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1. Letter from AMS Executive ……………………………………………………... 1 2. AMS Constitution (Section 7.01.13) …………………………………………….. 4 3. Queen’s Encyclopedia entry on fraternities and sororities ………………………. 5 4. “Fraternal follies”, Queen’s Alumni Review ……………………………............. 6 5. Queen’s University Senate minutes from 1932 – 1934 ………………………….. 13 6. AMS Blog Post ……………………………………………..…………………… 16 7. AMS Blog post results ………………………………………………………….. 8. Letter from AMS legal counsel ……………………..………………………….. 9. Letter from Queen’s University legal counsel …..……………………………… 17 20 22
The Executive of the Alma Mater Society John Deutsch University Centre, Queen’s University Kingston, ON K7L 3N6 Phone: (613) 533-3001 | Fax: (613) 533-3002
November 22nd, 2012 Dear AMS Assembly, In recent years, the issue of fraternities and sororities at Queen’s, and the AMS constitutional ban, has surfaced repeatedly. Over the past month, we have spent considerable time and energy exploring the existence and history of fraternities and sororities1 at Queen’s University, the reasons for the AMS ban on dual membership since 1934, the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as policy options moving forward. We have heard arguments for and against the existence of fraternities and sororities at Queen’s, from students, alumni, and community members. We received over 150 responses to a blog posted on October 18th, and although the feedback form was not intended as a survey, the opinions shared were insightful. We have also consulted AMS and University legal counsel in order to better understand the role and authority of both the AMS and the University – neither of which are bound by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms – in restricting individual membership in a group and restricting groups from affiliation or resources. Throughout this process, we have attempted to balance the information and opinions gathered with the mandate of the Society: to serve and represent the best interests of our students. In doing so, we have been guided by the AMS Constitution, including the Society’s mission statement and operating statements. We have included them here for your reference: AMS MISSION STATEMENT To serve and represent the diversity of students at Queen's. AMS OPERATING STATEMENT 1. The AMS shall strive to be non-racist, non-sexist, non-homophobic and otherwise inclusive and non-discriminatory; 2. The AMS and its representative shall adhere to the Queen's Code of Conduct; 3. The AMS and its representatives shall act in an accountable manner and be accessible to all of its membership; 4. The AMS is an equal opportunity employer. As a Society, we are bound by the AMS mission and operating statements. As an Executive, we each strongly support and embrace these statements, professionally and personally as Queen’s students and AMS members.
The existing policy in the AMS Constitution defines a fraternity or sorority as “any organization composed of students and former students which has a secret oat, constitution, or pledge or which has a sign of identification such as a pin or Greek letters, or which is affiliated with any organization outside of the University” (Section 7.01.13). We would like to note that it is well-known that a community-based fraternity chapter currently exists in Kingston, comprised mostly or entirely of Queen’s students. It has never been our intention to dismiss this fact; however, it would be short-sighted and misguided for our discussion to be based solely on one organization. The AMS constitutional ban has been in place for nearly 80 years; the question of the place of fraternities and sororities at Queen’s was raised long before us, and the outcomes of this discussion will impact generations of Queen’s students that come after us.
