Greek students must stand for an ethical campus political environment

I say all of this with one reservation – our greek-dominated campus political scene is stained with a reputation of corruption.

The unethical behavior rooted in this campus has caused generations of voters to leave the University with disdain for the political system, which translates to low voter turnout in Alabama’s state and local elections.

Our state deserves better, our campus deserves better, and our greek community deserves better.

Greek life is marketed as a way to develop oneself both personally and professionally. It is a way to receive valuable leadership experience while working among friends. That has been my experience. As a member of my chapter’s executive board, I received a once in a lifetime experience. My experience is an example of what can come from sincere dedication to any campus organization.

Why then, one might ask, is there such a stigma surrounding the greek community here among many within non-greek circles?

The answers from many on this campus relate to the way Machine-dominated campus politics operates. Students see coercion in races for student government and homecoming court, and the brush strokes begin to appear. They then see instances of voter fraud in a Tuscaloosa City school board election and the picture proceeds to paint itself. Students correlate greek life with campus and municipal corruption, placing a scar on the organizations many of us know and love.

This is far from the only issue facing greek life today, but it is reason enough to say that a disservice is being done to the missions of the many founders of this university’s fraternities and sororities. My fraternity’s creed, along with every other house’s creed, charges its members in some fashion to live life in a way that is honorable and just. How could one be honorable in the course of corrupting a school board election that will directly affect the future livelihood of a five-year-old kindergarten student? The answer is that they could not be. Individuals exist in every house that are cognizant of their ethical duty as members of this university community. The key is getting those students to stand up.

The Capstone Creed states: “As a member of the University of Alabama community, I will pursue knowledge; act with fairness, honesty, and respect; foster individual and civic responsibility; and strive for excellence.”

It is past time for all of us in the greek community to collectively stand for, and embody, this ideal that we are charged to live by as students at The University of Alabama. There are too many positive aspects and wonderful opportunities within greek life at risk of being ruined by bad reputation. Stand up for what you know is right, and help make this university a cornerstone of civic pride.

Hunter Richey is a junior majoring in economics and political science. He is an SGA senator representing the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration.

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