Staff Editorial: Misguided anti-Greek agenda may backfire

In the aftermath of last week's charges against two off-campus organizations, Livingston County District Attorney Tom Moran pledged to crack down on student binge drinking in Geneseo.

Despite the merit of Moran's cause, his decision to target open parties held by off-campus fraternities will do little to stop the problem.

Said Moran at a March 31 news conference, "I'm going to do everything that I can to stop every one of those [open] parties. If I have to start charging the fraternities with tax fraud, I'll do that."

At best, Moran's witch hunt will put an end to the practice of non-Greek students' binge-drinking keg beer at open parties. At worst, his failure to adequately address the problem could possibly result in the expansion of the very organizations he sought to villanize.

Faced with this bleak new world devoid of open parties, Geneseo students are not going to stop drinking alcohol; it's hopelessly idealistic to imagine so. Despite binge drinking's inherent idiocy, students are still intelligent enough to obtain alcoholic beverages. Moran's crusades against fraternities will only relocate binge-drinking students to different venues; their weekend social rituals are unlikely to change.

Ironically, this resulting relocation could end up spurring the growth of Greek organizations. In lieu of open parties, organizations would opt for less risky, invite-only parties where the alcohol flows just as freely. Some non-Greeks would inevitably be invited, and their predisposition toward drinking would keep them coming back again and again. These smaller parties would foster friendships between non-Greeks and Greeks, and lead to larger groups of initiates, augmenting the Greek community substantially.

Of course, the possibility remains that Moran is right. Perhaps the eradication of open parties, coupled with the legal dismantling of PIGS and Phigs, will be sufficient to instill an aversion to both alcohol and Greek life in formerly irresponsible Geneseo students. Perhaps there will be an organization misguided enough to hold an open party despite the DA's warning, leading to a triumphant "I told you so."

It is more likely, however, that Moran's simplistic approach to this complex issue will do naught more than temporarily cast the problem out of the public's eye until it once again rears its ugly head.