On a basic level, our understanding of fraternities and sororities is that they are exclusive in membership, promote a strict gender binary, and may be elitist. In accordance with the first and third AMS operating statements, it is our unequivocal belief that fraternities and sororities should not access AMS resources, including space or funding, regardless of further outcomes from this discussion; permitting these groups to do so would be a direct violation of the spirit and letter of the Society’s mandate. We believe that the Society, through AMS Assembly, should develop a policy on fraternities and sororities that addresses outstanding issues, beyond affiliation and access to resources. Even if the status quo (a constitutional ban on membership) were to be reaffirmed by Assembly, the existing policy is insufficient alone. We believe that a comprehensive policy on fraternities and sororities must address: Whether the AMS has an on-campus ban of fraternities or sororities (a ban on accessing AMS and University resources, such as space or funding) Whether the AMS continues to hold an off-campus ban on fraternities and sororities (a ban on membership by an AMS member in a fraternity/sorority) A clearly outlined rationale for either, or both, of the above
This policy would also serve to inform whether the AMS shall pursue other avenues of condoning or condemning fraternities and sororities, such as a representational stance on the matter to the Queen’s Senate. Our understanding is that the Senate’s position against fraternities and sororities is still in effect, and that any further positions by the Senate will be informed by student opinions. The development of this policy should be informed by the information we have gathered thus far (included in this package), and any further information requested by AMS Assembly. In this package, you will find a legal opinion from both Michael Hickey (AMS legal counsel) and Diane Kelly (University legal counsel). At the centre of this discussion has been the question: does the existing AMS constitutional ban on an AMS member holding membership in a fraternity or sorority violate human rights or contravene the Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Based on the responses from both Mr. Hickey and Ms. Kelly, it is our interpretation that the Society, as a private entity with sufficient separation from the government, can ban dual membership in both the AMS and an off-campus fraternity or sorority. The outstanding questions that remain are: i) should the AMS maintain an on-campus ban on fraternities and sororities (ban on resources) and/or an off-campus ban on dual membership in both the Society and a fraternity or sorority, and ii) how would the AMS, through the non-academic discipline system, enforce such a ban or apply sanctions. As an Executive, each of us has thought deeply and personally about this issue over the past month. We have heard from some individuals that fraternities and sororities may offer Queen’s students something that they may not find in other campus groups. We have also been cautioned not to paint all fraternities or sororities with the same brush, and that some groups focus on leadership development and philanthropy. However, we have also heard from current students and alumni that an influx of fraternities and sororities may threaten the very fabric of the community that makes our Queen’s experience so unique. Concerns have been raised over the fundamental exclusionary quality of fraternities and sororities, which is predicated on a strict gender binary. Concerns have also been raised over the potential for fraternities and sororities, which are chapters of national or international umbrella organizations, to divert loyalties from campus clubs, athletic teams, faculty societies, and the AMS, to organizations completely external to Queen’s. We have been cautioned that the outcome of this discussion will impact generations of Queen’s students still to come.
The very identity of the Queen’s community, and the future of our community, has been at the heart of all opinions received thus far. It would be naïve to argue that the Queen’s community is inclusive, welcoming, or safe for all students. Many students may struggle to find their place at Queen’s, and may face very real discrimination or oppression. The AMS must always strive to serve and represent students who are excluded from student life at Queen’s, and this is not a task that any Executive can accomplish easily, or alone. We acknowledge that some university campuses may benefit from fraternities and sororities. However, we believe that Queen’s is unique. The geography of our student housing, the vibrancy of our student life and opportunities, the involvement of our students in University governance and decision making – all of this sets Queen’s apart. It is our position that the time has arrived for AMS Assembly to develop a clear policy on fraternities and sororities. Beginning with the AMS mission and operating statement, and extending to encompass the host of concerns that have been raised to us, it is our firm belief that fraternities and sororities should be precluded from accessing AMS resources. Furthermore, it is our belief that the fundamental exclusionary nature of fraternities and sororities would facilitate more negative than positive impacts on the Queen’s experience. It is our opinion that the AMS should take a strong stance against the development of such organizations at Queen’s. Notwithstanding our own strong opinions on this matter, we believe it is critical for Assembly members to engage fully in this issue and to carefully assess whether, and how, the student body should be consulted more broadly. It is the Assembly that governs the content of the AMS Constitution and all of the Society’s policies. As an Executive, we are committed to gathering any additional information requested by Assembly to facilitate this process. We are looking forward to a productive, engaged, and respectful discussion at our Assembly meeting this Thursday. If you have comments, questions, or would like to speak further, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Doug Johnson President & CEO email@example.com
