In “This Side of Paradise,” F. Scott Fitzgerald called Princeton “lazy and aristocratic.” How times have changed.
In the age of meritocracy, sloth is hardly a helpful quality in gaining admission to the elite university. And anything “aristocratic” would have to be an individual eccentricity as the school is seeking to discourage “exclusivity” by banning freshmen from joining fraternities and sororities.
The announcement made national news.
“We have found that [fraternities and sororities] can contribute to a sense of social exclusivity and privilege and socioeconomic stratification among students,” said Vice President for Campus Life Cynthia Cherrey and Dean of Undergraduate Students Kathleen Deignan in a statement posted on the school’s website.
“A major concern is that they select their members early in freshman year,” they continued, “when students are most vulnerable to pressures from peers to drink, and before they have had a full opportunity to explore a variety of interests and develop a diverse set of friendships. We hope students coming to Princeton will want to expand their circle of acquaintances and experiences, not prematurely narrow them.”
Citing drinking and targeting freshman sounds like a ploy for a bigger agenda of social engineering. Attempting to legislate students’ social lives in the interest of eliminating “exclusivity” and promoting “diversity” is political correctness run amok, and I say this as a guy who was never in a fraternity or any other college organization (or college, for that matter) that could be considered exclusive, and whose friends are as diverse as they come. But this levelling effect in the interest of equality is obscene. — CC