Sep

30

114th Street’s Late-Night Fate

Written by

202656_4513783519899_577869729_o2 (1)

See you at The Big Game, huh?

Many say that interest in Greek life at Columbia is at an all time high, and it is so. Just a few days ago, PanHell picked AOII and Gamma Phi Beta to fill the two openings they set aside for new sororities, and Greek life flexed its upvote muscles in that comment thread. Last May, the IFC approved a Columbia chapter of SAE (despite vicious vicious hazing at Dartmouth and a death at Cornell). In 2010, Barnard searched its soul, officially recognizing and funding sororities.

Regardless of people’s individual feelings about Greek life,” Greek life is growing.

And so this semester Greek life at Columbia finds itself at a plastic juncture. The three 114th brownstones occupied by Pike, PsiU, and AEPi before they were booted for their connection to Operation Ivy League are open to repopulation by student groups, Greek and otherwise. Unsurprisingly, lots of different cliques are salivating over those sweet, sweet brownstones. Applicants include AEPi, Pike, AXO, Lambda Phi Epsilon, The Student Wellness Project, and Writer’s House.

Though the list of applicants isn’t out (the application isn’t due until October 5th), Dean Terry Martinez wrote to Bwog in an email, “My guess, however, is that we will share a list of applicants.  My goal is to be as transparent as possible, while maintaining the integrity of the process.”

How will the lucky three groups be picked? Community Development set up the Brownstone Review Committee for expressly this purpose. It was selected last year to “oversee a fair review process that will determine which groups will reside in the 536, 542, and 546 brownstones located on 114th Street.” Of the 7 students picked, 4 were Greek (all of those being from fraternities or sororities already possessed of brownstones, since members of applying groups cannot sit on the committee). Thus the student count was 4-3, advantage Greek.

However, the committee has changed somewhat since last year. Between the committee selection and today, one of the then-unaffiliated committee members, Daniel O’Leary, became an initial member of the SAE colony at Columbia, swinging the student count to 5-2, advantage Greek.  Anthony Testa, CC ’12 and Delta Sig and InterFraternity Council president during Op Ivy League, graduated, but according to Dean Martinez “will have voice in the deliberations and will join us via conference call or Skype.”

How much O’Leary’s 2-point swing will matter isn’t clear: students will have an equal voice with fellow committee members, but the end is not a vote, it’s a “consensus.” So: will Greek-affiliated committee members throw in with their own? Will an unaffiliated student support a fraternity or sorority which turned them away at the door? Is Bwog looking at two different visions of how 114th St—and Columbia—ought to be, and if so, can they be reconciled by consensus?

According to Dean Martinez:

The way I see the process moving forward is that every member will review every application and we will discuss as a group.  Everyone will have an equal voice. […] Once we have come to consensus, the committee will make recommendations to Dean Shollenberger, who will ultimately make the final decision.

Of course, opinions regarding Greek life run the gamut. Those aside, the campus does know what to expect from Greek life—both in general, and for the brownstones in question. What must be determined by the committee is whether other groups, if granted these unique spaces, might better furnish “experiences to students in residence that promote intellectual, social, emotional and interpersonal growth and development,” potentially on weeknights.

Once again, it’s not too late to apply and say what kind of culture you want at this university. On November 9th, the Committee will announce its decision, and with it the late-night fate of 114th Street, at least until the next NYPD raid.

