Dec

3

Chairman of Greek Judicial Board Resigns

Written by

Reinick

Matthew Renick

Matthew Renick, GS/JTS ’13 and former President of AEPi, was Chairman of the Greek Judicial Board—until today, when he resigned by email. “My decision,” he wrote, “is based in large part on my reaction to the Brownstone Application Committee’s decision.” He called Dean Martinez’s management of the committee “absurd and out-of-line,” and protests that the committee members “were not democratically elected.” (Four of six were Greek.)

He’s also angry that AXO, which won a house, got only four stars for the ALPHA Standards of Excellence, while Pike and AEPi, which each earned five stars, did not receive brownstones. He added, “For Greek organizations, the committee informed us that the ALPHA Standards of Excellence would be the primary evaluations used in making this decision. Clearly, however, this was a lie.” Nevermind that as Chairman he assigned ALPHA grades “grade[d] the ALPHA standards.”

“Hopefully, I can once again live in good conscience,” he concluded.

Update, 11:42 pm: To correct, Renick has not graded or assigned ALPHA standards.  In his position this year–as opposed to how it has been done in the past–he was assigned to work on grading, but with his resignation will not be involved in the process.

The full email:

Members of the Columbia Community,

I am writing this letter to inform you of my immediate resignation from the position of Chairman of the Greek Judicial Board. I will no longer notify chapter presidents of violations, and I will no longer hear cases. I will no longer work under the Director of Greek Life, and I will no longer grade the ALPHA Standards of Excellence. I am giving up all affiliations with the Greek Judicial Board, and I am giving up all attachments that I have to the Columbia University administration.

My decision is based in large part on my reaction to the Brownstone Application Committee’s decision to award the three brownstones to Q House, Alpha Chi Omega, and Lambda Phi Epsilon. Not only do I feel that the Committee and Dean Shollenberger made the wrong decision in this case, but I also feel that the entire process by which it was decided was fundamentally and morally wrong.

The idea that a committee of six students and four administrators could accurately and fairly decide which of 13 organizations was most deserving of a brownstone is ridiculous in its own right. But the first issue presented is that these students were not democratically elected. There were a number of ways the University could have appointed students to the committee. They could have looked to the student councils to supply their elected officials. They could have looked to SGB or ABC, and their elected members. They could even have looked to the Inter Greek Council or the Greek Judicial Board for their elected members, but instead the University decided to pick six random students in a secret, closed-door process, with no justification for their selection. The idea that these students could in any way represent the greater student body of Columbia is preposterous. The problems of this are now clearly seen, as one member of the committee voiced to other students that he would not accept any recommendation that did not include Q House. Not surprisingly, they were awarded a brownstone.

In addition, the entire way in which Dean Martinez managed the Committee was absurd and out-of-line. The applicants for the brownstones were first told that all proceedings would remain secret, and that all members of the committee would remain anonymous. Shortly thereafter, the names of the six students were released to campus media, and immediately these students came under intense pressure and scrutiny from the entire student body. It cannot reasonably be expected that these students did not face pressure, threats, and intimidation from other students. As such, it was not only irresponsible of Dean Martinez to do this, but was a fundamental flaw in the process that kept this from being objective in any way.

It should be noted that for all of these criticisms, I attempted to speak up. I asked repeatedly for meetings with the administrators involved in the committee, and was repeatedly denied. The only person to whom I could speak was Victoria Lopez-Herrera, and she repeatedly told me that she heard my complaints, but that nothing was going to be changed. All other administrators refused to speak to either me or other students who were raising similar concerns.

When the Committee laid out its standards for what would make an organization deserving of a brownstone, they cited things such as the ability to always fill the house, and the ability of an organization to make a positive contribution to the community. For Greek organizations, the committee informed us that the ALPHA Standards of Excellence would be the primary evaluations used in making this decision. Clearly, however, this was a lie. Alpha Epsilon Pi and Pi Kappa Alpha (along with the Lambda Phi Epsilon) were awarded five stars, the highest possible rating. Conversely, Alpha Chi Omega, the sorority awarded one of the brownstones, earned only four stars. As the Chairman of the board that grades the ALPHA standards, I must question their overall relevance and purpose, given the utter lack of attention paid to them in this process. In addition, Alpha Epsilon Pi and Pi Kappa Alpha demonstrated booming memberships, which would ensure a full house for years to come. Q House, on the other hand, lists only eight members, not enough to fill even half of one house. The Committee was not honest about what it was looking for, and I question what their true intentions were in this process.

