Nearly 100 people on Thursday attended SGA’s second town hall, which discussed the presence of Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) at Elon University.
Key issues raised included the disconnect and misperceptions of FSL from those not involved, a lack of unity within the three councils that make up FSL and a resistance by some members of FSL to change some of the culture.
Although some expressed frustration that concrete solutions weren’t determined and that some deeper issues weren’t discussed, student leaders in FSL noted the step forward in having a conversation between unaffiliated and affiliated students.
“Minds were opened tonight to both sides,” said senior Jordan Lockhart, president of Pan-Hellenic Council. “That’s certainly good. I don’t know if we came away with any action items.”
The hourlong meeting followed a format similar to last month’s discussion on free speech and Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker’s visit. SGA Executive President senior Kyle Porro spoke before turning it over to moderator sophomore Alex Hager, a reporter for Elon News Network.
Dan Faill, director of FSL, and Jon Dooley, assistant vice president for Student Life and dean of Campus Life, were both in attendance.
FSL organizations’ values were challenged by some, which led to talks about how fraternities and sororities interact with both each other and with the rest of campus.
But some important issues went untouched, and the conversation defaulted to a number of generalizations and perceptions relating to how some view FSL’s structure.
“I was really hoping people would talk about problems with Greek culture and how that has impacted them and their Elon experience,” said senior Michael Goldstein, president of Interfraternity Council. “How their interactions with Greek Life would have been different and how that would shape their experience here. If they want to get rid of them as a whole, why? Not what they want to see out of the organizations, but how these organizations can make their experience better.”
There were consistently multiple people with hands raised ready to chime into the discussion, and students asked each other questions to help clarify aspects of FSL they didn’t previously understand.
But Alonzo Cee, junior and president of National Pan-Hellenic Council, felt like there was more that could’ve been said and solved. He stressed the need for continuing to talk about issues within FSL and to invest more than an hour to do so.
“I felt like it was going in circles,” Cee said. “I did feel at the end, though, we were getting to a better place. People were about to dive into certain issues, but under the constraints of time, it didn’t happen. It’s a great start — but in all honesty, it was a disappointment.”
Porro said the goal of the town hall was to jumpstart the conversation about FSL’s role at Elon, not necessarily to find all the solutions. He thought the dialogue was productive both for SGA and for leaders within FSL to hear from students with a wide range of perspectives.
“The idea behind these town halls is to give students a voice on issues that are affecting campus life,” Porro said. “One of the biggest talking points campus-wide is Greek Life. We wanted something people were talking about already and have strong opinions about, but could use a dose of reality from the other side of the conversation.”