The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

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Editorial: Administration too power-hungry to realize realities

The University prides itself on its extremely high alumni salary ranking: fourth among liberal arts schools across the nation, according to the Huffington Post. In many senses, it is doing what it is designed to do in a social context—prepare students to succeed in a capitalist culture. Why, then, are they implementing rules and regulations to degrade this dynamic?

In a recent study conducted by University seniors Chandler Hoopes and Morgan Beeson, a direct correlation between socializing and post-graduation income levels was found. These findings leave us to wonder why the administration would continuously attempt to minimalize the Greek presence—the most prevalent social outlet on campus—and to make stricter rules against holding parties on campus.

While we are not saying that students should go out every weekend and binge drink, we are saying that going out on a Friday or Saturday night does, in fact, cultivate important life skills. In light of this fact, The Bucknellian staff cannot help but notice an exponential increase in busted parties this past school year.

What’s more, this increase certainly does not reflect students’ actions; Public Safety has grown more aggressive, but students have not become more obvious. For example, a Greek date party should not be busted for reasons such as, “we heard clinking bottles” (over the loud music of the party? Really?).

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Even though the house is registered, Public Safety still possesses the power to come in and break up a social event that without a doubt teaches students valuable lessons about interacting with people. That is something they will need later in life just as much as knowledge of engineering or biology.

With the heightening of these strict policies, the administration is only harming itself. In an effort to cleanse this university, it is in fact watering down the life skills students will learn.

Consider the school ranked as number two on the alumni salary list, Colgate.  According to collegeprowler.com’s college report card, Colgate’s Greek life receives an “A+.” It also provides comparable Greek life in other schools. First on the list reads “Bucknell University, A+.”

Clearly, there exists a strong relationship between socializing and success in the real world. We are not implying that students should forgo studying for partying, but they should be allowed to go out on the weekends without endless pursuit from police and Public Safety.

The University needs to ask themselves soon what is actually important, and what its role really is in developing students. Is it to impose totalitarian order, or is it to prepare students for success? The answer is easy, but the administration has become too powerful to accept it.

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  • A

    airmeyersFeb 18, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    I have sent the following letter to the paper:

    To the Editor,

    The editorial, Administration too Power-hungry to realize realities, presents an argument that is logically invalid. Moreover, even if we revise the argument to make it valid, its premises ignore the complexity of the issue. The editorial’s argument is as follows:

    1) The University should be designed to prepare students to succeed in our capitalist society.

    2) In a recent study it was found that there is a correlation between socializing and post-graduation income levels.

    3) Greek life promotes socializing.

    4) Restrictions on Greek life will lower the post graduation income levels of students.

    5) Restrictions on Greek are against what the university is designed to do.

    The reason this argument is invalid is because in confuses correlation with causation. The same students who socialize happen to be the same students who become high earners. This doesn’t at all imply that socializing will result in one becoming a higher earner. It could mean that there exists some third factor- such as being an affluent person- which causes you to socialize at a higher rate and to become a high earner. The editor might revise clause 2 with a more plausible, and logically valid claim, such as: networking causes a student to be a higher earner. However once such a correction is made it becomes clear that Greek life, while it might promote networking, is certainly not the only way to do it- study groups also promote networking.

    Clause 1 ignores the complexity of the university’s mission. A liberal arts university is not specifically designed to provide vocational training and its success should not by based solely on the wealth of its alumni- it’s mission is much more complex. It should at least offer students knowledge in a broad range of subjects, and promote research. This is not to say that frat parties don’t offer some sort of knowledge and that they could not be a fruitful area in which to conduct research. Although frat parties probably wont teach you how to distinguish between valid and invalid arguments.

    All that said, I do in some ways agree with the editor. The University should not restrict Greek life, but it shouldn’t support it either. It might be better if Greek houses were not on university property, if there were no dean of Greek life- instead I might suggest a scholarship for a student interested in studying the Greek language and culture- and public safety wasn’t monitoring Greek houses. The University might be better off if it treated students like citizens and left such monitoring to our societal infrastructures that are designed for it- the law and police.

    Reply
  • T

    Tracy LumFeb 17, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    To add to Rob Duffy’s point, the editorial board’s argument is riddled with fallacies and loose connections.

    First, I question the premise that socialization and post-graduation income levels are directly correlated. I am dubious about these reported studies, since statistics can be easily manipulated, and as a former Econ 341 student, I’ve seen how these studies are conducted and how the results can be misconstrued. Indeed, the power of socialization when it comes to networking should not be underestimated, but when people are given jobs based on nepotism rather than merit, I believe we have a larger issue on our hands.

    Moreover, success does not necessarily translate to higher income levels, and perhaps we are not focusing on the right issue. Success should be based on making a positive contribution to society, and this is not something that is necessarily quantifiable. Universities are a place to socialize and make friends, sure, but they are also a place to learn to make a real difference for the betterment of our world. You argue that partying is teaching you important socialization skills. Is learning how to grope a woman on a dance floor or perfecting your beer pong shot going to help you make the world a better place? I say no.

