Staff ed: We’re not suspended, you’re suspended

This staff editorial is not about guns. Because, honestly, we shouldn’t even need to tell anyone not to bring a gun onto campus. Let alone two. Let alone an AR-15.

This staff editorial is about the other events that led up to this point. You might be asking, what are those other events? And we wish we could tell you.

Washington University administration has specifically stated that the fraternity’s current status as “permanently suspended” arose “overwhelmingly on other violations.” This might raise another question: which ones?

Was it the hazing that occurred last spring? Or the near-weekly party buses? Or the unregistered parties held in the fraternity house? Multiple sources confirmed to Student Life that they reported the fraternity for violating their previous status as temporarily suspended, but the last we heard, this was still pending investigation. And now the fraternity has been permanently suspended. Without acknowledging the specific acts committed on the fraternity’s behalf, how will others know what the supposed precedent is?

To those both in and out of Greek life, the hierarchy of punishment severity and the violations it takes to get there are at the least murky and at the most indecipherable. If minor offenses earn someone social probation for a weekend, and hazing—which is illegal in Missouri—equals temporary suspension, what exactly does being permanently banned from campus add up to?

While the University seems to have acted swiftly once alerted to the most recent crisis, there are others that did not. Every person that saw the photo of the gun and did nothing, every person—both members of Phi Delt and otherwise—who knew the gun existed and did nothing, are complicit. Regardless of the legality of the weapons themselves, their presence on campus is a blatant abuse of school policy and represents an implicit threat to all students, staff members and faculty.

Again, in case it wasn’t clear or obvious before, the use of or storing of guns on campus, no matter the supposed justification or reassurances given, is against the rules. Period. Don’t do it. Ever. Please, for the safety and security and stability of your peers.

Being direct and explicit about the sequence of events demonstrates that actions have consequences, and which actions garner certain types of consequences. Changing the culture and showing a willingness to react by making tangible adjustments has the potential to show people that it means something to come forward.

To those that reported, thank you. To those taking to social media to call for an end to the toxic behaviors of members of our community, thank you. We believe this event can act as a catalyst to open the conversation about what fraternity life at Wash. U. really means.