The Members of the Brownstone Review Committee and Their Affiliations

Students (5-2 Greek):

  • Andrea Collazo, CC ’13 (Theta and VP of Columbia Organization of Rising Entrepreneurs)
  • William Hughes, CC ’13 (CCSC VP Policy)
  • Kimberly Lynch, SEAS ‘13 (SDT and Vice President Internal for the Society of Women Engineers)
  • Krystal Martinez, CC ’13 (Community Impact)
  • Perry Nickerson, CC ’13 (SigEp VP and Columbia University Financial Group)
  • Daniel O’Leary III, SEAS ’14 (SAE and President of the Columbia Financial Investing Group)
  • Anthony Testa, CC ’12 (Delta Sig and InterFraternity Council President during Op Ivy League)
Administrators (1 directing Fraternity and Sorority life, 3 doing other stuff):
  • Joyce Jackson (Executive Director, Housing)
  • Cristen Kromm (Assistant Dean for Community Development and Residential Programs)
  • Victoria Lopez-Herrera (Associate Director for Fraternity and Sorority Life)
  • Terry Martinez (Dean of Community Development and Multicultural Affairs)

    “Team Sigma Chi” via Spectrum

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53 Comments

  1. Wait

    If members of applying groups can't sit on the committee, and SAE is applying for a brownstone, how can a member of SAE be on the committee? Isn't that a conflict?

  2. Anonymous  

    When I saw the title for this article in my rss feed i thought it was going to be about the hit and run on friday night. Disappointed...

  3. Anonymous  

    I really hope this goes to one of the non-Greek houses. The spec article argues that Greek Life provides community at a school where it is sometimes hard to find, but I think most students interested in Greek life will have no problem locating the pre-existing Greek scene. For other students who lack a sense of community, something like Writer's House or The Student Wellness Project could be perfect. I also think the existing non-Greek houses (Greenborough, Potluck, and the IRC) do a much better job being inclusive, welcoming spaces that reach out to the Columbia community at large.

    • Anonymous  

      Amen! The SICs are one of Columbia's most unique fixtures. Practically every other university has a functioning, if not thriving, Greek system, but only Columbia gives valuable NYC real estate space to groups focused on a specific purpose like conservation or social justice rather than simply socializing (no offense meant to Greek organizations; socializing is great). Giving an SIC a brownstone gives Columbia a chance to establish a new community on campus rather than just expand an existing one.

      • Anonymous  

        Agreed. SICs are the greatest thing about Columbia... Greenborough and Potluck succeed in achieving what the LLC fails to do-- create a genuine community, both internally and inviting entire campus into their homes!

  4. Anonymous

    Ugh. I hate frats. Can't we do better?

  5. Dan  

    Honestly, the houses should go back to the greek community.

  6. Anonymous  

    notification is actually on the 9th, not the 19th

  7. I'm alarmed that...

    ...the odds of Pike getting a house are better than GS ever getting more housing near campus.

  8. Anonymous  

    By the way, the author did the math wrong... it was 4-3 and now it is 5-2. Just saying.

  9. Anonymous  

    so who's going to go on a power trip with this

  10. wait

    why is it 5-2 greek if greek life is only like ~10% of our student body? WHERE IS THE DEMOCRACY, "GREEKS"?!

  11. Anonymous

    The frats need to improve their behavior of they are going to ruin it for everyone.

  12. Anonymous

    When is Columbia going to tear down all the frats and build luxury high rises for students on 114th?

  13. Anonymous

    Keep the brownstones open to the lottery for everyone, not to frats that will destroy them . They are very nice now.

  14. Anonymous

    Sucks that we go to school where people don't give a rat's ass about Greek life don't it? Or really most things social in general that would provide any sense of community

    • Truth  

      Greek life is not the only way to find community here. If Greek Life had a better reputation perhaps we would be more receptive to it, but you can't play the victim and have NYPD arrest your members for drug deals at the same time. If you want us to understand the 'perks' of Greek Life, then show us that you can be responsible adults instead of assholes in tank tops running exclusive parties in houses that you only have because old dead white guys bought them decades ago.

      • Anonymous

        @Truth: The thing is, you'll never know or understand Greek life until you are a part of it. You can go ahead and stereotype it and say it's a bunch of "assholes in tank tops running exclusive parties in houses" but you'll never know differently because you're mind is already fixated on that notion.