    And Public Safety, I tip my hat to you because you are driving change at the University. Continue cracking down on out-of-control parties because it is your duty. You are not “watering down the life skills students will learn,” you are keeping them safe and teaching them accountability. I believe that the points system offers students too wide of a safety net, and in a perfect world, I would do away with it.

    In addition, I think it is awfully narcissistic of the editorial board to even think that the University actually wants to impose totalitarian order. The administration is comprised of very competent and intelligent individuals who are doing all within their power to make the University a better place – by educating you, by keeping you safe. To characterize these people as power-hungry is to illustrate how very out-of-touch with reality many students can be. This isn’t about breaking up a party because some kids are afraid or jealous of how much fun you’re having; it’s about keeping the campus safe and civil. Public Safety is not hunting you down on the weekends for their benefit.

    This entire editorial makes me question what the environment at Bucknell is like nowadays. If you want to party, go ahead and do it, but don’t argue that the administration cramping your party style is hindering your potential future income level. It’s sheer absurdity.

    Tracy Lum
    Former Editor-in-Chief Fall 2010

    Reply
  • G

    GSFeb 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    I am thoroughly shocked by this article. Though you say that you are not encouraging binge drinking, think about the reality of a Friday or Saturday night. How many people go out with the mindset of just having a drink or two?

    I would agree that socializing can increase certain skills that are helpful in the workplace, but what Bucknellians often do on weekends is NOT socializing.

    Learning how to communicate and express your opinions without the aid of a couple of beers is a real social skill that some Bucknellians need to develop and I feel like campus is coming up with more inciting non-alcoholic events, taking people away from the frat houses. In my opinion, getting more events like this is a step in the right direction and will be much more effective at developing the skills you claim students can gain by dancing to hip-hop in a sweaty basement.

    Reply
  • R

    Rob DuffyFeb 17, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    At this point last year we were complaining about how the University wasn’t doing enough to combat binge drinking (see http://bucknellian.blogs.bucknell.edu/2011/02/16/drinking-on-campus/). It frustrates me to see that, now that Public Safety is actually starting to do something for once, the paper’s response is to make ridiculous claims about the University’s desire to “impose totalitarian order.”

    Socializing is obviously a good thing and should be encouraged, because, as you point out, the ability to interact comfortably with people is an invaluable life skill that’s critically important in the work world. But it’s disingenuous to suggest that, with all of the problems that are brought about by Greek parties (you know what I’m talking about, you’ve read the campus climate report, and you’re blind if you insist that there isn’t at least some truth in there), the University should turn a blind eye to them just because they provide an outlet to socialize. It’s not as if you HAVE to go to a fraternity party to socialize. You can join a club you like and go to that club’s events. You can go out to a basketball game, Bingo at the Caf, BU After Dark, or other University-sponsored events. You can go out to meet a bunch of friends at Seventh Street. You can go to a Game Night or something like that somewhere, or you can make your own. You can go out to a CHOICE event. You can go out to whatever event Uptown is holding (including Pub Night, because I’m not saying that alcohol is intrinsically bad). The University could do a better job of providing alternative events, but these events don’t not exist, and it’s not as if people can’t create their own opportunities for fun and develop people skills along the way. The point is that it’s entirely possible to learn to socialize without ever stepping foot in the basement of a fraternity, that opportunities to do this do exist outside the Greek system, and that this is as it should be. Fraternity parties have a place on campus, but they shouldn’t have to be the entirety of the campus social scene, and even if they are, they shouldn’t be exempt from having to face consequences when they get out of control.

    “The University needs to ask themselves soon what is actually important, and what its role really is in developing students,” this editorial claims. How about keeping them alive? The number of hospitalizations due to overuse of alcohol is astronomical and hasn’t gotten any better since John Stevenson wrote that article last year. It’s not even underage drinking that’s the problem so much as the out-of-control binge drinking that takes place at this University at least three times per week. I know these problems aren’t unique to this campus, but the fact is, if campus climate continues on as it has for the four years I’ve been here, eventually someone is going to die. All the administration wants to do is take every measure necessary to prevent that from happening.

    This editorial strikes me as another example of the Greek system’s continued refusal to take any responsibility for its actions whatsoever. You mention that “students have not become more obvious,” but this is only because they were REALLY obvious in the first place; the difference is that, now, something is being done about it.

    Maybe if the fraternities could keep the parties under control, Public Safety would’t need to raid them, and then we could have the best of both worlds: a venue that provides opportunity for social interaction and all the good things that come out of that, without encouraging people to drink until they destroy themselves.

    Rob Duffy
    Former Editor-in-Chief of The Bucknellian (Spring 2011)

    Reply