Mira Dineen Vice-President (University Affairs) firstname.lastname@example.org
Tristan Lee Vice-President (Operations) email@example.com
AMS Constitution Part 7: EXTRACURRICULAR ORGANIZATIONS/CLUBS Section 7.01 Ratification and Guidelines 7.01.13 No member of the Society shall be an active member of any fraternity or sorority, that is, any organization composed of students and former students which has a secret oath, constitution or pledge or which has a sign of identification such as a pin or Greek letters, or which is affiliated with any organization outside of the University. An active member is a member who attends regular meetings and pays dues. The Society shall prosecute any violation of the above regulations through the appropriate tribunal. This regulation shall not be construed to forbid membership in such organizations as fraternal groups in which most members are not students. These include the Masonic Order, the Knights of Columbus, the International Order of Oddfellows, various political parties and other similar organizations. The AMS Constitution is available at: http://myams.org/about-your-ams/governance.aspx
Fraternities and Sororities Fraternities and sororities have been banned at Queen’s since a ruling by the Alma Mater Society (AMS) in 1933. The ruling was a response to the formation of two fraternities in the 1920s, one for Arts and Science students and a second, more active one, for Medical students. A majority of Queen's students, who prided themselves on egalitarianism and united community spirit, disapproved of these organizations because of their external affiliations and the exclusivity that they fostered. A coalition of anti-fraternity forces, led by the Levana Society and Arts and Theology students, swept the AMS elections of 1933 and sponsored an open meeting of about 1000 students in Grant Hall, during which students voted to ban all fraternities and sororities. The 24 members of the Medical fraternity, however, defied this ban and were brought before the AMS Court in 1934 for contravention of the AMS constitution. They were found guilty and declared ineligible to participate in all student political, social, and athletic activities for a year. This finally brought an end to fraternities, but the medical students carried on what became known as Medical House, a residence for medical students at 49 King Street East. There have never been any sororities at the university. See Queen’s Alumni Review article "Fraternal Follies" (published January 2010), for an in-depth perspective on the battle against fraternities and sororities at Queen's…
Source: http://www.queensu.ca/encyclopedia/f/fraternitiesandsororities.html Accessed October 1, 2012
Ken Cuthbertson, Alumni Review Editor
For more than a century now, fraternities and sororities have been central to student life on the campuses of colleges and universities across North America. These Greek-letter societies are focal points for a variety of activities, some of them laudable, others deplorable. The U of T has them. So do McGill, Western, and several other well-known Canadian universities. South of the border, elite Ivy League schools such as Harvard, Stanford, Brown, Yale, and Princeton do, too – albeit reluctantly in the case of the latter two.
Herb Carter, the manager of the Eat-a-Pie Club in 1914 hands rent payment to the club's landlady. (Queen's Archives photo) Supporters say fraternities and sororities provide undergraduate students with a much-needed sense of community, emotional support, and even a “home away from home.” Critics counter that these groups are exclusionary, elitist, and promote anti-social behaviour that’s sexist, rowdy, and promotes binge drinking. Even if that’s not really the case, it’s the popular image that the 1978 film National Lampoon’s Animal House had fun with and glorified. Within the memory of most living alumni, fraternities and sororities have been conspicuous in their absence from Queen’s campus. However, this wasn’t always so.
