Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Williams wrong to stereotype, speculate

Dear Badger Herald:

I read Tim Williams’ article today (“Bull won’t stop fraternity foibles”) and do appreciate many of the points he made regarding fraternity life. This is certainly a time for self reflection for many fraternities and fraternity members and I hope that they all learn from this.

I truly agree that there is a double standard between typical fraternity “values” and what is often seen in news articles, the court of public opinion, and, unfortunately, random passerby who see things like the incident at SigEp and make their own judgments. And Tim is right, incidents like these are fuel for the eager cynic’s fire. But do you really think that the majority of fraternity members are truly any different than the average campus male? The fraternity system is (contrary to popular belief) actually quite diverse. There are large houses, smaller houses, houses focused around a particular college major, religious affiliated houses, African American houses, etc. It seems to me that the fraternity population is probably quite representative of the average population of UW-Madison. I suppose student orgs should be held to a higher standard than a group of friends living on Mifflin St., but it doesn’t make it acceptable to imply that fraternity members are for some reason “worse” than the rest of the campus.

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Also, I think Tim stepped out of bounds when he implied that he knew anything about the “hell week” of the fraternity. This is an ‘Animal House’ stereotype in the purest form and he, like many other students, succumbed to it. Shame on you for implying that this fraternity hazes, you have no idea what goes on there. Hazing is a very serious matter, and because of that, not a matter of speculation.

And finally, why does everyone care so much? If this is determined to be hazing by the many governing bodies that are investigating (and believe me, there will be MANY), then please feel free to publish your articles and opinions, and damn SigEp as much as you want. They would deserve it; as I said before hazing is unacceptable and illegal. But in the mean time, Tim implied that this may simply have been a disgusting act conducted in a fraternity front yard. Is this news? Is this anyone’s business? If you are simply disgusted by this type of act, then should we also ban dunk tanks at work picnics where employees can get “revenge” on their bosses? Or should we ban the crew team from throwing the coxswain in the lake after winning a regatta?

Badger Herald, please do not continue to spread stereotypes and discrimination. Had this incidence occurred by a group of friends in any house on Langdon other than a fraternity house, you would not have published this article. You would not be “disgusted” by the act. But I bet you would still have the same fraternity stereotypes in your head that you have now.

Luke Behnke ’04

Sigma Phi Epsilon Alumni

lkbehnke-at-gmail-com

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