September 11, 2007

Frat Free

Someone asked me why I hate frats and fratmen so much? He speculated quite baldly that I may have been a quitter. Over my loud guffaws, I told him that I was never a neophyte and never intended to join a fraternity as I did not need it (that was way back in law school and events after law school have borne out that I am doing fine without frats, thank you very much).

I once asked a fratman who treated me out to lunch and was quite obviously recruiting me to just answer me one question to MY satisfaction and, if he did, I would join his frat--"my father never laid a hand on me my whole life, why should I allow you, perfect strangers, to hit me?" He had no answer and I enjoyed a sumptuous free lunch, frat free.

I don't hate fraternities nor frat men. I do hate the culture of omerta that they perpetuate, the violence and the hypocritical preening that they indulge in to recruit their next neophytes.

I have many friends from the frats; I look up to many people who are frat men; several of my very good friends for life are frat men.

I have always believed in "love the sinner, hate the sin." And that applies here squarely.

When I condemn frat violence and the culture of impunity that it brings about, I do it not because I want to abolish fraternities (I don't believe in this and I don't agree with Miriam; abolishing frats will only drive them underground and then they would really be out of reach and out of control) but because I want the frat men who killed men like Cris Mendez to be acountable for their actions. That's all.

I have always believed in accountability and responsibility. And, in the end, for fraternities who preach integrity, honor and brotherhood, shouldn't these be essential?

Do I wish that we were frat free? Yes. But that particular Genie is now out of the bottle and you can't put him back in. We don't have to tolerate the unlawful things they do though.

To those who are afraid of the fraternities, especially my students in law school, I say to you-- take courage, stand your ground and speak your mind. There is a freedom wall in the law school about this--write, express yourself, speak your mind. Do not be afraid.

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