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He does not want less fighting between the left and right. Elections on December 20th splintered the political landscape. Gorsuch also shares Mr.


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And physics does not lend itself to pithy introductions. On average, he released a studio album every year Is he? Without one, the young nation might have to milk them harder than ever. It will be expiated on May 26th His commitment to economic revival was no doubt sincere Gioia also delves into musical theory, in a way that will help both jazz neophytes and experts understand what they are listening to. So far the noisome substance has not been used abroad Trump launched an assault on his disapproving party leadership Others are sanguine that people will have time to adapt.

Try GRE Tutor for 7 days with no commitment. By ticking this box you agree to the terms and conditions. Do you want to hear about discounts, offers and MBA opportunities from us? Check the checkbox below. Yes, I am happy to be contacted by email by The Economist Group to be kept informed about exclusive offers, events and new product developments. Go to economist. Try GRE Tutor for free. First name.

Last name. Email address. It takes a certain kind of personal-injury lawyer to look at the facts of this glittering night and wrest from them a plausible plaintiff and defendant, unless it were possible for Travis Hughes to be sued by his own anus.

Similar Personality Patterns Are Associated with Empathy in Four Different Countries

Moreover, the building codes of Huntington, West Virginia, are unambiguous on the necessity of railings on elevated decks. Whether Helmburg stumbled in reaction to an exploding party guest or to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is immaterial; there should have been a railing to catch him. Rosinsky, Esq. Sending a lawyer without special expertise in wrangling with fraternities to sue one of them is like sending a Boy Scout to sort out the unpleasantness in Afghanistan.

Who knows? The kid could get lucky.

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But it never hurts—preparedness and all that—to send him off with a body bag. In a sense, they are older: they emanated in part from the Freemasons, of which George Washington himself was a member. When arguments are made in their favor, they are arguments in defense of a foundational experience for millions of American young men, and of a system that helped build American higher education as we know it. Fraternities also provide their members with matchless leadership training.

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While the system has produced its share of poets, aesthetes, and Henry James scholars, it is far more famous for its success in the powerhouse fraternity fields of business, law, and politics. An astonishing number of CEOs of Fortune companies, congressmen and male senators, and American presidents have belonged to fraternities.

Many more thousands of American men count their fraternal experience—and the friendships made within it—as among the most valuable in their lives. The organizations raise millions of dollars for worthy causes, contribute millions of hours in community service, and seek to steer young men toward lives of service and honorable action. They also have a long, dark history of violence against their own members and visitors to their houses, which makes them in many respects at odds with the core mission of college itself.

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Lawsuits against fraternities are becoming a growing matter of public interest, in part because they record such lurid events, some of them ludicrous, many more of them horrendous. Many people believe that violent hazing is the most dangerous event associated with fraternity life, but hazing causes a relatively small percentage of these injuries. Because of a variety of forces, all this harm—and the behaviors that lead to it—has lately been moving out of the shadows of private disciplinary hearings and silent suffering, and into the bright light of civil lawsuits, giving us a clear picture of some of the more forbidding truths about fraternity life.

While many of these suits never make it to trial, disappearing into confidential settlements as did that of Louis Helmburg III, nearly two years after he filed his lawsuit or melting away once plaintiffs recognize the powerful and monolithic forces they are up against, the narratives they leave behind in their complaints—all of them matters of public record—comprise a rich and potent testimony to the kinds of experiences regularly taking place on college campuses.

Tellingly, the material facts of these complaints are rarely in dispute; what is contested, most often, is only liability. I have spent most of the past year looking deeply into the questions posed by these lawsuits, and more generally into the particular nature of fraternity life on the modern American campus. Much of what I found challenged my beliefs about the system, assumptions that I came to see as grossly outdated, not because the nature of fraternity life has changed so much, but rather because life at the contemporary university has gone through such a profound transformation in the past quarter century.

I found that the ways in which the system exerts its power—and maintains its longevity—in the face of the many potentially antagonistic priorities in contemporary higher education commanded my grudging respect. In contrast, much of the policy governing college campuses today is rooted in the loose soil of a set of political and social fashions that change with the season, and that tend not to hold up to any kind of penetrating challenge. Indeed, in many substantive ways, fraternities are now mightier than the colleges and universities that host them. The entire multibillion-dollar, 2,campus American college system—with its armies of salaried professors, administrators, librarians, bursars, secretaries, admissions officers, alumni liaisons, development-office workers, coaches, groundskeepers, janitors, maintenance workers, psychologists, nurses, trainers, technology-support staffers, residence-life personnel, cafeteria workers, diversity-compliance officers, the whole shebang—depends overwhelmingly for its very existence on one resource: an ever-renewing supply of fee-paying undergraduates.

It could never attract hundreds of thousands of them each year—many of them woefully unprepared for the experience, a staggering number some 40 percent destined never to get a degree, more than 60 percent of them saddled with student loans that they very well may carry with them to their deathbeds—if the experience were not accurately marketed as a blast.

