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The Greek Life

Dispatches from Fraternity Row

When ‘Sorry’ Isn’t Good Enough

I hate complaining. Even when it is clearly beneficial to find something/someone else to blame for my error(s), I still find it difficult to wholeheartedly believe that I was not, to some degree, responsible for my current state of affairs. What it all comes down to is this: accountability.

Few have it these days. It seems as though, and this is generalizing, that many people feel entitled to their own opinion. This might seem like the pot calling the kettle black, coming from someone broadcasting their voice generically over the internet; however, humor me for a second and understand that I will freely admit when I have erred.

My only request is that the criticisms come from a well positioned and logical viewpoint. While logic may lie in the eye of the beholder, healthy discourse is how we all learn from each other and how I come to know that I’m wrong. That being said, there are instances where it’s fairly obvious a mistake has been made. Take for instance the OSU fan-pelting that took place at Pi Kappa Alpha (Pike) fraternity on OSU game day.

I can’t think of anyone who was particularly pleased with being unfairly lumped into a category which condones that sort of behavior – things were even more embarrassing for fraternity members. Most people really can’t tell the difference between all of our organizations.

To some, our letters are the same Greek letters that made lives miserable in math class. That’s not so great for Greeks. It is easy and convenient to lump us all into one big group. That is eternally frustrating. We all have stereotypes. I presented some of my own and of others so far, but what is more important is how we all react in crisis situations. That is where the leadership of Pi Kappa Alpha, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, and the Interfraternity Council has been a great boon to our campus.

There are instances where “sorry” just isn’t good enough. If you would have talked to most people on the day the news broke about OSU fans being harassed and assaulted, you wouldn’t find too many people in any fraternity’s corner, let alone Pike’s. The incident will forever be a stain on our football fans and fraternity culture in general. A simple apology wouldn’t make things better and for that matter wouldn’t change things.

The strategy of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, under Dr. Roy Baker, is that of an apology means nothing if you’re going to make the same mistake again. The fraternity was called in and leaders sat down to have a powwow about accountability for ones actions and learning from mistakes. From there, a comprehensive action plan was developed and noticeable steps have been taken to prevent future foul behavior. How brilliant.

My feeling is that it is impossible to eradicate stupidity. That being said, our Greek community stands at the ready with well qualified leadership where it counts and the creativity needed to approach situations and find innovative solutions. As I see it, isolated incidents will remain just that – isolated – giving everyone less to complain about. This is the best of all possible worlds because I hate complaining – not that I’m complaining.

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Good post. I was glad to see a blog for the penn state greek community appear here. It’s a good addition to the SOS lineup.

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