Letter to the Editor

By adviser Apr 16, 2021
Ally Daskalopoulos via Facebook
Ally Daskalopoulos via Facebook

Dear Samira, Argus staff, fellow alumni and current students,

 

My name is Ally Daskalopoulos and I am an alumna of IWU Class of 2018. I was also the former president of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority in 2017 and currently serve as the recruitment advisor.  It was disheartening to read about the alleged events at the Sigma Chi fraternity. As a former leader of Greek life at IWU I feel confident in saying that we are all aware of the severity and implications of hazing. It is a serious offense, and no doubt should result in proper punishment. I take great pride in having educated the members of Alpha Gamma Delta in the importance of having a no tolerance policy for hazing. In Greek life we are taught that our actions can have consequences if we do not uphold the values our organizations were founded on. 

I think it’s important to point out that Illinois Wesleyan takes great strides in their hazing education. I can’t speak for the present moment, but in recent years past new members have gone through extensive educational presentations on the realities of hazing. This includes proper definitions of hazing, numerous presentations and requirements that new members must complete if they want to pledge a sorority or fraternity. I believe this says something. 

Ultimately, this is an issue that will be handled at the national level with Sigma Chi. While IWU may choose to proceed with these claims as the dean and other university officials see fit, the name of Sigma Chi should not be stereotyped according to the tragic results of this incident. 

Just to be clear, I condemn this behavior and do not tolerate hazing of any kind. It is a terrible reality that unfortunately can happen in professional settings as well as collegiate groups. 

However, I don’t think it is fair to open up a conversation about this fraternity in particular. Greek life has gotten a bad reputation nationally and recruitment numbers are at a record low. This is a fact that can be verified through any Greek life official or organizational report. That being said, emphasizing the behavior of one fraternity on a campus where a high percentage of students are involved in Greek life requires precision. This does not diminish the severity of hazing or change what happened to this victim. This means that it’s even more important to communicate this information correctly and responsibly. This is news. I get it. I’m a journalist myself and I would have reported on the issue as well, that is not where my concern comes from. My concern comes from the conversations that have arisen since then. 

I want to address the alumni conversations that have taken place on Facebook regarding this incident. Without naming anyone in particular, it has come to my attention and I have read the comments myself, that my own sorority has been accused of hazing. Or at least, has been implicated as doing so in the past. The current leadership in AGD also reached out to me to express concern, as they were deeply troubled by these words. These types of comments are completely irrelevant and should be removed from any conversations on Facebook or elsewhere. To print or publish comments that implicate another organization is slanderous and irresponsible. 

Alpha Gamma Delta is not being implicated in these allegations. This was a story about a fraternity on campus that has no affiliation to my sorority in any way shape or form. To compare the two in the same conversation is not productive. In fact, it propels the conversation into further negative characterization, and it’s not fair to speak ill of another organization and its members who have dedicated part of their college experience to serving others. 

I understand and sympathize with those who have either witnessed or been a victim in previous hazing experiences. This is an unfortunate reality and I’m sorry that any student would ever have to endure such acts. In turn, those experiences will allow future Greek life members to learn from the mistakes of their elders. However, it is not appropriate to communicate personal vendettas and decisions in their Greek life experiences on public platforms. I urge others to think twice about what they post on social media keeping in mind that it can have negative effects on current students and organizations. 

I want to acknowledge The Argus’ excellent reporting and ethical obligation of reporting the truth on campus. Your work is incredibly valuable whether students know it or not. There is a part of journalism that the writer cannot control and that is the public opinion. However, what we as a community can do is encourage positive and productive conversations. After all, the whole point of these Facebook groups and the like are to “preserve liberal arts curricula at IWU.” Bringing up a hazing incident that took place years prior and not even to the same organization that is implicated has nothing to do with preserving curricula. It doesn’t even have anything to do with the Argus story that was published. 

Finally, I would ask that the community remain positive surrounding these events and instill their confidence in the national headquarters of this Greek organization. Regardless of your opinion on Greek life, Illinois Wesleyan has always held those in power responsible and continues to maintain a positive reputation. 

As alumni, we should be encouraging students to do the right thing and report these incidents. What we should not do is bring others down in the process. 

I thank you for your time in reading this response. 

Loyally,

Ally Daskalopoulos.

By adviser

Related Post