On September 9, Vice President for Student Life Dr. Frank E. Ross III met with members of the Alumni Inter Greek Council to discuss upcoming changes to Greek life at Rensselaer. Among these changes was the plan to mandate that students affiliated with Greek houses spend the Summer Arch program in on-campus housing, rather than in their respective Greek houses. The decision appears to have been made without direct contact with the students, as the information was only provided to campus fraternities and sororities after it had been made. For Greek organizations, the changes could be detrimental to the normal working function of the houses, and could result in additional living costs.
Throughout the decision-making process, it appears that administrators had always intended to have all students live in on-campus housing, and the decision appears to have been made before student input had been taken into consideration. In a statement sent to Ross on May 24 of this year, AIGC President Roger Grice stated that “Reports coming from committees studying the implementation of the Rensselaer Summer Arch Program have reported out in various forums that all rising juniors will be required to live in Rensselaer residence halls during the summer session after completion of their sophomore year.” Prior to the implementation of Summer Arch, Greek-affiliated students had been able to spend this summer living in Greek housing. Some students may prefer to live in their houses, and oftentimes Greek housing is a more affordable option for students.
Administrators appear to have used the AIGC as their central point of contact, but the decision seemingly contradicts the sentiment held by the AIGC. In the same May statement, members of the AIGC wrote that “it is the unanimous position of the Alumni Inter-Greek Council (representing all social fraternities and sororities at Rensselaer) that such a decision by Rensselaer is not consistent with the provisions of the current Greek Life Commons Agreement or the concept of a Greek Commons within Rensselaer’s concept of CLASS.” Additionally, Grice stated that mandating students live on campus “is detrimental to the leadership development potential of students who are members of the Greek Life Commons as well as being financially detrimental to the viability of Greek houses and organizations, especially as it pertains to health, safety, and property upkeep.” In correspondence with The Polytechnic, committee member Bob Eckert has stated that “Our goal is to work with Rensselaer to see that Greeks are able to live in their chapter houses during the summer of their junior year.”
When speaking with The Polytechnic, Ross said that the purpose of having rising juniors live on campus is community building. There are plans to hold events during the summer that will bring the class closer together before large portions leave for either their fall or spring semester.
Although administrators have already moved forward on the decisions, a survey has recently been issued to chapter presidents at Rensselaer fraternities and sororities to gather student input on the changes. The results of the survey are yet to be seen, but The Polytechnic expects to hear from administrators and other members of the AIGC in the coming weeks.