Letter to the Editor: Negative Attitude Towards Greek Community is Misled

It is clear that the Scout is extremely against Bradley University aiding the Greeks for fire safety, but it seems that there are some inaccurate preconceived notions.  Greek organizations are not giant parties.  They have membership fees, committee structures, budgets, fundraising, and service hours, just like other campus organizations.

The tone of last week’s editorial was very pessimistic about the Greeks.  Saying that a third of the campus is Greek and that they “do a lot for the campus and community” does not mask the overpowering negativity communicated.  Fraternities and Sororities are not “waiting for a handout”.  In fact, they’re doing the exact opposite.

I do not believe that anyone has ever considered Bradley University to be a “bank”.  If it were, my chapter would have taken out a big chunk of change to replace the retro cheese-wedge that we currently reside in.

To condescendingly say that Fraternities and Sororities are “stuck up a creek without a paddle by their predecessors’ inability to plan for this deadline” and accuse them of being unable to stick to a payment plan is ridiculous and insulting.

Maintaining a financial balance within a Greek organization is not an easy task.  If membership dues are too high, potential members will not join.  Inversely, if dues are too low, the bills cannot be paid.

Also, national organizations do not financially contribute to chapters, the chapters contribute to them.  Approaching a national organization with a “head hung low” asking for “handouts” would not yield positive results.  Some national organizations occasionally help subsidize fire-safety projects, but only by a small margin.

When I was President of my Fraternity, we needed to replace the roof of our chapter house.  The project was estimated at $40,000.  Around the same time, the Peoria Fire Department said that we needed to install a new $12,000 fire system.  The previous semester the roof was fine, and we passed the fire inspection with flying colors.  How could we have planned for over $50,000 for repairs in addition to saving for a sprinkler system?  Sometimes more pressing projects take priority.

It is essential to remember that most chapter houses on Bradley’s campus are old, and require significant financial support to maintain them.  It is difficult to raise money for a sprinkler system when a $15,000 boiler system explodes and needs to be replaced immediately (This happened at a different Fraternity down the street.)

The Greek organizations at BU have not been sitting around scratching their heads about this.  My chapter has been working on a plan to install sprinklers since 2006.  This has included cutting other budgets back, having less programming, increasing alumni relations, and creating new fundraising events.  To assume that the Greeks have been sitting around waiting for a free-ride is wrong.

If we can afford underwater treadmills for a 4-14 MVC team, we can afford to help protect lives.

We are asking for assistance, not a handout.
Eric Steinhardt
Senior
Former VP and President of Pi   Kappa Alpha
Former IFC President