Should we allow a social fraternity at UD?

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Patrick Berry and John Yarbrough write in favor of the fraternity.

We truly believe the University of Dallas does an exceptional job of educating students in logic. Before we begin to address the concerns raised at our town hall meetings in regard to fraternity life, we would like to point out some of the positive aspects of such an organization. Fraternities provide a structured way of developing a young man’s moral character and professional demeanor. Our fraternity is no exception to that. Alpha Delta Gamma has five values that it aims to promote: spirituality, scholasticism, service, school spirit and sociality. We are affirmed by our belief and devotion to these “5 S’s” that this structure will help turn out great men for a greater UD community.

We fear that the stereotype of the fraternity man is generally perceived negatively on this campus. We hope to show you that this thinking is misguided. We ask that those with such a perception of fraternity men not judge Alpha Delta Gamma as if it were any old fraternity at some state school; we are UD men forming a branch of a Catholic fraternity that was first created in response to this negative stereotype of a fraternity.

We are forming this brotherhood exactly as we want it to be, with control over how it will develop as well as with overwhelming support from the national organization. Our survival on this campus is contingent upon continued approval from our national office and from the administration at UD. This system of checks and balances will ensure that we, as well as our future generations, continue to demonstrate what the “5 S’s” demand of us.

For people to say that we cannot form our organization, which is completely in line with the university’s policies and mission, seems a bit hypocritical and sets a dangerous precedent. We are, at large, a very conservative school. What if I think that a Young Democrats Club would be of no value to the university and perceive it as being damaging to the school as a whole, including the “UD brand”? Are my opinion and perception enough reason to make sure that that club doesn’t exist? Absolutely not. The Young Democrats would be entitled to their club, as we are entitled to ours. To those who do not know the details of ADG’s policies and aims, I urge you to do research before you judge. To those who have heard us out and still oppose, I guess we cordially disagree. However, we have the same rights as all students.

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Taylor Posey argues against ADG being permitted at UD.

I will not introduce any stereotypes of Greek life (as the proponents of the fraternity so charmingly put it, “we are not about that”), and I refuse to mention how nice fraternity membership may look on a resume, or to quote the ever-accommodating Urban Dictionary, which describes ADG thus: “Borderline alcoholism and the mass genocide of brain cells are inevitable, but easily countered with the amazing connections and new experiences granted upon every member of the holy fraternity.” I would, however, ask two rather honest questions: How many of the founders for this chapter of ADG, and of the expected members, are business or economics majors? And what exactly does the fraternity have to do with the liberal arts, no doubt the quintessence of UD?

I listened attentively to the fraternity’s very dull PowerPoint and clever “Five S’s” (the fraternity’s programme), e.g. one of them, “the Scholastic,” here a shady modicum of how UD defines education. One can abide in the “Five S’s” for a thousand years and still end up a tremendous dolt; and while the only sort of comments following the presentation were decent objections against the fraternity, I quite suspect – what is the most important objection – that the fraternity, if permitted, will contribute to the university one more grade of the drab, semi-literate and singularly boorish condition already so well propagated by the secular and unimaginative.

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Elizabeth Lynch reasons against the fraternity.

The possible positive effects of the Alpha Delta Gamma fraternity do not outweigh the negative possibilities.

Merely having Greek life (no matter its caliber) on campus could be off-putting to many prospective and current students. It could also open the door to more fraternities or sororities on campus, and we might soon find ourselves polemically divided between Greeks and non-Greeks. Additionally, the small size of our campus already fulfills the desire to have a close-knit community – a main reason for fraternities at large universities. That being said, we already have cliques, and a fraternity would be more likely to increase factionalism than camaraderie among students.

The scholastic aspect proposed by ADG is already covered by the tutors on campus in nearly every department and by the GPA minimum required of the many scholarship-holding students on campus.

The spiritual aim is currently fulfilled by many Campus Ministry programs, like Men’s Ministry; several unofficial student-initiated groups, including many who meet daily or weekly to pray the rosary and the Liturgy of the Hours; and many clubs on campus, especially the Knights of Columbus.

There are already many service opportunities, namely through Crusaders for Life, Crusaders for Kids, Best Buddies and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul; adding another organization could perhaps detract from these established and successful clubs.

There is indeed a need for more school spirit on this campus; but wouldn’t a group dedicated to supporting athletics be more effective due to its specific scope? And wouldn’t this kind of group come without worry over reputation?

The main argument against the fraternity is its social aspect. Firstly, there is the risk that this fraternity will not always be “done well,” even if it begins that way. Metaphorically speaking, it could become a UD-affiliated “Old Mill Circus” on Groundhog Day. I do not think this concern is unwarranted. If the plan is to host parties off-campus, as was stated during the Student Government meeting, underage drinking and excessive drinking could very easily occur, along with all of the dangerous behavior that follows. The proposal for a bartender and controlled alcohol at parties off-campus is naïve and unrealistic, both financially and practically speaking.

For these reasons, the fraternity would not contribute enough to campus to compensate for the detriment it would cause to the UD culture.

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Linda Smith argues why ADG would encourage more service activites among the students.

One key point from the opposition in Tuesday’s town hall-style meeting regarding the possible addition of a fraternity was that several clubs already fulfill the potential goals of the fraternity, and thus it would be a superfluous, negative addition to our school.

Since many of the projects the fraternity would partake in involve some sort of charitable action, it sounds as though some students are putting a limit on the amount of charity we as a university should participate in.

Charity is neither a competition between groups, nor something that should have a limit set by people. When a problem arises, people should be willing to rise up and assist to the best of their abilities. In high school, I participated in an honor society that had a minimum service-hour requirement each semester. Not only did many of us participate in several service projects, but most people went above and beyond the requirements to help our local community. We should embrace more organizations with a similar system that will benefit and add to the Irving/Las Colinas and DFW areas.

I’m not familiar with any policy the fraternity has about service requirements, but a system like the one above would not detract from the efforts of other clubs and organizations at our university.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Has this been discussed with or brought to the attention of any Alumni? I am interested in the origins of this ongoing debate and how exactly it has come about.

  2. “Fraternities provide a structured way of developing a young man’s moral character and professional demeanor.”

    As far as I’m concerned, you should definitely have already developed those qualities by the time you reach UD. What was high school for, and 18 years under your parents’ roof after all? A good University is a place where you are given more freedom to apply and expand upon your principles; you should not be geting them there for the first time. This is what Aristotle says in the Nicomachean Ethics which we all read at UD, that only men of serious moral character are ready study the philosophical distinctions behind their ethical lives.

    I don’t think the students at a good school like UD need institutional structures such as frats to develop their moral characters. And to be honest, I find it highly questionable whether the average American frat boy could hold a candle to the character of the people who currently attend the University of Dallas, a school (so far) without that instituion

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