The kids arrive eager to hurl themselves upon the pasta bars and the climbing walls, to splash into the person Jacuzzis and lounge around the outdoor fire pits, all of which have been constructed in a blatant effort to woo them away from competitors. They swipe prepaid cards in dormitory vending machines to acquire whatever tanning wipes or earbuds or condoms or lube or energy drinks the occasion seems to require. And every moment of the experience is sweetened by the general understanding that with each kegger and rager, each lazy afternoon spent snoozing on the quad a forgotten highlighter slowly drying out on the open pages of Introduction to Economics , a Coke Zero sweating beside it , they are actively engaged in the most significant act of self-improvement available to an American young person: college!

There are many thousands of American undergraduates whose economic futures and those of their parents would be far brighter if they knocked off some of their general-education requirements online, or at the local community college—for pennies on the dollar—before entering the Weimar Republic of traditional-college pricing. But college education, like weddings and funerals, tends to prompt irrational financial decision making, and so here we are. Add another pesto flavor to the pasta bar, Dean Roland!

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We just lost another kid to online ed! American colleges came into being with the express purpose of training young men for the ministry, a preparation that was marked by a chilly round of early risings, Greek and Latin recitations, religious study, and strict discipline meted out by a dour faculty—along with expectations of both temperance and chastity. Hardly conditions that would augur the current trillion-dollar student-loan balloon that hovers over us like a pre-ignition Hindenburg. But sexual frustration and homiletics would not last forever as the hallmarks of American college life.

In , at Union College, in upstate New York hardly a garden of earthly delights in the best of circumstances, but surely a gulag experience for those stuck at Union; imagine studying Thessalonians in the ass-cracking cold of a Schenectady February , a small group of young men came up with a creative act of rebellion against the fun-busters who had them down: the formation of a secret club, which they grandly named the Kappa Alpha Society. Word of the group spread, and a new kind of college institution was founded, and with it a brand-new notion: that going to college could include some pleasure.

It was the American age of societies, and this new type fit right in. Fraternities also gave young college men a way of behaving and of thinking about themselves that quickly took on surprisingly modern dimensions. From the very beginning, fraternities were loathed by the grown-ups running colleges, who tried to banish them.

But independence from overbearing faculties—existing on a plane beyond the reach of discipline—was, in large measure, the point of fraternity membership; far from fearing the opprobrium of their knock-kneed overlords, the young men relished and even courted it.


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  7. It was, at best, a legally delicate argument, but it was a symbolically potent one, and it has withstood through the years. Perhaps the best testament to the deep power of fraternities is how quickly and widely they spread. Soon after Gold Rush money began flowing into the newly established state of California—giving rise to the improbable idea of building a great American university on the shores of the Pacific Ocean—fraternity men staked their own claim: a campus in Berkeley had existed barely a year before the brothers of Phi Delta Theta arrived to initiate new members.

    The thing to remember about fraternities is that when Kappa Alpha was founded at Union, in all of the United States there were only 4, college students; fraternities exist as deeply in the groundwater of American higher education as religious study—and have retained a far greater presence in the lives of modern students. In fairly short order, a paradox began to emerge, one that exists to this day.

    While the fraternities continued to exert their independence from the colleges with which they were affiliated, these same colleges started to develop an increasingly bedeviling kind of interdependence with the accursed societies. To begin with, the fraternities involved themselves very deeply in the business of student housing, which provided tremendous financial savings to their host institutions, and allowed them to expand the number of students they could admit. Greek housing constitutes a troubling fact for college administrators the majority of fraternity-related deaths occur in and around fraternity houses, over which the schools have limited and widely varying levels of operational oversight and also a great boon to them saving them untold millions of dollars in the construction and maintenance of campus-owned and -controlled dormitories.

    Moreover, fraternities tie alumni to their colleges in a powerful and lucrative way. At least one study has affirmed what had long been assumed: that fraternity men tend to be generous to their alma maters. Furthermore, fraternities provide colleges with unlimited social programming of a kind that is highly attractive to legions of potential students, most of whom are not applying to ivy-covered rejection factories, but rather to vast public institutions and obscure private colleges that are desperate for students.

    When Mom is trying—against all better judgment—to persuade lackluster Joe Jr. Joe Jr. Maybe he ought to snuff out the joint and take a second look at that application Mom keeps pushing across the kitchen table. Will he be in increased physical jeopardy if he joins one of these clubs? The fraternity industry says no. It is true that fraternity lawsuits tend to involve at least one, and often more, of the four horsemen of the student-life apocalypse, a set of factors that exist far beyond frat row and that are currently bringing college presidents to their knees.

    First and foremost of these is the binge-drinking epidemic, which anyone outside the problem has a hard time grasping as serious everyone drinks in college!

    The second is the issue of sexual assault of female undergraduates by their male peers, a subject of urgent importance but one that remains stubbornly difficult even to quantify, let alone rectify, although it absorbs huge amounts of student interest, outrage, institutional funding, and—increasingly—federal attention. The third is the growing pervasiveness of violent hazing on campus, an art form that reaches its apogee at fraternities, but that has lately spread to all sorts of student groups. And the fourth is the fact that Boomers, who in their own days destroyed the doctrine of in loco parentis so that they could party in blissful, unsupervised freedom, have grown up into the helicopter parents of today, holding fiercely to a pair of mutually exclusive desires: on the one hand that their kids get to experience the same unfettered personal freedoms of college that they remember so fondly, and on the other that the colleges work hard to protect the physical and emotional well-being of their precious children.

    Surely they have cornered the market in injuries to the buttocks.