Amherst College students protest ban on fraternities and sororities
Students protested the decision Thursday afternoon saying they didn't get to voice their own opinions.
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -
Amherst College announced Tuesday that they're banning students from joining fraternities and sororities beginning this summer. Students protested the decision on Thursday afternoon saying they didn't get to voice their own opinions.
Many Amherst College students are not happy with the board of trustees decision to ban student participation in Greek life. Students collected signatures on campus, hoping to have a school wide referendum to overturn the decision. One senior fraternity member said there was no student input in the decision and that's his biggest problem with it.
"If you're going to make a sweeping reform of student life, you need to talk to the students who live on the campus who are actually going to experience that student life on a daily basis," said Jas Sidhu.
Amherst College does not support on campus fraternities or sororities but did allow three off campus fraternities, until now. The decision was made after the trustees reviewed a 2013 suggestion from the Sexual Misconduct Oversight Committee. The decision was made at the end of April, reaffirming a ban established in 1984. Any violation will go against the school's honor code.
"It wasn't the decision to include student voice at the moment of the trustee decision. The student input was gathered during the time of a committee asking the trustees to look at this issue. At this point I would say back to the students, you're right, your voice wasn't included at the level of the trustees making a decision. It's a fair criticism but that's the way it is at this point," said Suzanne Coffey, Chief Student Affairs Officer.
The students believe reaffirming a decision from 1984 is simply out-of-date.
"The circumstances have changed over 30 years. This isn't the same campus as it was 30 years ago, we need a fresh look at the situation," said Sidhu.
One freshman woman said she doesn't have a problem with fraternities on campus.
"As a woman I am very secure in my gender and my sexuality, and I don't think that participation in frats threatens me in anyway," said Joyce Wamala.
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