Pencil Shavings: An open letter to the fraternity men of Ball State
Justice Amick is a junior news journalism major and writes “Pencil Shavings" for The Daily News. Her views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Justice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would like to open this letter by saying I know that not all of you are bad. I know many of you represent the pillars of Greek Life: scholarship, leadership, service, and brotherhood. You do this with your heads held high and your flags swaying in the breeze. I commend you for it. I just have something I’d like to say.
At this point, the ban that has been placed on you has been lifted. You are free to host whatever function you see fit, throw whatever kind of parties you want and, yet again, show how great Ball State can be.
However, as a woman of Ball State, I am asking of you one thing: Please look out for your brothers.
Bad decisions and horrible events took place last semester. Fraternity brothers made decisions that may not have been the smartest and, in consequence, ended up hurting people, especially women.
Some people, like Kai-man Hayden, 19, a Muncie resident, thought the action taken wasn't enough.
“I feel as if the ban was a temporary solution, in which Ball State implemented to appease people rather than take appropriate action by banning the fraternities in general,” Hayden said.
If the ban is lifted and the cycle starts again, then it is for nothing. If it is lifted and more women get hurt, then you don't deserve to be a Ball State student. We stand for more than this.
Hayden was right. Appeasement never works to change the world for the better. But this doesn’t have to be appeasement.
I’m hoping that after this ban you at least realize the purpose behind it. I hope you understand there was a problem that was out of control.
As a fraternity member, it is your duty to watch out for your brothers. Make sure they are treating everyone with the utmost respect, that they are keeping themselves and others around them safe at all times.
I will be honest. When I heard about the ban on the fraternities, I was not a fan. I did not think the issue was something that could be handled in that way. There was more that needed to be done. There was a change that needed to take place in the hearts and minds of all of us.
The voices are mounting, and it’s time that you heard us. A woman I know, Katharine Wilhelm, has similar thoughts.
“I don’t think it was the most effective solution, just because the problem wasn’t that people were having these parties and having alcohol. The real problem is the partying culture here at Ball State in general,” Wilhelm said. “The core problem is that unsafe drinking is promoted, and when you have unsafe drinking and there’s this culture where it’s okay to do this to people without their consent, this happens. So I think it would be better if fraternities changed the culture.”
The problem, the evil in some cases, is something that lives within your own four walls you call home. You all cohabit and see almost every movement your brothers make. Somewhere along the line, I feel as though something was seen and nothing was said. That has led us to this moment.
Accountability is key in the renewed success of your fraternities. People are starting to stand up and speak out. It would be terrible if we went back to where we started. You all represent Ball State across the country, and I know that many of you can represent us to the best of your ability.
I’m hoping you all come together and make every single fraternity brother aware that the behavior that happened last semester is not acceptable.
Consent is something that has to be given. It cannot be taken, forced or coerced. I am putting my faith in all of you men out there that you will uphold your pillars and not only look out for the women of the Ball State campus, but also for each other.
So roll up your sleeves. There’s work that needs to be done.