May 23, 2006

Letter to the Editor

Frat stereotypes

Teage O’ Connor’s May 16 article entitled, “Unfortunately, Frats Defy U of C Stereotypes,” is insulting, arrogant, relies on inaccurate and untrue assumptions, and proves only that the author holds many pre-formed notions about fraternity life; notions he appears determined to project onto the University of Chicago fraternity system.

In the article, O’Connor’s main criticism of fraternities, made through sarcastic comments, is that U of C frats exist outside of the intellectual and moral bubble in which everyone else here operates. By his assumptions, joining a fraternity excludes one from contributing to the academic community.

Of course, O’Connor’s interaction with fraternity members seems limited to the three times he ever entered a frat house during parties, which is a pretty poor level of contact when judging the intellectual prowess of hundreds of people. Dr. Sigmund Freud, whom I have no capacity to understand, of course, didn’t write The Interpretation of Dreams after talking to only three patients.

I didn’t see O’Connor at either of the lectures given by University of Chicago professors held at my house, Alpha Delta Phi, this quarter, both open to the public. I doubt I’ll see him at the third in a few weeks. I doubt O’Connor was even aware of events like this taking place in what he views as the primitive environment of U of C fraternities. You see, when you are trying to typecast a large number of people, actual facts and information usually aren’t too helpful to your argument.

I sincerely apologize that O’Connor has been subjected to words and scenes he finds offensive in his interaction with fraternities. Such events are never pleasant. However, the dichotomy that he describes between “regular” Chicago students and fraternity members is equally insulting.

By his word, drinking, raucousness, sexism, bigotry, and ignorance exist solely in the realm of fraternities. There is a clear line dividing all U of C students into two groups: the type that would join fraternities, and everyone else. O’Connor, in my opinion, needs to open his eyes to reality.

Of course, I doubt O’Connor has even read this far into my response. Judging by his attitude, he probably glanced at the title, saw I was a fraternity member, and assumed the content of the article would consist of my calling him a “faggot.” That seems to be the level of intellectual commentary he figures I can muster.

Yes, stereotypes do exist regarding fraternities, O’Connor. Unfortunately, you are just as responsible for perpetuating them as I.

John Dwyer

Fourth-year in the College

Alpha Delta Phi