Over the weekend, the presidents of two fraternities, Alpha Chi Rho and Tau, were arrested following Binghamton city police raids on their parties. One of those arrests was Zach Stein, president of the Interfraternity Council.
Binghamton University is waiting for all the facts before they take any action against the arrested students or the chapters, and administrators have already said they are not planning to ask Zach to step down. We strongly agree.
Zach Stein is the voice that Greek life needs. After pledging was suspended last semester, it was Zach alone who was willing to admit hazing was an issue, and it was Zach alone who said phasing it out would be a slow process. While other Greek presidents still don’t understand why pledging was even halted last semester, Zach is actively working to improve it.
You see, that’s why we like Zach; he’s honest, candid, pensive and reflexive — almost to a fault. He doesn’t sugarcoat things, and although he doesn’t always tell us the whole story, he never misdirects us either, we hope. He may conceal specifics, but he is brave enough not to outright deny the problems Greek life has, here and everywhere.
He leaves little doubt that he cares about Greek life: not among the council presidents, not among administrators, and not among us. Last weekend, he and Panhellenic Council President Samantha Vulpis delivered bottled water to frat houses to keep guests hydrated. Like the freshman that get more than just a little drunk, BU Greek life is a wreck, and Zach offering them water is a sign that he is committed to helping in whatever way he can.
Now, Zach should have been more careful, considering his importance to Greek life. But let’s remember, any fraternity president on any weekend over the past several years could have been in the same situation as Zach. It’s just bad luck he was caught on this weekend.
Besides, it’s not like the University was unaware of what happens at frat parties. Just last week, Dean Thompson sent an email to Greek presidents asking them not to sell punch and not to piss all over Downtown. The email was about making parties safer, not about banning them altogether. Zach had a party, yeah, but the administrators already acknowledged everybody was doing it.
Yes, we can chide him and yes, we can reprimand him. But we’d also like to take this opportunity to remind April Thompson, Milton Chester and the entire campus community that like Batman or Harvey Dent, Zach isn’t the perfect hero, but he’s just about the only hero Greek life has.
Zach: Don’t give up.
Everyone else: Don’t give up on Zach.