"What's All the Frat About? Davidson Professors' Ideas on Fraternity Life"


Part of Extracurricular Activities – Honorary Fraternities

"What's All the Frat About? Davidson Professors' Ideas on Fraternity Life" article from the Davidsonian
"What's All the Frat About? Davidson Professors' Ideas on Fraternity Life"
"What's All the Frat About? Davidson Professors' Ideas on Fraternity Life" article from the Davidsonian
Fraternities are somewhat like stocks; their value
fluctuates over time, they merge, split, and sometimes
even go bankrupt. To one who is unconcerned, the
stock market has ostensibly very little impact on
day life. Yet, indirectly we all feel the ef-
fects. The Davidson fraternity system is not totally
unique, but it is a different brand than the type found at
the typical generic State U.
What role do fraternities play on campus? What in-
terests and concerns do they generate? Do fraternities
animate or exacerbate the already sagging social si-
tuation? Is a true sense of fraternity promoted by the 4
on-campus and 2 off- campus fraternities? These are
not the types of questions which loom ominously over
our collegiate careers like the placid but ponderous fa-
ces of the chambermaids. But, in recognition of certain
sentiments toward changes in the system, they might
prove as springboards toward a more rounded aware-
ness of life at Davidson.
Many students and professors and administrative
personnel do not especially care about the past history
of Davidson fraternities. I have chosen (perhaps er-
roneously) to interview professors in order to gauge the
perceptions and/or misconceptions of Davidson frat
life. I found, generally, most professors very willing to
talk, although some were hesitant to commit them-
selves wholly to an opinion. Many spoke out with con-
viction. Many were quite non-
-commital. I expected
both reactions
I. was a student at a small college with fraternities
Very little. I get invited to some fraternity parties.
I shall preserve the anonymity of the 13 professors I
but no sororities much like Davidson, and I think fra-
-they seem to me all alike. By and large it doesn't
spoke with. Lintend this not as a statistically significant ternities play much the same role they provide a so.
touch me. The issue in the abstract is one I spend little
indication of any consensus of opinion whatsoever, but
cial life. But they also provide elitism and segregation-
time thinking about.
rather simply as a collage of interviews. The following
..but I don't think its as bad as what I've seen at big
smattering of opinions is simply an attempt to raise the
schools where the campus is polarized on the fraternity
I'm sometimes concerned when the parties start on
student's consciousness as the to professors! con-
Tuesday night.
sciousness of the situation.
What changes have you obseryed in the David-
son system? How is the Davidson fraternity situa-
tion different from other schools at which you have
taught or attended?
Well, I guess the system's a little more volatile
In those situations where what goes on in fraterni
ties affects the life-situation of the student and their
ability to participate in academics then it certainly is
Does the Davidson fraternity system promote
true fraternity or something else?
Some fraternity activities have intruded on me in
The major change I've seen right now is an awak-
ways I don't like road tripping. When students come
ening of interest in fraternities. I'm not sure that's a
I really wouldn't understand why it wouldn't...
and ask for a special dispensation from papers being
good thing or not. It might mean a return to an exclu-
due because of a road trip I object because theirs is not a
sive, clubby type of atmosphere--which does have a
I don't know.
system which I participate in and haven't bought into.
certain place in the social scheme
Most of the time, however, I don't care because that's
I haven't seen much change since I've come here. I
You're talking brotherhood in a co ed institution.
the student's life
can't say that it appears that they're becoming more ac-
Your talking about several different communities--we
tive or substantial, or having that much more dramatic also have to think of the college as a community in-
Do you sense a need for sororities at Davidson?
a profile.
of itself.
Well, I think it would stand to be the same as with
I don't see any evidence of that...Fraternization? I fraternities. It may be that women students need to
Self-selection is the obvious change that we all think there's some of that.
have a social group within which they can discover and
know about.
hold close, intimate relationships. but for that rea-
I think it promotes the opposite. True brotherhood
son, I guess, we have female eating clubs.
Self-selection is, of course, a different phenomen-
comes from welcoming all who want to join...But I
on. Self-selection breaks down much of the political
don't think it's the nature of man to be like that.
No. It would tend to segment the college more. I'm
aspects such as rushing. The fraternities I had contact
Are you aware of what goes on in the fraternities
not a particularly strong supporter of fraternities but
with were the very old fashioned ones from back in the
or do you care?
they are here and have been a feature in the past.
19th century. Much of it was kind of barbaric, but pro-
vided a sense of solidarity for having survived such
I'm not aware,
Absolutely not
I don't follow it that much. The most contact that I
I would prefer it if people would see their lives and
the fact that all students should have the option to
have is with IMAC.
values in such a way thast neither frats nor sororities
select any house they want. The difference is how they
would be a part of that picture.
Will Rogers once said, "All I know is what I read in
select members. I've been a little concerned lately
the papers." All I know is what I read in the Davidson-
about a movement back to primary selection.
I really see no absolute need for either.