Editorial: Drive a hard bargain

Published On:
Thursday, September 4, 2008
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Our moms always told us to clean up after ourselves.

If we left the crayons out, we had to put them away. If we dropped crumbs all over the kitchen table, we had to scrape them up. If we let our rooms look anything but spotless, we had to clean the day away.

For years, we have wondered if the moms of our campus’ fraternity members taught them the same thing — after all, if their mothers had seen what we were forced to look at on Alpha Drive, they would have a conniption fit.

But no matter what you’d like to call Alpha Drive — we prefer shantytown or Hooverville —it is, at the end of the day, an undeniably irreplaceable part of the ASU scene.

That is why there is, and has been for a while now, such a large hubbub surrounding the ongoing development talks regarding Alpha Drive. That is why there is concern over the proposed several hundred million dollar project that would demolish the Alpha Drive area as we know it and rebuild housing for the displaced fraternities that own the land. And that is why we disagree, in part, with the plans.

Despite indiscretions surrounding our fraternities over the past couple years — including alleged sexual assaults, University-levied alcohol bans, altercations with members of a campus athletic establishment, a certain council leader being arrested for a certain crime involving impairment and the operation of a motor vehicle and many go-rounds in our paper’s Police Beat section — the fact of the matter is that the fraternity system is a part of our campus’ livelihood.

Greek Life as a whole is an organization has been an ASU institution for over 85 years. On a flyer posted on Greek Life’s Web site, they claim “more than 2,800 undergraduate students participating in more than 50 chapters.” Obviously the fraternities are a large part of the Greek Life umbrella on this campus.

With Greek Life having such a firm stake in our University, it would seem the University should have a firm stake in Greek Life’s growth.
Sure, the Greeks might not be the most popular faction of our campus with non-Greeks, but what would our campus be without the excitement of seeing if any sorority can make their Bid Day shirts a more obnoxious shade of pink than last year’s or the excitement of trying to navigate around an army of sandal-wearing, muscle shirt-bearing fraternity boys on a campus walkway?

While this fight over Alpha Drive has already carried on over at least a solid decade — and, we presume, will still last much longer — we hope both sides can make the necessary concessions.

We have seen what happens when the University gets property-crazy — hello, Hassayampa and Vista del Sol — and we urge them to stick its greedy fingers aside and resist their desire to turn this semi-historic piece of campus real estate into Hassayampa Part II.

And on the other side, we simply urge the fraternities to not fight back when the University suggests that their place is a dump and in need of an overhaul.

There is a middle ground to be reached: One that includes a new complex with the type of amenities on-campus college students should expect to receive in this modern day; one that includes a way to keep each fraternities individual dwelling unique to them without making them look like cookie-cutter dorms; and one that doesn’t cost the University money and the fraternities their tradition.

How likely a result like that is, we don’t know. All we do know is that this is one mess we’re more than happy not to have to clean up.