No female students have ever tried to organize a sorority on campus – possibly because they had residences earlier than the men and Goodwin, Matheson, Gordon, and Muir Houses offered some of the best aspects of sorority houses, but there was a time in the early 1930s when it looked as if fraternities were taking root at Queen’s. And they might well have done so, if the Alma Mater Society (AMS) -- with the support of then-Principal W. Hamilton Fyfe -- hadn’t moved to outlaw them. In fact, 2009 marked the 75th anniversary of an historic student vote to ban fraternities and sororities from campus, a move that followed a bitter and at times emotional debate and headline-making prosecutions that left a segment of the student population angry, hurt, and forever resentful towards their alma mater. This little-known page of Tricolour history was inadvertently highlighted in 2009 when the University honoured retired Kingston businessman Graham Thomson, BCom’34, at the first-ever Spring Reunion’s “Re-Convocation” ceremony. A few words of explanation are needed to clarify what this has to do with fraternities. Thomson was a former student, who never actually graduated from Queen’s. He was in the third year of his studies when he dropped out to work in his father’s insurance business. That was in late 1933, the nadir of the Great Depression. Times were tough. “My family had no money,” he recalled. “People were still buying insurance policies, but often it was difficult to collect the premiums.” Despite never having completed his degree, Thomson went on to a stellar business career. For many years he was one of Kingston’s leading citizens, operating successful insurance and real estate brokerage businesses and volunteering for many civic causes. Through it all, he remained a loyal Queen’s man and encouraged his son, George Thomson, LLB’65, to follow in his footsteps. The latter did so, and, unlike his dad, was able to complete his Arts and Law studies. The younger Thomson has enjoyed such an exemplary legal and public-service career in Ottawa that Queen’s gave him an honorary doctorate in 2007. I think it was some medical students who were the first to start a fraternity on campus. . . . In recognition of the elder Thomson’s long association with Queen’s and to acknowledge the fact he was one of only about a dozen of the 388 original
members of the Class of 1934 who were still living, the University awarded him a certificate hailing him as an honorary graduate of Arts’34. When his good friend, Emeritus Professor (Political Studies) Stewart Fyfe, Arts’49, MA’55 (no relation to Principal Fyfe), contacted the Review to ensure the news was duly reported in the magazine, he mentioned in passing Thomson’s role in the dramatic events that led to the banning of fraternities and sororities at Queen’s in 1934. This was the first I’d heard of this. I knew that the University had outlawed fraternities and sororities, but I had only a sketchy knowledge of the details. The news that Thomson was a key figure in the process prompted me to ring him up in hopes of learning the details. Although he turned 100 in August 2009, Graham Thomson was still relatively hale and hardy when I called on him a few weeks later. Since he lived in one of those grand old Victorian houses just a few blocks north of campus, he suggested that I drop by to see him. He would, he said, tell me the story of his role in the drama that ended in Queen’s banning fraternities and sororities. “I was the president of Delta Omega Kappa in 1933,” Thomson recalled when I visited him. “I think it was some medical students who were the first to start a fraternity on campus.” According to the Review archives, that is correct, but it’s only half the story. Longtime Review editor Herb Hamilton, BA’31, LLD’75, relates in his 1977 book Queen’s Queen’s Queen’s that Edward Wood, BA 1910, MD 1914, told him a chapter of the New York-based Phi Sigma Kappa was active on campus in the 1890s and early 1900s. For several years, the group flew “below the radar,” as we now say. However, when the administration this was happening, the principal issued an edict banning fraternities, that was the end of that. Well, sort of. Another old grad, J. Arnot MacGregor, BA 1915, MD 1921, told Hamilton that in the years just prior to WWI, he and a group of his classmates -- some students being ever ready to challenge authority—started a group called the “Eat-a-Pie-Club.” It violated no University ban and, as Hamilton noted, “still approximated the sound of a Greek-letter society.”
Graham Thompson in the fall of 2009. (Ken Cuthbertson photo) The club, made up of a couple dozen students, many of them varsity athletes, scholars, musicians, and the like, was based in a house on Alfred Street, not far from campus. The residence, “owned by two gracious ladies who acted as hostess and waitress,” was run on a co-op basis. A 1914 archival photo shows the landlady and her “27 contented customers,” as Herb Hamilton described them. “The venture lasted several years,” he wrote, “and came to an end shortly after illness struck down the ladies who provided the motive power.” It seems the debate about the merits of fraternities died down for a few years after that. Then in 1924, a group of Arts undergrads again proposed the idea of starting a fraternity at Queen’s. Their campaign touched off a debate that simmered on-and-off for much of the next decade. Occasionally the rhetoric heated up and spilled over into the pages of the campus media. J. Alex. Edmison, BA’26, LLD’74, who had once belonged to a fraternity at McGill, penned an impassioned anti-fraternity article that appeared in the December 1929 issue of the Review (then published nine times each year). “I believe that such an innovation would contribute little to, and possibly detract from, that traditional spirit so long associated with student affairs at Queen’s,” he wrote. This was too much for those of the opposite mind. J. C. Macgillivray, BA’23, responded with a four-page article in the May 1930 issue of the Alumni Review in which he made the case for fraternities at Queen’s, arguing that “new vistas would be opened up to the undergraduate and there would be a broadening influence which would benefit all and harm none.” This is about when Graham Thomson appeared on the scene. He arrived on campus in the autumn of 1930. At age 21 -- students tended to be older in those days -- he was carefree and, as a Kingston freshman, didn’t pay much,
