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Potsdam fraternities worried about future


POTSDAM — SUNY Potsdam’s Greek Life Task Force is expected to make recommendations to the college President’s Council this summer in an effort to curb repeated incidents of hazing and alcohol abuse.

The 11-member task force has spent the past three months gathering information from community members, college officials and students, and now will begin to come up with its recommendations. No option is off the table, including complete dismantling of Greek life at SUNY Potsdam, task force Chairman Alan L. Hersker said.

The task force held a public meeting Monday to discuss the issue with community members, but the attendees were almost all students. Everyone who spoke during the meeting was a member of a fraternity or sorority.

Mr. Hersker said he was disappointed by the lack of community turnout and hopes to conduct a survey among village residents in the coming weeks.

Students who spoke out Monday said their uncertain future left them confused about how to plan events for next semester.

Fraternities and sororities usually receive support and instructions from the Greek Life office, which is unsure how to proceed until it receives word from the President’s Council. The council, in turn, is awaiting recommendations from the task force, and the task force is not ready to make a decision.

“We’re not going to say anything until we are comfortable that we can be knowledgeable and thoughtful with our answer,” Mr. Hersker said.

Junior Andrew J. Munoz of New York City, a member of Phi Mu Alpha, said bad behavior from a few fraternities has led to a situation which may punish upstanding houses unfairly.

“I can see where the administration is coming from. There needs to be change,” he said. “But a lot of these houses have been here for decades.”

Mr. Munoz said he is optimistic that Greek life will remain, even if new restrictions are in force.

Mr. Hersker said that Greek organizations have positive and negative attributes, but that a lack of communication and recent bad behavior have made change a priority.

“The system, as it stands, is not working,” he said.

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