February 12, 2002

Conference Addresses Hazing Issue

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Leaders of the Greek System came together on Saturday at the Statler Hotel for the annual A.D. White Leadership Conference. Every fraternity and sorority on campus sent their top five, newly-elected officers to attend workshops and share ideas for the upcoming year.

“This is our hallmark event for the year,” said Suzy Nelson, associate dean of students, fraternity and sorority affairs. “We have several faculty and alumni who attend our luncheon; it’s a day when we can come together and see where we’re going.”

Dean of Students Kent Hubbell ’67 opened the conference with a welcome speech in which he addressed two main issues facing Cornell’s Greek community: hazing and the West Campus Initiative.

“Hazing is illegal. Notice a few fraternities are conspicuously not here today,” Hubbell said, referring to Delta Upsilon and Pi Kappa Phi, two fraternities that recently lost their Cornell charters.

Hazing has been a long standing problem in the Greek community. With various forms of mental and physical abuse used as part of the new member education process, otherwise known as pledging, hazing has become a problematic issue in the Greek community. Conference goers discussed alternatives to these pledging activities.

Expressing his personal support for the Greek system on Cornell’s campus, Hubbell said, “It’s not an oppositional issue. Suzy Nelson is a Greek, I’m an Alpha Delt, Susan Murphy [’73 vice president for student and academic affairs] is a sorority person.

“Let’s make this right. If we can’t stop hazing, we risk not having sororities and fraternities on campus, and we’ve had them for 140 years,” he added.

Hubbell then addressed the West Campus Initiative, saying that construction will begin in about one year. Many members of the Greek system have expressed concern over the University’s plan to build new dorms on west campus. According to this plan, close to 70 percent of sophomores will be expected to live there once the project is completed.

“Some think it’s a threat [to the Greek system]. But with alumni Trustees like me, west campus will not be a threat,” Hubbell said. “Fraternities and sororities offer a sense of kinship. Our system will not be affected in any significant way.”

The University plans to spend $250 million on building the new dorms. “We have to think how the Greek system will respond