if any, attention to the debate that was playing itself out in boarding houses, AMS meetings, and the pages of the University’s alumni magazine. He may not even have been aware -- he no longer remembers if he was -- that the AMS in January 1931 amended its constitution to include a clause that outlawed fraternities or sororities made up of AMS members. Since all undergraduate students at Queen’s are members of the Society, ipso facto, that meant fraternities were effectively banned from campus. That restriction lasted until 1933. Graham Thomson (who had been elected chair of the of the 1933 Orientation Week committee) and a half-dozen like-minded friends began lobbying for an end to the AMS ban. They got their wish when supporters took advantage of sparse attendance at the student government’s annual general meeting to put forward a motion repealing the ban on fraternities. When it was, that opened the door for Thomson et al. to start a chapter of the Delta Omega Kappa fraternity. He quickly recruited 39 members, each of whom anted up the twodollar monthly membership fee. “At first, we rented a place on Princess Street. It was owned by a man who had quit his job with the prison service. He lived in the house and worked as our cook,” Thomson recalled. The fraternity subsequently moved to another house on the southwest corner of Stuart and Barrie Streets (where the new Medical School building is now under construction), and then a limestone house at King and Earl Streets, which was owned by Canada Steamship Lines. Unlike the rowdy frat houses of today, the Delta Omega Kappa headquarters was a model of propriety. Thomson noted that while after so many years many of the details of the fraternity’s operations had grown fuzzy in his mind, he does remember his own situation. “Money was still tight, and so I continued to live at home,” he said. “However, I spent a lot of time at the fraternity house and still have fond memories of the place.” Unlike the rowdy frat houses of today, the Delta Omega Kappa headquarters was a model of propriety. “We were almost a non-drinking outfit. We only had alcohol in the house on special occasions,” said Thomson. “There were no women [members] allowed. If I ever wanted to bring my girl there for a visit, I had to sign her into the guest book.”
Thomson also explained that the local chapter of Delta Omega Kappa was loosely run and took what he describes as a relaxed approach to its activities. It was also “Queen’s-oriented,” much to the dismay of the fraternity’s American brothers, who sometimes came to Kingston for meetings. “We were a bit too lenient about things for their liking,” said Thomson.
1934 Queen's Meds fraternity pin that has been made into a ring Despite this, the fraternity remained in the cross-hairs of those who were opposed to the group on principle. When the slate of officers put forward by the Arts-Levana-Theology party, staunch anti-fraternity types, swept to power in the 1933-34 AMS elections, winning five of six executive positions, Thomson knew there would be trouble. It came quickly. New AMS President Albert Winnett, BA’34, set up a three-member fact-finding committee to look in the operations of fraternities on campus and to issue a report on the two such groups that were known to be active -- Delta Omega Kappa and a medical students’ quasi-fraternity called Psi Delta Phi. In the wake of that report, Winnett and his executive team proposed a two-clause amendment of the AMS constitution. One part banned all Greek-letter societies from campus and the other slapped controls on “any clubs of students living together for social purposes and governed by a constitution.” These proposals were debated in an open meeting held in Grant Hall. The gathering drew more than 1,000 students, who listened as impassioned speakers on both sides of the issue stood up to have their say. However, when the din had died and the votes were counted, the ban on fraternities and sororities (which were included even though none were active on campus) was approved by the required two-third majority; the measure having to do with clubs was not. In the wake of the AMS meeting, the Alumni Association executive, the University Senate, and the Board of Trustees all came out in support of the ban on fraternities. That, as they say, sealed the deal. Surprisingly, even Graham Thomson came away convinced the right thing had been done. “Some of us who were involved [with Delta Omega Kappa] changed our minds when we heard Albert Winnett’s speech that night in Grant Hall. We voted in
favour of the constitutional amendments banning fraternities because we didn’t want to divide the campus or have things broken up at Queen’s,” he said. His membership kept their frat initials in an altered form and became the D.O.K Club for a year or two. Herb Hamilton noted that some medical alumni never forgave the nine professors who had encouraged them to join Nu Sigma Nu and who had joined it themselves . . . .
