By Chloe Tejada
A group of Ryerson students are trying to get the RSU to support a society that oversees fraternities and sororities on campus.
Chris Hagle and Darin Harris, secretary and financial officer, respectively, of the Greek Students’ Society, want affiliation group status from the RSU, but they say that the union will refuse status recognition because of their affiliation with fraternities.
At today’s Annual General Meeting, they will put their proposal up for debate in front of the RSU. “It’s in (the RSU’s) policy that frats aren’t allowed on campus and they won’t even hear about that being changed,” Harris said. The RSU’s policy says: “Groups without an academic orientation, such as fraternities and sororities are not eligible to be affiliate student groups.”
RSU Vice-President of Student Life and Events Alam Ashraful says that the policy is in place because fraternities and sororities “create a difference between men and women. “If a woman wants to be a member of a fraternity, why can they not? That’s a problem,” he said. But Hagle and Harris say that the organization itself is not exclusive.
The society would be a group that regulates fraternities and sororities.
“Anyone can join as long as they are a Ryerson student,” said Harris. “The argument that frats and sororities are exclusive doesn’t work because the men have the frats and the women have the sororities.”
Hagle, Harris and the Society’s president, Ari Morgenthau, decided to form the group one month ago, after their fraternaties were repeatedly denied RSU support. When they presented the idea to the semi-annual meeting in November 2005, they said they were given little time. “(The RSU) all knew what they were going to do,” Hagel said. “You could tell that they had talked and decided not to support us.” Since no one would second the proposal, their idea did not go to vote.
Although they can operate the society without RSU recognition, Harris wants the council to be official. “We could try to run without their support but we want to do it the right way,” Harris said.
“We want to have the student union’s support.”
Both Hagel and Harris say that they gave their registration form to the RSU last week. However, both RSU President Rebecca Rose and Ashraful say that they have not been contacted. “The Greek Council never has approached us for student group status,” Rose said. “I’m not totally clear on what it is and it seems that they aren’t totally clear on what it is.”
Ashraful is confident that the policy won’t change anytime soon. “We don’t know what changes it can make on campus now. We can’t move forward now. If we’re going to move forward we have to change the policy,” he said. Ashraful knows something about the life of fraternities — he was once a member of a U of T fraternity he refused to identify. “I wasn’t an active member. I just wanted to see how it is, to get some idea. I went to a couple of meetings, to parties.”
“We want to get students involved and we want to do stuff on campus. Student life on campus here sucks.”