.
Finally on the subject of private property, if I want to have a beer on my back lawn that's my business. Assuming I am of age and do not break any LAWS. I emphasize laws since it is the Town of Hanover to which private property owners must answer. You can't have a beer in front of Mass Row because it's COLLEGE PROPERTY. Who exactly is the College to dictate to a 21-year-old PROPERTY OWNER what he or she can or cannot do on their own land? Maybe it's just the fact that the College can't control that land that irks them. It must be galling not to be able to monitor the behavior of College students 24 hours a day. Let me know when S&S gets to walk through President Wright's house unannounced; then we can talk about them entering privately owned houses.