We want your feedback

Dear Members of the Alumni Community,

In the spring of 2014, Lehigh University began a process of taking a comprehensive look at the residential experience of our students, both on and off-campus. This group was created to evaluate and recommend improvements to student living and examine how the residential environment relates to education and social life at Lehigh.

The full review of preliminary recommendations, including an executive summary, can be read online here.

The Commission on Residential Environment, or CORE, was co-chaired by trustee Sarat Sethi ’92 and professor emeritus Edwin Kay.  As the conclusion of this comprehensive process, the CORE group proposed six major recommendations for the university to consider.

These recommendations provide a great deal of material for thoughtful consideration. We will be hearing from students, faculty and staff in open forums that will be held on campus, and we would like feedback from alumni as part of this process.

We welcome your thoughts. Please share your comments on this blog post or email your comments to corereport@lehigh.edu.

Our intent is to gather input over the course of the summer and fall semester, and take those insights into consideration, along with financial implications and integration with the university’s long-range strategic goals. Our goal is to arrive at a final decision on the recommendation by the end of the 2016 Spring semester.

We want to take this opportunity to thank Sarat Sethi and Ed Kay for their extraordinary leadership of this review process, and extend our gratitude to the committee members on depth of their work and for their commitment to creating a better Lehigh. This review is emblematic of broader efforts across the university to continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of our students while sustaining a vital, intellectually engaging and extraordinary living and learning community.

Sincerely,

John Simon
President

Patrick V. Farrell
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

39 thoughts on “We want your feedback

  1. Congratulation–you appear to be on the right track–good beginning.
    Education is Job #1–but–the “Living Experience” is also a very important of the “College Experience”–the growing up so to speak—and without a suppportive
    habitat–the Eduction aspect becomes more difficult to achieve.

  2. I did not read the report in detail, but skimmed through the initial summary. There were two comments I wished to make.

    First, my daughter, Allison, Class of 2015, lived in Sayre Park in the apartment just above Professor Johnson and her family during their first year in residence there. The presence of a family in the building created an interesting dynamic because the students needed to adjust their behavior to accommodate a spectrum of ages rather than a very narrowly defined age group. Professor Johnson’s children, her daughter in particular, got quite friendly with my daughter and her roommates and would draw pictures for them and leave notes taped to their door. It was really very cute! And it was certainly different to see small bicycles and toys parked outside the door, or to see the twins playing volleyball or other sports on the lawn.

    Second, I was struck throughout my daughter’s years at Lehigh by the differences I saw in the interrelationship of the fraternity and sorority members (or lack thereof) with the other residential students. The fraternity/sorority life of the campus has become extremely exclusive. Their social events are limited to the members of the houses involved and invitation is not extended to others of the campus community. I felt she missed the kind of comraderie that I experienced during my years on campus when we all attended each others’ parties, often moving from venue to venue throughout the evening. I applaud the idea of revisiting the campus social policy to help to regain some of the greater interaction that contributed some of my most treasured Lehigh memories.

    1. Following a disheartening quick read of the CORE preliminary recommendations, I was encouraged to read the numerous comments mostly suggesting that less micromanagement is needed. As an undergraduate in the late 1960s, my fraternity experience was invaluable! Since my fraternity was off campus, we had essentially no oversight/regulatory interference from the University. We had to self-govern ourselves living in a quiet residential neighborhood. We learned to share the duties and responsibilities of maintaining the house, keep peace with the neighbors, and HAVE FUN. I am especially proud of my class when we felt that pledge hazing had grown to be excessive and, without any knowledge or involvement by the University or the Interfraternity Council, we started toning down the harassment for incoming pledge classes. We grew from that experience realizing that things did not have to be as is, that we could make the kinds of changes we learned were appropriate. University controlling, regulating and micromanaging appear to be substantial barriers to the natural maturation processes today. This environment does not provide an opportunity for our young adults to mature their opinions and behavior during their formative years in the relative safety of the college experience.

