November 30, 2016

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | What Happened to the Waiters?

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To the Editor:

On Sept. 20 readers of The Cornell Daily Sun learned that the Cayuga’s Waiters, Cornell’s oldest all-male a cappella group, was suspended by the University for undescribed violations of the Campus Code of Conduct. This writer has since learned that the Waiters has been dragged through the University’s disciplinary system, convicted on three counts of hazing and group-punished accordingly.

This brings to mind a few questions.

  • Why did The Sun not keep on top of this story and report the outcome?
  • Why does the University’s Hazing Incidents webpage not describe the nature of the hazing that the Cayuga’s Waiters organization was penalized for?
  • How are Cornell groups expected to avoid hazing (now an entirely elastic term) if the specifics of the offense are not reported to the public?

Cornell’s Office of the Judicial Administrator is running a true Star Chamber with closed proceedings, secret allegations of misconduct, secret testimony from anonymous informers, secret punishments and compulsory non-disclosure of rulings. I am reminded of the East German Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (STASI) during the Cold War.

This system of phony justice has already crushed the University’s once-independent fraternity system. No doubt many will be pleased by that, but turning students into informers ―ratting out their colleagues via the ubiquitous informer hotlines, is socially poisonous.

I am glad that I attended the University in better times.

H. William Fogle, Jr. Cornell ’70