        Us Greeks are the minority that are constantly under the magnifying glass because Columbia has developed a mentality so against Greeks. For some reason people here are so uptight and in general, pussies. People fail to understand that while we go to college, we're still here to have fun and live some of the best years of our lives. And you know what? I bet if you ask anyone who is a part of the Greek community if they like their four years, they'll assuredly say yes. We'll do crazy shit, sometimes might be a little obnoxious, but it's an escape from the shit load of stress that going to Columbia brings.

        Nonetheless, if all you can say about Greeks is that we party than you don't know the first thing about Greek life. Sure we party, but we raise money for philanthropies, volunteer our time to organizations, put on events besides parties, and as a whole are involved in everything and anything.

        But now that I think about it, the reason why Greeks at Columbia have such a strong sense of community is because we're the minority. We all are that much more attached to the Greek community because we have to stick together due to reasons stated earlier. So I guess keep criticizing us; we'll just keep on doing what we do because we love what we do. And all the hatred only pulls us closer together. And as long as we can keep our rightful place, houses included, I don't really care what you think.

        P.S. Don't characterize an entire community based on three of 31 of Greek organizations.

        • cc'14  

          to you and people who complain about the core: you could've gone to another school. really.

          • Anonymous  

            Right? there are so many schools with excellent athletic departments, thriving greek scenes, undergraduate busines programs, all this and that. and those are fine. but let Columbia be columbia, and go somewhere else.

          • Just Saying

            When our school is constantly ranked as one of the most stressful schools in the nation, you might think somethings going wrong. A strong correlation might be the fact that the only ties with students on campus is through clubs and networking. WE have no sense of community. That being said, I wouldn't want to go anywhere else except Columbia; I love this place and all that it offers me. I just think we could a change in our social mentality.

        • Truth  

          What this boils down to fundamentally is that you and I have different perceptions of what we perceive as stressful, what we understand the purpose of college to be, and what we want to get out of our four years here. Usually, I would say live and let live. You can have your Greek life and us "pussies," as you so brilliantly describe us, can have our libraries and social gatherings that don't involve drug deals and whatever else goes on that necessitates all the charity Greek Life likes to point out so often. However, we are now in the position of competing for a single resource and, in such a situation, we must put our values to task. I humbly submit that mine are better than yours. That communities that you don't have to buy your way into and are not steeped in a history of shameful deeds are the way to go here. I would hope that the Brownstone Committee would see this but, judging by the split, I find that highly unlikely.

          • Anonymous  

            What I think it really boils down to is that you have no real conception of what Greek life is and what I, and many others, expect to get out of it. And I won't bother explaining them to you because as usual, you'll simply dismiss them as either having no merit or bring up an incident involving a small percentage of Greek members two years ago. And you see, the funny part of this whole situation is that you, and the rest of you who are against the Greeks gaining a Brownstone, can't do a thing. Why? Because us Greeks display leadership and initiative, along with knowing how to have a hell of a good time. And so we control the board, and also the vote. So it looks like in this situation it's Greeks 1, Anti-Greeks 0. And yeah, definitely bought my way into a community, along with every other club or sports team that had to pay some fee I guess? I believe I earned my right to be a part of an extraordinary group of fraternity men and like Columbia, they're need-blind. And now you want to bring up history? Go ahead and read a little about Greek history and take note of the exorbitant amount of leaders in our society that hail from Greek organizations.

        • Anonymous

          Dont judge each fraternity by 1 member, Its not like the fraternities told these kids to sell drugs, they did it on their own. Just as plenty of other non-frat students in Columbia sell drugs.

          Just because the kids were written about in the paper doesn't mean all stories will be written in the paper, many non-fraternity people have been arrested for selling drugs as well throughout the years.

  15. Anonymous

    Wait is the application for groups to apply for a house open yet? Or is this just an application for the selection committee?

