Blanket bans are basically the administrative bandage to
heal cover a series of bad PR events. They’re worse than that, really. They’re action for the sake of action.
The University of Virginia was going by the old administrative playbook of deflection, hand-wringing, and empty gestures to appease the public when they announced their ban on pledging a few weeks ago. Recently, the UVA College Republicans called them on their shitty cop-out.
“In addition to the inadequacy of time given to fraternities for compliance, which itself signifies a lack of consideration of the complexities of Greek planning, we believe that the ‘request’ itself contradicts the University’s cherished principle of student self-governance,” the statement said. “[The mandate also] reflects both the Administration’s mistrust and open hostility toward [the] University’s thriving Greek culture.”
College Republicans 1, Pandering UVA administration, 0. UVA is a pretty conservative and a fairly prestigious school, with a rich history to boot, not to mention a southern culture, so playing to the conservative principles of self-governance and equal application of policy was a solid move. It’s really hard to argue against a statement that pulls things directly from the espoused values of the university.
The Dean of Students, Allen Groves, claims the decision was made “upon concern for student safety.” However, there are 31 IFC chapters (2 provisional) at UVA. A bit of research shows that only a few chapters were causing any safety concerns. That is nowhere near the majority, and no reason to ban the activities of the chapters following previous university policy. Punish the vast majority for the infractions of the few? Not very democratically spirited, UVA.
They should take the advice of the College Republicans in the latter part of their statement:
“It must pursue prudent disciplinary action guided by probable cause, not reckless intrusion guided by blind prejudice. If [these principles] are discarded, we fear … we will lose the proper combination of freedom and responsibility that has made [the University community] unique and prosperous.”