Principal Fyfe The measure adopted that fall was endorsed by Principal Fyfe, who saluted “the good sense of the students and their elected representatives.” In his annual report for 1933-34, he wrote, “We do not want [fraternities] at Queen’s, because the whole University is itself a fraternity, and our brotherly spirit would inevitably suffer from rival loyalties and from the exclusive spirit which fraternities tend to foster.” Herb Hamilton noted that some medical alumni never forgave the nine professors who had encouraged them to join Ni Sigma Nu, and who had joined it themselves, but who never spoken up. Neither did the alumnui forgive Principal Fyfe for backing the ban on fraternities (they assumed he’d given their fraternity his tacit approval, only to unilaterally withdraw it later). However, after the 1934 prosecution of the 24 Meds student members of Nu Sigma Nu (including four star varsity football players) made national news, the matter has never again been a “live issue” at Queen’s. That was true in 1977 when Hamilton made that observation, 33 years after that historic student vote. And it remains true to this day, 75 years later. “It was a long time ago,” said Graham Thomson. “Looking back on it now, I think really it was the right thing to do. The ban was a good decision.”
Source URL: http://www.queensu.ca/news/alumnireview/fraternal-follies-0 Online-only article, 2011-08-08
Fraternities & Sororities At Queen’s: Your Thoughts
In the early 1930s the AMS and the University banned fraternities and sororities on campus. This ban, which is reflected in AMS Constitution Section 7, precludes AMS members from “be[ing] an active member of any fraternity or sorority, that is, any organization composed of students and former students which has a secret oath, constitution or pledge or which has a sign of identification such as a pin or Greek letters, or which is affiliated with any organization outside of the University.” At the time, the AMS felt that fraternities and sororities created an exclusive environment and did not reflect the egalitarianism that Queen’s and the AMS endeavours to foster. It has been nearly 80 years since the ban was implemented and the AMS feels that it is time for broader consultation, to hear from students, and to have a campus-wide discussion on this issue. The AMS is therefore beginning a process whereby the Executive will seek student feedback regarding the ban and the place of fraternities or sororities at Queen’s. The Executive will present the findings to AMS Assembly, the governing body that oversees the amendment and implementation of AMS Constitution. The Executive is also seeking a definitive legal opinion on the matter. The AMS has worked throughout the summer on this issue, and is looking forward to a healthy and informed debate on the subject. Throughout this process, all students are invited to submit their feedback using the feedback form below. The Executive will read each entry and summarize the results in a report, using non-identifying information. Ultimately this process attempts to answer the following questions: What is the role and impact of fraternities or sororities on the Queen’s community? What are the concerns or implications with retaining the ban or lifting the ban? Should fraternities or sororities exist at Queen’s?
Further information about the history of the ban on fraternities and sororities can be found here: http://www.queensu.ca/news/alumnireview/fraternal-follies-0 http://www.queensu.ca/encyclopedia/f/fraternitiesandsororities.html The AMS Constitution, including the AMS mission statement and Section 7, can be found here: http://myams.org/about-your-ams/governance.aspx We look forward to your input. Doug, Mira and Tristan AMS President, Vice President of University Affairs, and Vice President of Operations
Source: http://blog.myams.org/2012/10/fraternities-sororities-at-queens-your-thoughts/ Posted on October 18th, 2012
Fraternities & Sororities At Queen’s: Report for AMS Assembly on the Arguments and Opinions Submitted to the AMS Executive Background
In the early 1930s the AMS and the University banned fraternities and sororities on campus. This ban, which is reflected in AMS Constitution Section 7, precludes AMS members from “be[ing] an active member of any fraternity or sorority, that is, any organization composed of students and former students which has a secret oath, constitution or pledge or which has a sign of identification such as a pin or Greek letters, or which is affiliated with any organization outside of the University.” It has been nearly 80 years since the ban was implemented and the AMS feels that it is time for broader consultation, to hear from students, and to have a campus-wide discussion on this issue. The Executive has therefore solicited feedback regarding the ban and the place of fraternities or sororities at Queen’s through an online form located on the AMS blog.
Statement Regarding Methodology
The AMS Executive would like to make clear that this phase of consultation has been aimed at getting a sense of the arguments and opinions that exist amongst alumni, the student body, and other campus stakeholders. The Executive feels that it is important to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to provide written, anonymous feedback regarding this issue. The process of consultation thus far has not been intended as a ‘poll’. The information contained herein is not necessarily reflective of the views of the AMS Executive, or any other AMS staff member.