  16. Also Alarmed

    The widespread negative press and shame that Pike brought to Columbia in 2010-2011 should make it unlikely that they receive their brownstone back. Their petty drug dealer(s) tarnished our reputation for a brief time period and lest you forget, a Pike member was wearing a Columbia sweater when he was arrested, photographed and brought to manhattan criminal court. That's how Pike represented our school nation-wide. Over a year has passed since then and maybe they have improved given the new Alpha Standards requirements, but I think it’s important that we not forget the damage they brought to this university when they had a brownstone.

  17. should the other greek organizations be punished?  

    yes some Greek organizations brought negative press, but Lamba Phi Epsilon and AXO did not do anything wrong. Both have positive impacts on campus and deserve a fair shot, without being dismissed because of other organizations' actions.

    • Agreed  

      I agree. All around campus and Facebook there are signs for AXO promoting awareness and fundraising for Domestic Violence, a worthy cause. Then look at delta gamma 's events: they watch hot frat boys swim in their speedos! Does anyone else notice a problem here?

      • I do notice a problem  

        The difference between frat boys in speedos and panels on domestic violence? People will actually come to see the first one. DG's event raised thousands of dollars for their philanthropy, let's see AXO do that

  18. Payters

    Sorry for being frat...

  19. Columbia Needs to Think About Its Values  

    I cannot begin to express my disappointment of the 5-2 "Greek" advantage on the committee, not to mention how severely pissed off I will be if Greek organizations get the housing!!

    I went through potential sorority recruitment last year thinking that it would be a great community for me to grow in. The misleading descriptions of "social, intellectual, and moral growth" and "fostering high ideals of friendship among college women, to promote their educational and cultural interests, to create in them a true sense of social responsibility, and to develop in them the best qualities of character" really had me going, and if this is the bullsh1t lies that they present to the committees to have more space on campus, then they will be surely misrepresented.

    Instead, the sorority girls are cliquey and exclusive. The whole concept of "inviting" certain girls back after meeting them for five minutes is emotionally shattering for many students! And their ideals? They live by going out to parties all weekend and even during the week. They promote drunkedness and "making out and getting out." Is that really what we want to promote on campus?

    And the point has been well established that the frats who lost their housing had a chance, and surely ruined it by taking advantage of their luxurious, private house and turning them into drug cartels.

    If you ask me, no frats or sororities should have housing, but instead, these brownstones should be reserved for special living groups. Can someone give me one good reason why frats and sororities need housing anyway?

    • Anonymous  

      I have a good reason! For their members to live in? How about that?

    • Anonymous  

      i didn't read the whole of this but one thing i do want to add is that i ALWAYS hear girls who go through formal sorority recruitment complain that "[they] only have three more days of sucking up and being fake to these girls before [they] can finally get into the best sorority!!!" well if that fosters friendship and sisterhood... although i will add a lot of them see happier now that they've actually gotten in. but the recruitment process should probably be re-evaluated if this is what i repeatedly hear girls i don't even know say in lecture.

  20. cc'14  

    so barnard is funding sororities when they're cutting lots of money from their budget?
    I DON'T GET IT.

  21. Anonymous  

    To all of you "high society" folks who are here bad-mouthing greek life when you have no clue what it's about, get some damn perspective. Sitting behind your computer screens, typing away your anonymous comments to make you feel better about yourselves. What do you have against greek life? First of all, Greek life here is SO tame compared to at other schools. The frats and sororities here barely if AT ALL fit the common stereotypes. Have you all forgotten that this is Columbia, an ivy league school, and all the "frat bros" and "sorority hoes" you think so lowly of are just as intelligent and capable as you are? Sorry that us greeks are also the kind of people who like to create a real sense of community at a school that SEVERELY lacks it, and also like to have a good time come the weekend. I am comforted, nonetheless, by the fact that all you haters will have nothing to do with the selection process of the brownstones, and at the end of the day you'll be the ones missing out on what greek life has to offer.

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