      I recall from a recent US News ranking of Colleges and Universities that Lehigh (ranked #40 National University) speaks to a strong Greek system and a student review spoke highly of Lehigh’s promoting involvement with study abroad opportunities. My daughter participated in a high school exchange program and, during her college experience, did a semester abroad. These experiences taught me how much better many European countries do raising kids when alcohol is a normal part of the living and growing experience. I’ll never forget how the high school student staying with us from Germany explained how our high school “was like a prison” compared with the freedoms German high school students enjoyed (and that helped shape their maturing opinions and behaviors).

      I could go on, but my recommendation for the CORE team is to reach out to foreign schools/colleges and students to learn what works for them. Not all high school students have the diversity opportunities my daughter was fortunate enough to experience. In this global economy where diversity is extremely important, however, Lehigh could take some leadership in helping students make diversity connections with counterparts at colleges and universities in other countries. Technologies like e-mail, skype and social media could facilitate making such connections and facilitating conversations. Innovative suggestions from the CORE team could encourage relevant conversation topics between Lehigh and foreign school students. These connections and conversations could enable students to learn more about each other’s cultures and contribute to (much needed!) changes in Lehigh’s social policies. In time, these students of today may become leaders of tomorrow helping to create changes affecting many of the social problems in this country – some regarding alcohol. Lehigh needs to strive toward educating the future leaders of tomorrow rather than trying to micromanage them into compliance with University imposed rules that don’t seem to be working.

  3. Fraternities are a part of Lehigh you’ve been trying to kill for years–do it this time and you can remove me from any connection to the University.

    1. While I didn’t go Greek, I fully appreciate Russell’s sentiment; a similar sentiment is part of the reason why I view Lehigh University as a going concern.

  4. Lehigh has squeezed social life off campus, and now the campus is socially more stratified than ever. Litigation risk minimized to LU, mission accomplished. Except that the students still want to have fun, which involves drinking with friends. The balloon, squeezed on campus, expanded off campus.

    Having “programmable spaces” on campus will result in sterile, under-utilized locations where nobody goes. They want to drink and chill out without the police hassling them. Lehigh simply cannot facilitate that. There’s no way to do it from a criminal or civil law perspective.

    Allowing other entities to be social hosts under a Lehigh umbrella won’t work, because 75% of the undergraduate body is underage and cannot drink in those sorts of spaces. And let’s face it — access to alcohol is a huge draw socially for an 18 year old student.

    A private partnership managed social events hall that is BYOB that is segregated from LU control yet close by campus might work. It would need an access to campus that is foot-traffic based, with basic facilities: a pool table, foosball, a beirut table, a soundsystem, a stage area, restrooms, and open, but cozy spaces that allow for socializing but not victimization. It would be commercially zoned and outside the social policy of LU. The facility would have rental fees, but would not provide or serve alcohol or check IDs. Staff would be available to keep the peace and to clean up. A concession for food and non-alcoholic drinks could be operated in conjunction with it. Liability insurance, of course.

    Something like this space might work. Spartan, but clean with basic amenities, and operated as a commercial venture designed to allow a clean, safe space for parties, but with the legal risk offloaded to the renters of the facility, whomever they my be.

    The use of the facility would be by reservation and advance payment. It would not be restricted by race, gender, social affiliation, etc., but could be limited or prioritized for LU-affiliated groups.

    There’s a business opportunity here, but it would likely require cooperation from Bethlehem and some from LU (lighted walkways to/from, integration with on-campus transportation options, etc.).

  5. If so few parties are held on campus (presumably due to strict University rules and regulations) but rather off-campus, recommendations requiring juniors to remain on campus will not improve the situation, since most seniors will still live off-campus and hold the parties anyway.

