A Note About Social Change

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This is the time for the women’s center at Trinity to really take a stand about social change on this campus. I know that as a group we have our reservations about the new organization of Trinity, however, I do believe that as a collective group we are on board with the fact that Greek Life IS NOT and SHOULD NOT be the only voice that is heard at Trinity. This is a note from one of our most active members of the Women’s Center… I would like this to be a call to action. Please comment below and start a conversation.
The Trustee’s Report came out three weeks ago creating a huge surge in community involvement and activism, as is typical when the administration makes steps towards changing the party/drinking culture at Trinity. However, in the last week the Trinity community has seemed to go back to its normal state of apathy. Time heals all wounds and, at least on the surface, the students have calmed down and are waiting to see just how these changes to Fraternities will affect their personal lives. This snapshot is extremely different from how the atmosphere at Trinity was two weeks ago, in the midst of forums and meetings and angry discussions about Trinity taking away the integral aspect of students’ social lives. I attended a few minutes of one of the student forums and witnessed, first hand, how downright angry all the speakers were. If you want to get a reaction out of Trinity students, don’t talk about politics, or war, or rape happening on campus, suggest that Fraternities should be co-ed.
I somewhat expected the scene I saw at the student forum, sisters and brothers pointing out various issues this brings up, some more legitimate than others. I understood that the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sisters were upset that their “women’s space” was being infringed upon and that their national charter would be taken away. Others were not so convincing, like a Pike brother pointing out how stupid the trustees and charter committee were to jeopardize the future of the school now that frat brothers won’t donate to the school. I saw all this coming.
What surprised me came 3 days later on Saturday when I went to the Alumni forum. I was surprised to see an equally packed room, filled to the brim and out the door with angry men and women, booing and cheering in waves depending on the comments made by their peers. I was shocked when I heard a graduated brother of the Hall ask for President Jones to resign and even more stunned when one cited Chris Kenny’s rally last Spring as an example of the Trinity community rallying together for something that mattered to everyone. I’m not going to go into all the Chris Kenny speculations and rumors, but I think it is fair to say that that wasn’t something everyone on campus felt a personal connection to and I do not think it should, by any means, be what Trinity students care about when there are sexual assaults happening every weekend, racist comments made in classes and students transferring left and right because there is something about Trinity that makes them want to get out, fast.
This last comment pushed me off the edge and I had to leave the forum. I was so mad, I walked around the LSC Quad twice to calm myself, since I didn’t just want to go to my room to fume there. The thing that made me so mad was that the Trinity College that I go to was not present in that room. I hardly saw any of my friends, or friends of friends. Trinity is divided, some people deeply care about Fraternity culture and want to ‘protect it’, whatever that may mean. Others have different things that motivate them, that take up their time, all the time, not just when the administration makes an announcement about social life at Trinity. There is obviously gray area, brothers and sisters who commit time and energy into community service, and people that aren’t involved in greek life, but still do little extra-curricular work.
In any case, my Trinity¬†was not in the Washington Room that morning, talking to the Trustees and the Charter Committee. We weren’t yelling and clapping and booing expressing our¬†sentiments about what should change at Trinity. I don’t even know whether or not I fully support the new report, but I feel my voice and my friends and allies on campus are not being heard. I know there are serious qualms to be had, unintentional oversights that hurt student organizations that help the social atmosphere. My worry is that those concerns are not being vocalized, or heard, or addressed and that Trinity will continue to change without listening to the student leaders on campus that try to improve life at Trinity every day, little by little, one moderately attended event at a time.
-Mia Schulman

3 responses »

  1. So I know that WGRAC is commenting on its own post, but I wanted to take a minute to start a dialogue with Mia and get another voice out there to represent how we are feeling on campus. I could not agree more with Mia’s point that the loudest voices on this campus right now are Greek Life voices that are still ASSUMING that they are the voice of this campus. To me this is important because it shows the lack of awareness that I feel like is at the heart of my qualms with Greek Life at Trinity. Greek Life has a lot of power socially at Trinity and I never see them claim or accept that power in a way that is beneficial to the campus. They feel they should be autonomous to the campus because they are exclusive, private institutions. The issue here is that Greek Life has a huge hand in the way that this campus functions and the lack of ownership over that responsibility frustrates me.

    I can relate to Mia when she says that she understands why some Greek members could be upset with going co-ed or losing their chapters. I understand the fear of change deeply. It sucks. The same Trinity that Greek members are fighting for is being threatened and that is one of the worst feelings in the world. I empathize. When I do not understand is why it is so easy for me to realize the pain that the Frats are going through and that the Frats have not been able to walk in the shoes of any of the other students that go to this campus and have different opinions. To me its slightly ironic- in a sense it has been the same exclusivity that you are fighting for that has not allowed you to hear the voices of a different mass on campus. Therefore, in my opinion, Greek Life has lost touch with the “true” Trinity. This social change is an opportunity for more of us to have a say in how this campus is run. Change should be viewed as a potential chance to get this campus to the challenging, diverse culture that it is capable of. Trinity is more than a collections of frat bros and sorority sisters. I think it is time for these voices to be heard. PLEASE COMMENT BELOW!

    -Martha

  2. I think that it’s difficult for people who don’t agree with Greek life to speak up on campus for several reasons. I fully agree that Greek life has a voice beyond what it should, and does not by any means represent the majority of campus. However, their aggressive stance on Greek life makes it difficult for others to stand up for their own opinions because it’s intimidating. It’s frightening. And it can feel like social suicide. I think that we need to create a SAFE environment for people to express their opinions because at the moment, the only spaces are aggressive ones that do not promote healthy dialogue between two factions of Trinity’s campus.

  3. Georgia, I think this is really true. I was just having my mom read this and she said it is a shame that there isn’t a space everyone from Trinity could voice their opinions. I then remembered last year after the social host policy was instituted our then student body president set up a facebook page to hear people’s opinions. However, it turned into something really ugly with the majority of commenter staunchly opposed to social reform. A couple of people who commented on the other side of things were torn down, I think one senior girl incurred a racist reply to her thoughtful comment. I share your desire though for a truly equal and respectful dialogue to be had!

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