September 23, 2017

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Re: “A Look Into Cornell’s ‘Exclusive’ Pre-Professional Fraternities”

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Justin Park’s Sept. 22 article on Cornell’s professional fraternities was very well done, insightful, informative, and thorough. I might suggest though that it misuses the word “exclusive” where “selective” is meant and certainly more accurate. One interviewee described the professional fraternity’s recruitment as “competitive” which also more accurately conveys it.

“Exclusivity” is code-speak to imply that its only for white, rich, and pretty. Its use seeks to perpetuate a negative stereotype used by critics of the Greek system — a stereotype that is grossly inaccurate. I am highly confident that Cornell’s professional fraternities are more diverse than other student organizations or the university student body as a whole.

As an aside, it may be correct to use “pre-professional” to describe law or medical fraternities since their field requires admission/education into a professional school (law or medical school) after completion of an undergraduate degree. Engineering or business fraternities (and most others) are simply “professional fraternities” without prefix since these fields require only an undergraduate education to begin practice in their field.

Despite the above minor — but important — critiques, I hope Justin keeps up what I think is good work and great writing.

Michael Abraham,
executive director of Theta Tau Professional Engineering Fraternity