Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Good News, Bad News
The first five men are sitting in prison in New York City this morning, accused of selling drugs to their peers. NYPD Police Commissioner Raymond Kelley called it, "the biggest drug bust at a college in recent memory." Where were they selling those drugs you ask? Out of the living rooms and bedrooms of their fraternity houses and residence halls of course. The majority of the drug sales of what has been dubbed "Operation Ivy League" took place at Alpha Epsilon Pi, Pi Kappa Alpha, and Psi Upsilon. A few of these men even wore their fraternity letters as they got hauled off to jail! Stellar!
David Wallisch is in the news for a different reason. The newly 21 year old junior and member of Alpha Delta Gamma fraternity used his 21st birthday this past weekend to raise money for St. James Place, a community kitchen in Kansas City. Wallisch has been volunteering at St. James place weekly for two years, and felt his birthday was a great opportunity for his friends and family to raise money for a worthwhile cause, rather than buy him a drink. Wallish also baked 200 cupcakes with the help of his fraternity brothers to deliver to St. James this evening when he makes his weekly visit. (For more information on Wallish, or to donate to his cause, click here.)
Two very different stories, and two very different images of fraternity. Sadly, Operation Ivy League is all over the national news today. Wallisch's story made the Kansas City Star, but that is about as far as it will go. This is not the media's fault, this is our fault. We let this happen in our communities and right under our noses in our houses. And we wonder why people have a negative image of fraternity.
If it were up to me, the Columbia University chapters of Pi Kappa Alpha, Alpha Epsilon Pi, and Psi Upsilon would be shut down today. Immediately. We don't need to "investigate" this one. I don't care what the other undergraduates have to say, I don't care who the alumni are, and I don't care how expensive the rent is on the houses in NYC. Shut them down. Now. This isn't about one random drug dealer in a house, it's about an environment that allowed him to exist there and financially supported him to make it worth his while. There is no room in the fraternal movement for these men. If you feel the same way, I hope you will share your opinion.
When we take an oath, we agree to hold ourselves to a higher standard, and to hold not only our brothers or sisters to that same standard, but the entire interfraternal community. That means holding your chapter accountable. It means holding other chapters on your campus accountable. It means being accountable as alumni, and as advisors. It is time we all took that more seriously. If you're not interested, then please get out of the way. I'd love to hear your thoughts.