Letters to the Editor

Staff Editorial

WU STUDENT POLITICAL INTEREST HIGH, CAMPOS FINDS

To the Editor:

I am disappointed in Student Life’s coverage of the results of the Higher Education Research Institute survey. As the student newspaper of Washington University, Student Life should address local, regional, and national news in the context of life on campus. Nationally, student interest in politics may have declined as the HERI reports, but locally, the experience of life on campus suggests that WU student interest in politics has increased significantly.

The examples abound. At the presidential debate, hundreds of students volunteered as tour guides, press aides, and ushers. Through the Missouri Democratic Party, hundreds of Washington University College Democrats volunteered thousands of hours campaigning for a variety of candidates in local, state, and national elections to help guarantee that Democrats would gain more votes than Republicans. Numerous students, excited about their ability to change the world through involvement in the political process, accepted internships in campaign offices across America.

Washington University student groups, including Students for Choice, the Sierra Club, and AIPAC, all participated heavily in issue-oriented campaign efforts. Students also organized groups calling for fair elections and campaign finance reform. The Student Union of Washington University, simultaneously responding to and motivating an outburst of student political activism, held a series of significant discussion forums and debate-watching parties. In speaking on campus, both current Missouri Governor Bob Holden and former Senator Bill Bradley paid Washington University students the greatest of tributes for their political activism.

I find the article almost ironic in context. Merely three days before the article’s release, I spoke with Dean McLeod about the very subject. In his words “There has been a significant increase in political involvement among our students. Washington University students are more interested in politics today than they have at any time in the last decade.”

After the 2000 elections, WU students remain politically motivated and involved. Former Congressman and current Washington University professor Jim Talent was welcomed to campus by both Republicans and Democrats. Having filled up his class beyond capacity, students pursued other opportunities to hear the former Congressman speak. Perhaps more importantly, WU students are finding new opportunities to speak for themselves and have their voices heard. Students are founding new political organizations and discussion forums and Washington University will soon see a liberal newspaper on campus, the Southpaw.

Yoni Cohen

Class of 2003

TAU KAPPA EPSILON LEFT OUT OF STUDENT LIFE ARTICLE

To the Editor:

While Student Life corrected itself in its January 30 edition by admitting that more than one author contributed to the article “Two Fraternities Relocate,” it quite surprisingly failed to mention a much more important fact. Joshua Blumenthal was the original author, and Alex Fak, the second author, made significant changes to Blumenthal’s article without permission and in such a manner as to give Greek Life a negative spin in what should have been a rather positive story.

Furthermore, I feel it is necessary to point out that this article directly concerned Tau Kappa Epsilon, yet our fraternity was mentioned only in passing, and the TKE perspective was not included in the article. This, of course, is no crime. But it does compel us as an organization to get our story out and clear up any misunderstanding than may have developed.

As pointed out by Joshua Blumenthal in his article, Tau Kappa Epsilon will be moving on campus next fall thanks to the new fraternity townhouses under construction in the small group housing area. However, this move onto campus is not a chance happening for TKE. Rather, the move has an in-depth and compelling history.

Part of this history began in 1924, when the Washington University Xi chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon had the honor of being the first fraternity to move on campus. While TKE was fortuitous enough to hold on to this house for many years, the need for university expansion in the late 1970’s resulted in the loss of this status. The construction of the new Athletic Center required the demise of some existing fraternity housing, and as a result, TKE became an off-campus fraternity. Yet, in 1981, TKE received a welcomed offer for new on-campus housing. Four new fraternity houses were being planned for construction, and one of them was meant for Tau Kappa Epsilon. Sadly, however, only two houses were actually constructed, and Tau Kappa Epsilon continued to function as an off-campus fraternity. So, in the Fall of 2000 when TKE applied for a spot in the new fraternity townhouses currently being built, we sought to regain not only a privilege lost two decades ago but also a distinguished part of our history.

Certainly, for TKE, this move will be remembered as a very important milestone in our history, and we appreciate the opportunity to once again be part of the Washington University campus life. As a group, we have been working hard to make Tau Kappa Epsilon an asset to the students, university, and surrounding community, and it remains our hope that our new campus housing will aid in these endeavors.

Marc Carruthers

Tau Kappa Epsilon

Public Relations Chair

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