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“Phantom” Fraternity

The local media continue to mention the St. Anthony Hall controversy. The latest example is from iBerkshires.com. Note that the authors refers to the “phantom” fraternity, but, of course, the whole problem is that St. Anthony Hall isn’t phantom. It’s real.

I am still looking for a copy of the Administration’s response to College Council on the topic, but the story line moved forward with Dean Roseman’s visit to CC at the end of January. (The Record will, presumably, provide coverage in due course.) The CC Secretary, Jonathan Landsman, is to be congratulated for providing excellent minutes for the meetings. Those for January 28 note that:

The room received Dean Roseman’s following words in perfect silence. “I just wanted to express something to this body that I think is really important for you to understand. . . . I frankly was personally insulted by the letter you sent to me [see minutes, 21 January 2004]. I felt that it was not-very-sublty suggested that I was a liar, wasn’t telling the truth. It not-so-subtly suggested that I was a person of no integrity and can be manipulated by members of dark forces even though I’m not and couldn’t be. If it went on the border, I think it crossed the line of mudslinging and made accusations on no evidence. . . . Morty said in a speech, “The plural of anecdote is not evidence.” In this case, the plural of fiction isn’t fact. . . . It might not have stunk so much if I were some faceless bureaucrat that nobody knew, but I would like to think you know me and Morty better than that. People are always so good at saying, “The Administration.” I always say “Me. That’s me.”

Dean Roseman then opened the floor to questions. A while passed before any ventured to break the silence that had endured during her speech.

In response Federico Sosa’s (treasurer) raising the topic, Roseman addressed the amnesty that she and others empowered to decide such things decided to offer fraternity members. “What Jack Shaw represented was, ‘This is a group of students that Williams College should be proud of. They are the cream of the crop. It’s not a frat like Williams
thinks about’ So Cappy [Catherine Hill, Provost] looked at him and said, ‘So why wouldn’t we want that? If that’s true, we would love to embrace them and stop all this secrecy.’ And I would describe that as calling someone’s bluff,” finished Roseman.

Aaron Wilson (all-campus) asked, “Going forward, would you describe yours and Morty’s position as welcoming more knowledge about the situation?” Roseman answered that she has never had any problem taking disciplinary action against a student who was violating community standards, and said she would do so if she knew of a student who was a member of a frat.

Chin Ho (co-pres) now prodded Roseman to reenact what she had earlier that day done to the officers, to demonstrate why she did not favor an aggressive investigation into fraternities. Singling out Gerry Lindo, who wrote the fraternity letter sent by Council, she conducted an interview of him on fraternities that, though mock, was serious enough in feeling that the room felt its weight. As Roseman prodded Gerry for any information, he fended her off by insisting of ignorance. Dean Roseman summarized the point with, “It’s a pretty horrific experience to put a student in a room with me. . . . When they say they won’t tell me, all I’ve got left is you are not telling me and I am the dean of the
College and something bad is happening. . . . I don’t want to that again and again, for what?”

There more than this in the notes and someone (Aidan?) really ought to determine who won the dueling letters between the CC and the administration. Interested readers should read more — and the CC might consider posting it’s minutes as HTML as well.

But, reading these notes, I certainly got the sense that Dean Roseman is an impressive individual. However, I also got the sense that the members of St. Anthony Hall are safe as safe can be.