This utter lack of honesty makes it clear to me that I can no longer in good faith remain a part of this University’s administration. I refuse to grade the ALPHA Standards when it is clear that they are not important to Columbia. I refuse to be a part of something that lies to the people it is designed to help. I refuse to subject myself to administrators who have hidden agendas. I refuse to be a part of an administration that punishes fraternities for Operation Ivy League, but does nothing to the also-implicated IRC. I refuse to be a part of something that continues to label students by the actions of other individuals. I refuse to be a part of an administration that does not believe in its students, and their ability to change and to grow and to learn.

For all the reasons listed above, and for countless others not mentioned here, I am resigning from the position of Chairman of the Greek Judicial Board, resigning from this administration, and resigning from a system that does not look out for my community or my interests. Hopefully, I can once again live in good conscience.

Sincerely,

Matthew Renick

Chairman of the Greek Judicial Board, 2012

Photo via AEPi’s Twitter

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97 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    There was this Nasy fuckin dumbass freshman who literally burped 1 foot from my face. Can we euthanize these fuckers?

  2. CC '12

    First in line to ride to roflcopter!

  3. Anon  

    Dude should join AXO if he is so jelly!

  4. check yo facts bro

    he is not the president of AEPi currently and he was not the Chairman that handed out those ALPHA standards grades.

  5. check yo facts bro

    oh and spell his name right: RENICK

  6. SO MANY JIMMIES RUSTLING  

    I imagine him writing that e-mail as if he's basically stabbing his keys in lieu of the faces of those that fucked up his plan.

  7. The Ban Captain thepoet  

    He's not mad because he lost the house, he's mad because we banned him from being relevant...ever.

  8. Anonymous

    what a spoiled brat.

  9. Anonymous

    this was a very unbiased report from bwog

    /s

  10. Anonymous

    Had the decision gone his way, I truly doubt he would have made such a conclusion and that inherently makes his logic for resigning problematic.

    Faulty logic aside, he is entitled to this decision. That said, doing so in a slightly less dramatic way (and a way in which he likely “leaked” this letter himself) doesn’t reflect particularly well on him as a leader.

  11. Anonymous  

    I bet this post leads to a lot of meaningful, civil discourse on Greek life at Columbia!

  12. Overly dramatic butthurt!1!!

    Who gives a shit?

  13. Anonymous  

    I hate the bros even more than the next guy, but we do need more people who are willing to make things difficult for unaccountable administrators.

    No way AEPi should have gotten a brownstone; no way the administrators should keep pretending like the token student input they invite is anything more than that, either.

    • CC  

      You hate the bros even more than the next guy? Imagine the reaction to your comment if you substituted "bros" with any other group: "women" "queers" "blacks" "hispanics" "indians" "asians" etc... And honestly, as a "bro", I don't care if you hate me without knowing me at all. However, I hope that if you're a part of one of these protected groups, you never feel offended by anyone stereotyping a massive demographic that you're a part of.

      • lol  

        Yes, because hating on frat guys is the equivalent of hating on Latinos or blacks. This is why no one can take you seriously.

        • Black @ Butler  

          Even if it's not operating on nearly the same degree, often it's still the same method of reasoning - and in that respect, I think you should be less hasty to dismiss this guy's point.

          • Okay, wait, how is it the same reasoning? One is prejudice based on preconceived traits, dispositions, etc., as related to something a person was born into and that is in no way based on prior reason or experience; while the other is disliking a certain type of person whose label is specifically assigned for them exactly because of their actions and dispositions.

            A "bro" is not just some guy. A bro is a borderline-misogynistic alpha male who treats life like a drinking game and objects like women, man. Saying you hate bros isn't like saying you hate blacks, gays, women, whatever. Saying you hate bros is like saying you hate assholes. And who the fuck doesn't hate assholes?

            Does it seriously take a Hispanic guy to call the black guy out on his shit logic? Come on, philosophy, computer science and math majors.

      • Um, no.

