Amherst College, one of the top-ranked liberal arts schools in the nation, is threatening to suspend or expel any student who joins an off-campus fraternity or sorority.
The college had already withdrawn recognition of the Greek organizations 20 years ago, but recognized their right to function off campus. But now it is against school rules to join an off-campus organization on one's own time.
The credit, or blame, for all of this goes to the same group that gets the credit for virtually everything that is wrong with America -- Liberals. Just consider the praise heaped on the decision by student Dana Bolger, who said the decision demonstrates the school’s commitment to “challenging the pervasive culture of white male privilege and entitlement on campus.”
Ah, yes, those pesky white males. Clearly Bolger doesn't much care for the men who are in fraternities. Wouldn't it be easier for her just to stay away from them?
I do wonder if Amherst officials have considered the Constitutional aspects of their edict. As a matter of public policy, people have a right to hang out with whomever they wish. Amherst is a private college, but it receives massive amounts of federal money through student loans, grants and other programs. A few colleges have gotten away with banning student involvement in off-campus groups, but that may change.
The Supreme Court did rule a hundred years ago that colleges do have the right to ban fraternity membership, in Waugh v. Board of Trustees of the University of Mississippi, 237 U.S. 589 (1915). But while that case has never been expressly overruled, the reasoning is at odds with virtually all modern court decisions on the right of association. The history of Mississippi's ban on fraternities, as I understand it, is that a powerful legislator's son was cut out of rush at Ole Miss. So he just got a law passed banning fraternities.
An interesting law journal article by Stetson University's Marc Bauer suggests that the recent Citizens United and Christian Legal Society Supreme Court Decisions offer additional freedom of association rights to students wishing to participate in off-campus Greek life. I certainly hope he's right. His article is worth a read.
America's first social fraternity -- now an honorary -- was Phi Beta Kappa, founded at William and Mary in 1776. Most of its members were sympathetic to the Revolution, and the fraternity gave them a way to meet with others of like mind away from the prying eyes of the overwhelmingly Tory faculty.
Greek organizations do today what they did in 1776. They allow members to gather with friends and share opinions that might not be popular with the left-wing establishment. That's why liberals hate Greek letter organizations, and why true Americans respect them.
Nobody reading this will have any desire to attend Amherst in the first place, but we can certainly hope that college will face both legal and economic consequences as a result of its decision to trample on the most basic of human rights.
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