Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Shutting down the fraternity at the University of Vermont is a 'social injustice'

Former president of UVM's Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter Alexander Haller calls it "a social injustice," because it is.

Mr. Haller was referring to the fact that his fraternity was shuttered indefinitely by the national fraternity, with the university's blessing, in the wake of the infamous rape survey.

We've previously reported that the fraternity neither sent out nor sanctioned the infamous question asking "who" the recipient(s) would like to rape. One new frat brother posed the query at issue to a limited fraternity audience. The person or persons to whom the survey was sent refused to answer the question and told the new member who sent it to change it immediately.

According to Vermont Public Radio, Haller says his home away from home, his former fraternity house, was besieged -- by the media, by women's rights groups, and by administrators.

Mr. Haller explained: "I don't know what's going on behind closed doors at UVM, but I feel like they're just looking for any reason to continue to make us look like monsters."

Haller has a good suggestion. Instead of "the whole world" telling the frat brother who wrote the query "in bad taste" that "they hate him because he doesn't get it," the guy could us "some sensitivity training."

Ah, but that's not good enough for the national fraternity, or the University of Vermont. Annie Stevens, director of student and campus life at the university, said she supports Sigma Phi's decision to close down its UVM chapter because of the survey.

If a rogue professor in a department at the university did something similar, no one would suggest shutting down the entire department or cleaning house and bringing in all new professors.  The same with a business in the private sector; a symphony orchestra; or an office of the federal government.

But fraternities are different. Why?  Dr. Warren Farrell explains why -- and he doesn't pull any punches. Mr. Haller is strongly urged to pay close attention to what Dr. Farrell wrote. And after he reads that, he's strongly urged to contact FIRE, because the university's possible role in shutting down the fraternity raises serious First Amendment questions that ought to be addressed.  Here's what Farrell said:

"The freshman male is likely to acquire a new feeling about himself: he is the designated potential perpetrator until proven innocent.

"This message will be reinforced by a barrage of gender courses, the attitudes of a good many faculty, and on many campuses, what Charlotte Allen calls 'the scorched-earth war against fraternities.' The anti-fraternity movement is ostensibly about wantonness and excess (binge-drinking, hazing, date rape), but in reality it’s about erasing the best-known male refuge from the suffocating political correctness on campus and its theory of the evil male.

"The only males likely to escape this pressure are gays, African-Americans, the transgendered, or the harmlessly hetero—docile guys who agree with the standard campus view that males are dangerous. The campus environment is so hostile toward men that it doesn’t allow hostility toward men to be considered a 'hostile environment.' Only established grievance groups get to detect hostile environments."