        Ooooookay. I don't understand how not everybody gets this yet but... being a bro is a choice. It is a conscious decision to join a given social group and take up a loosely defined set of behaviors, fashion, activities, speech patterns, etc. Being black or latina or gay or queer is not a choice. You are born that way (thanks Lady Gaga) or you're not. It is much more morally and culturally acceptable to mock people for things that they have chosen than things they have not. Although sweeping generalizations about people based on their *chosen* social groups are not likely to lead to particularly robust conclusions about individuals, it is a completely different thing than making sweeping generalizations about people based on characteristics that they have not chosen and that have no inherent relationships to their personalities. It is a category error to conflate the two.

        • anon

          @Um, no.:
          >implying being queer isn't a choice

        • Anonymous

          So you're telling me that if I "chose" to be transgender then I could be judged for my choice because I wasn't born that way? Hating someone because they affiliate with any group is just hate. Don't try to justify your bigotry through complication.

          • Anonymous

            so you wouldn't hate someone because they affiliated with the Neo-Nazis and the KKK? I will acknowledge that there's a big leap there but at the end of the day many would argue your groups are similar in that they are self-selecting and exclude people based on who they are.

          • I hate to be that guy, but, uh: transgenderism isn't a choice, either. And having sex-affirmation surgery (i.e., a "sex change" in less politically correct terminology) is as much an ancillary "choice" as prostheses are for amputees.

      • Anonymous (OP)  

        "Even more than" was excessive rhetorical flourish meant to draw the issue away from frats and towards the administrators. I concede your point.

    • Anonymous

      YOU HATE US CAUSE YOU AIN'T US. GET AT ME GDI SCUM.

  14. You know who

    The President of J-Board, who hypocritically punished his peers for having parties, is accusing the University of having a lack of integrity? How does it feel to be a pawn?

    Karma, man.

  15. old fratty bro

    the only reason he joined J-Board was to get the house back. Now that he failed, he is resigning

  16. tl;dr  

    Next time how about, "YO, FUCK YOU GUYS. I QUIT?"

  17. CC 13  

    My feelings about Greek life aside--I belong in Q House more than I belong anywhere else, if you feel me--if what this kid is saying is true (big if, go investigate that someone please), it's disturbing.

    If there's a university-designed objective measure of Greek houses, and axo beat out both pike and aepi, it seems to me that that's prima facie evidence of a university decision to continue punishing those fraternities and pretending to have a fair decision making process (in the meantime toying with those students emotions--and greeks are people too, mostly) for PR purposes.

    And if a student openly talked about using a veto....that's an extreme breach of his status as a representative of the whole community.

  18. Anonymous

    Q House lists only 8 members because all they have right now is a suite in Ruggles. There are actually a lot more people who want to live there, but there simply isn't room.

  19. cc

    i was happy to see that Q house got a spot. but if what this letter says is true about one student threatening a veto unless the committee gave a house to Q house, then i'm honestly quite a bit troubled. there were a lot of other fantastic applications to apply for these brownstones from other organizations (ADi, Student Wellness, Writer's House, Manhattan, etc.) that weren't lucky enough to have a friend to sit on the selection committee and hold up the process by threatening a veto. so while I'm put off by the general sore-loserish tenor of Renick's letter, I have to sort of agree with him when he points out how this entire process was just entirely fucked up, undemocratic, and unfair. admins: you have some 'splaining to do.

  20. Hat tip to you

    Matthew Renick. You have my support.

  21. frat bashing  

    Frat bashing is one of the most widely tolerated abuses on campus. If there was a vote taken for distributing the brownstones, then the fraternities wouldn't have stood a chance even if they had stellar records. Columbia promotes itself as an accepting place yet it marginalizes a massive part of its population. For example, it's perfectly acceptable to trivialize this resignation with a title like "U Mad Bro?"

    • Anonymous  

      Trigger warning: hate speech, ableism, trans*greekphobia, privilege.

      I just want to take this time to call your attention to a form of institutionalized bias that is rampant across Columbia. Did you know that nearly a fourth of Columbia (and Barnard) students have been stigmatized for identifying as a fraternity brother or sorority sister? Hundreds of students live each day facing embarrassment and ignorant comments from people who haven’t taken a single Classics course like “Oh, so you’re in a frat. But it’s like, not like a REAL state school frat, right?” Please. It’s an I-dentity, not a YOU-dentity. People have characterized Greek life as a bunch of dumb blondes and meathead jocks with SAT scores unfitting of such an elite school. These men and women struggle every day to maintain their social lives in an environment intolerant of their social identities. The hate speech and ignorance must stop, and it has to begin with an understanding of the people that organizations such as BWOG are dehumanizing. Comments like “Die Greek scum” are not acceptable.”

