Rushing should be an athlete’s decision. Don’t think that an athlete could handle the time commitment? Fine. But these student-athletes are adults who have already done the impressive feat of being accepted into Cornell. Most of them are lifelong athletes who know how to budget their time well.
More than a decade after being banned from campus over the death of George Desdunes ’13 during a Sigma Alpha Epsilon hazing activity, a campaign by the fraternity’s alumni has helped to return it to campus this spring.
The air was electric. It was the dead of winter in 2020, and thousands of anxious underclassmen filled Ithaca a week ahead of their peers. These people left their likely more sunny homes to come to the snowy white campus for a decades-long rite of passage: rush week.
Rush week, an annual event for fraternity and sorority recruitment, is under threat. This will mark the second year with effectively no rush week. Instead — under the cloud of COVID-19 — rush week has been pushed from its early spot to the first week of classes.
Taking part in last week’s anti-hazing events –– named in honor of Antonio Tsialas –– Cornellians read anti-hazing articles, watched films, held conversations about hazing and participated in other educational activities.
Warning: The following content contains sensitive material about sexual assault. Students discussed in this article have been given pseudonyms to protect their identities. A week ago, I found out, during a devastatingly casual conversation, that a charming, personable man I know and liked on campus had assaulted a dear friend of mine when we were freshmen. The details of their encounter are not necessary for this article, but suffice to say the story was every bit as horrible and heartbreaking as that of Chanel Miller’s, as Erica Kinsman’s, as every story of rape or sexual assault that I’m sure you’ve read of or heard about.
This man was well-known as a “good guy” — sure, maybe a little insensitive, maybe casually arrogant with the privilege that comes from being a tall, handsome white dude, but inherently a good person. I’d heard about his “creepy” behavior from girls he’d ghosted and one-night-stood over the years, and always assumed that their words were reflections of his immaturity. But the details of this particular incident brought me clarity.
There are many fraternities that may be pining for a house like Phi Kappa Psi’s; however, the fraternity’s difficult history makes a replacement seem too fast. It would be better to put the building to a productive use for a community in need. This is a position that’s shared by the Phi Kappa Psi alumni board.