Fraternities & Sororities: For and Against
The online feedback form generated 118 responses. 48 students identified themselves as such, 32 respondents identified themselves as alumni, and 4 respondents identified themselves as community members. 34 respondents declined to select one of these options. This table summarizes the arguments provided through the feedback form. It should be noted that the responses in this table address the harms and benefits of fraternities/sororities themselves. The ‘Other Comments/Arguments’ section below includes legalistic, ‘big picture’ considerations. For Fraternities/sororities can carry out philanthropic activities, having a positive impact on the community and the school. Fraternities/sororities can provide a place for students without athletic ability, musical talent, or other ‘niche’ interests to bond and get involved. With sharp rises in enrolment, faculties and programs are becoming larger. Against There already exist plenty of ways to get involved in the Queen’s and Kingston communities. There is a single, recognizable Queen’s identity associated with our school spirit. To introduce fraternities/sororities would be to splinter this identity and damage this spirit. There is no pressing need - ‘don’t fix it if it isn’t broken’.
Fraternities & Sororities At Queen’s: Report for AMS Assembly on the Arguments and Opinions Submitted to the AMS Executive
Fraternities/sororities could function to create smaller, more intimate communities. Most modern fraternities/sororities have strong anti-hazing policies. They provide a family-like level of support for members, both within fraternities/sororities and between them. The AMS and University could profit by having fraternities/sororities pay annual dues. Fraternities/sororities provide a unique opportunity for inter-university and international networking. Like any other group or club, fraternities/sororities provide opportunities for meaningful participation. There are proven examples of fraternities operating in Kingston that provide a network of support to students and engage in charitable activities. The mere existence of fraternities/sororities provides students with the opportunity to make independent decisions, an important component of becoming an adult. Despite the existence of numerous clubs and organizations geared toward providing outlets for meaningful participation, there are still students for whom fraternities/sororities would provide the only opportunity to bond.
Fraternities/sororities foster exclusivity, social hierarchy, and cliques. Fraternities/sororities are prohibitively expensive and will lead to social stratification and/or elitism. Fraternities/sororities can lead to hazing practices. Fraternities/sororities can create an unsafe environment with respect to physical/verbal abuse and sexual assault. Many alumni will dislike the existence of fraternities/sororities, impacting annual giving and student-alumni relations. The AMS and other organizations provide sufficient outlets for philanthropy and community service. Fraternities/sororities have a tendency to promote and foster heavy drinking and/or drug abuse. There is already a problematic drinking culture at Queen’s, and this would only be exacerbated by fraternities/sororities. The fraternity /sorority ‘rush’ would interfere with Orientation Week activities.
There are already rivalries between faculties, residences, etc. Fraternities/sororities would add to these in a negative way. Based simply on the negative connotations associated with fraternities/sororities, it would be in the interest of the AMS and University to ban such groups. Fraternities/sororities are in their nature oppressive and reinforce a binary understanding of gender. The rivalries that are fostered between fraternities/sororities can lead to violence and unhealthy competition.
Fraternities & Sororities At Queen’s: Report for AMS Assembly on the Arguments and Opinions Submitted to the AMS Executive Other Comments/Arguments
Freedom of association: Students should have a right to associate themselves with any group of their choosing. The AMS should not be in the business of banning our membership from participation in certain kinds of groups. Recognition of status quo: The existence of at least one fraternity including AMS members has already been confirmed. Students involved in this organization should not feel persecuted. Probationary period: The ban could be lifted for a time, during which the AMS and University could monitor the effects of these groups, or lack thereof, on the Queen’s community. Individual choice: Students make the decision to come to Queen’s as opposed to other Canadian universities that allow fraternities and sororities. Students must therefore abide by the rules associated with their chosen institution. Case Study: In April 1983, Princeton University lifted a decades-old ban on fraternities but reaffirmed their opposition to these types of groups. Today, 15 unrecognized fraternities and sororities exist including over 700 undergraduate members. Comparative groups: A number of organizations and informal on campus already “act like fraternities” by promoting a culture of excessive drinking and other destructive behaviours. Equality of opportunity: All AMS clubs and services, while potentially restrictive in terms of numbers, are open to any student who wishes to participate. Fraternities/sororities would function on a more arbitrary and restrictive basis. Distinctions: There is an inherent difference between cultural and religious fraternities/sororities and secular Greek-Letter Organizations. AMS resources: Notwithstanding the existence, or lack thereof, of the ban itself, the AMS should withhold resources from fraternities, including funding, space, or official recognition.
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