      • Anonymous  

        Plus, Bwog has its share of editors who are in rather notable greek orgs... *cough*

      • Oh Lawds

        Please don't lessen the dignity of the Classics by linking it with your "Greek life."

        - CC '12 (Classics; Ancient Greek life 4 lyfe)

      • I am SO fed up with these victimy posts.

        Let's be real. We know who frats and sorority members are. We have Facebook accounts. We know that in many respects your groups are the equivalent of high school popular cliques, and that validation is why some, if not many, if not most, of your members joined them. We know DG and Sig Ep, for instance, are the "hot" groups, and we know that when recruiting new members they know that too. If we wanted to be scientific about it, we could probably just do a symmetrical-face analysis and come up with those results objectively.

        Apparently we need to invoke science/objectivity, since every time makes a self-evident observation to that end, Greeks (ahem, the members of an exclusive organization) flip such pettiness back to the "subjective" accusers (ahem, not the members of an exclusive organization), who are surely more full of prejudice than Greeks were back when they decided to rush. So let's just talk about principles of Greek life vs. oppressed populations. "Hate speech" applies to groups who have a characteristic generally perceived to be undesirable. Your characteristic, on the other hand, is extremely desirable: whatever it is, it won you membership into an ingroup. More fundamentally, unlike those characteristics encompassed in "hate speech" (ethnicity, race, sexuality), which are involuntary, you chose to join Greek life. Hostile comments are unnecessary, but people have every right to judge you badly for your choice: Again, rather than "struggl[ing] every day to maintain their social lives in an environment intolerant of their social identities," everyone in your ingroup joined for the very purpose of gaining access to an increased social life,* at the rejects' expense.

        *except for those dozens upon dozens of recruits who joined mainly for the community service projects.

        • Anonymous  

          Was "I bet you've never even taken a Classics course" not enough of a hint that this wasn't meant to be taken seriously?

        • Greek Life Member  

          Let's get away from the talk about "Hate Speech" and victimization for two seconds. I think the original point of the post, if it indeed wasn't meant to be a joke, was that rushing to conclusions about people in frats/sororities doesn't really help anyone. We're not crushing beer cans on our head and parading around campus making rape jokes, and until we start doing so, it would be appreciated if you didn't jump to conclusions. I wouldn't call you a loser geed, you (hopefully) wouldn't call me a quaalude monkey.

  22. bystander

    the whambulance has arrived

  23. Translation

    I sucked administrator cock all these years, and this is the thanks I get? Fuck you! And I'm taking all of you down with me!

  24. Anonymous

    Whaaaa. My frat wasn't picked...

  25. Choppa

    In other news, I still don't care tbh

  26. Anonymous

    But I mean who fucking gives a shit. The guy goes to JTS...

  27. joe

    This was a bold move, and I appreciate his honest portrayal of his feelings. He has a future in politics.

  28. Art Garfunkel CC'62  

    AEPI and PIKE contribute a massive amount in a social sense to the most stressful school in the country.

    And if you counter me by event mentioning Operation Ivy League, you're clearly taking the low road, and are not educated on the history of the event. People seem to forget that the corrupt, undercover cop who arrested the frat brothers/IRC kid was arrested 3 months later for running an underground gambling ring. People seem to forget that the IRC was not punished for the involvement of one of its members, even though it does have somewhat of a structure for risk management. People seem to forget that the same thing has happened to HUNDREDS of fraternities throughout the nation, and at other Ivy League Institutions, and all they are left with is social probation, or potentially exile from their house for a year or 2, but surely not 3 or war, and surely not after achieving Five Star ratings as determined by Director of Greek Life Victoria Lopez-Herrera.

    Thanks Bwog for covering this incredibly partially, and for continuously shedding a negative light upon Greek institutions.

    Sincerely,

    Art Garfunkel CC'62
    AEPi Iota Chapter Brother
    Songwriter/Singer- Formed duo of Simon/Garfunkel.
    We were both AEPi brothers (Paul at Queens College)

  29. Bob  

    Jboard is the CIA and Renick is Petraeus... I smell a sex scandal!!!

  30. Bob  

    Jboard is the CIA and Renick is Petraeus. I smell a sex scandal!!

  31. Bob  

    Jboard is the CIA and Renick is Petraeus... I smell a sex scandal !!

  32. Anonymous

    I never understood why anyone took the process seriously. This isn't a movie — this isn't about students persevering over the evil dean or the entitled frat boys getting their comeuppance — this is serious business. Columbia's lives off of alumni donations and Operation Ivy League seriously threatened that, not just because the scandal itself makes alumni leery (dramatic? Remember, the alumni base evaporated after '68 ) but because alumni who donate and participate are disproportionally Greek. So if the solution that comes out isn't done in a way that's just so they'll lose tens of millions one way or the other, and I just don't think it's realistic that professionals would take a chance on the outcome of something like this.

  33. Justin  

    I think AXO is a horrible sorority, but from the way this dude is talking, he should resign from Columbia too. Clean break if you're serious.

  34. Anonymous  

    Bwog, you are a disgrace to Columbia.

    Thank you for hate mongering and continually contributing to a more angry, hostile and divided campus.

    Not only are your articles laughable at best (and not at all the ones you intend to be funny) but the fact that any of your contributors could feel any type of pride from involvement with such a reprehensible publication is beyond me.

  35. OMG  

    A spoiled, ungrateful, rich Columbia student didn't get his wish. Did you alert CNN of the crisis?

    Stop whining and shut up. Frats are embarrassing to begin with, now you're making it worse.

    And one final thing, Mr. Renick:

    When Barnard chicks were left without housing did you do anything? Did you blow up with emails and crap? I guess no. Because you only care about your stupid BROS.

    Shut up and carry on raising my GPA.
    Go curve!

  36. Damn You Bwog! (squared)  

    And by "this comment" I meant the comment by Dude. Because I'm the dude.

  37. good kid maad city

    Why are you so angry? See you young men are dying of thirst.

  38. Ah, now I get it. I was confused because you changed the context from homosexuality to transgenderism. We're on the same team. Wait, I think. It's finals week.

  39. Greek board  

    KDR has had multiple violations this year, should lose their house soon.
    ZBT has 0 stars towards alpha standards.

    Beta has 2, Psi U has 0, Fiji has 2.

    AEPI, PIKE and Lambda were the only frats with 5 stars.

    Let's be real guys, KDR and ZBT aren't losing their houses because they're affiliated with sports teams. C'mon Columbia, stop being hypocrites.

    • Ben Ramalanjaona (Beta President)

      http://www.columbia.edu/cu/beta/AlphasBeta.pdf

      Beta has three, here's our proof. Did you just guess or something?

      • Fraternity Brother  

        Why would you even be proud of saying that you got three stars? Step your game up.

        • Ben Ramalanjaona (Beta President)

          We lost 30-35 points for a single party violation because of the previous President... also 2 starts means no recognition. 3 stars is the new standard for recognition, so it makes a difference to say that. Ironically, even though we are a "3-star" chapter, we also received every Greek award (except GPA because our grades weren't reported on time). Therefore, the system is flawed. If not for that one poorly executed party, we would have had 4-5 stars. Would we have been a better fraternity because of some meaningless label? No.

          We're doing well. 4-5 stars means you're the fraternity Columbia wants you to be or, more likely, you're very good at hiding violations. We're not, but we'll never lose our house. Beta doesn't need leverage with the University. As a group we like doing community service more than raising money, so we do more of that even though Columbia doesn't want us to. That's completely fine and choices like that should be encouraged. Every group on campus is losing their individuality. Step your game up- don't be a pawn.

    • Greek

      Keep in mind, those are the results for the very first year they were implemented, and are just snapshots of the previous year's performance, not the organization's overall quality. None of the fraternities or sororities had any experience with them (which makes Pike/AEPi's achievements all the more noteworthy). The fact that so many had three or fewer stars should have been a red flag that things needed to be done differently. The 2012 alpha standards were submitted the 1st, and should come out in a month or two. Expect every single one of those you listed to go up at least two stars.

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