  6. Or you could just go back to the way it was and allow frats and dorms to do their own thing. The incident rate of problems was microscopic compared to the general outside populations

  7. I’m class of 1969. I think there were then 33 active frats on campus, no sororities of course. Act 31 and the draconian party rules that ensued have all but killed the frats at Lehigh. The students move off campus for one reason – so they can do what we used to do ON campus, i.e., party in the traditional college way – with alcohol.
    My son is currently an undergrad here. When I mentioned the required 3 years on-campus living, he was not enthused about the idea. When I mentioned the possibility of the demise of greek social groups, he said that that would no doubt negatively affect applications to Lehigh, not to mention pi~~ing off many alumni. You’re trying to control the behavior of college kids. They’d be safer if they lived on campus, but for obvious reasons, they don’t want to.
    Tom Smull ’69

  8. As a true advocate for Greek life, the proposed revision for chapter facilities is certainly disheartening. Under this revised plan, it seems as though some members would only be able to reside in the house for one year with their pledge class as it was proposed that sophomore year Greek housing may be awarded to those based on a grading system consisting of GPA and conduct record. Seeing as the majority of my brothers throughout freshmen year did not have a recorded instance of a violation of the code of conduct, it would seem as though the main factor would simply become based on grade point average. There already exists a GPA cutoff to be able to initially join any fraternity on campus.

    I would like to see this amended in the proposal as living in the house sophomore year allowed me to bond with the juniors and seniors living in the house when I was there and I was lucky enough to get to know the sophomores when I was a senior living in the house before I graduated.

  9. MAJOR RECOMMENDATION #5. REWRITE LEHIGH’S SOCIAL POLICY

    The Social Policy also contributes to potential drinking and driving incidents, as well as drug use. Kids will create an outlet for themselves. Any vacuum left by the social policy is always filled with unintended consequences.

    UNIVERSITY-DRIVEN THEMED SPECIAL INTEREST AND AFFINITY HOUSING

    This is nothing more than University-driven creation of exclusive clubs or organizations in the name of politically correct inclusion. An organization’s identity based upon special interests is simply exclusionary. That’s OK. Organizations should be allowed such identities. But, housing based upon exclusion?

    True integration does not single out folks, can create an atmosphere of exclusion, (contrary to the desire to make the university more friendly to International students) could create culturally insensitive hot-spots, and fosters division. Diversity and Inclusion just, are. University-sponsored Diversity and Inclusion should never accentuate or identify anyone as anything other than Lehigh University students. In fact, it should remain agnostic. Individual identification is a right solely reserved for the individual himself.

    I will not accept any argument that Greek houses are exclusionary. There are no special interests that guide them. These are simply diverse collections of people that enjoy each others company and choose to live together. There is not any selection criteria of which I am aware. Certainly, there is not within my Greek organization. If your experience tells you that this is incorrect, then the elimination of same should be a goal of the housing effort.

    GENDER INCLUSIVE BATHROOMS…for example

    Once again, this can be incredibly insensitive to those of other cultures and/or deeply-held beliefs. It is not for they to object to the existence or use of said facilities by other students. But, it is paramount that each student be given the opportunity to live in an environment of complete comfort consistent with his or her beliefs. “Inclusion” includes all and one man’s right is another man’s anathema. It is paramount to maintain a balance that respects each.

  10. Lots of thought-provoking work here and much of it winds its way back to the social policy. As a volunteer sorority advisor in New York, I urge Lehigh’s best practice Greek Life professionals to continue to partner with nation/international Greek organizations as they struggle, too, with these same issues. It would be a powerful, best-in-class partnership.

  11. I was shocked earlier this summer when a friend, whose son is now at Lehigh, said that all the parties were off campus. That’s causes so many more safety concerns as well as losing the great social bonding experience that The Hill provided. I had little need or desire to leave campus during my first 2-3 years at Lehigh. Now Lehigh is driving the students off campus with their policies? Kids are going to go where they need to go to have a good time – that is part of the college experience. Put the parties back in the fraternities where they belong. Have a policy that better controls the parties on campus in the fraternities rather than try to push them out of sight.

    My kids will be going to college in a few years. I had thought Lehigh may be a great place for them for both their academic and social development. I’m definitely questioning the latter now that I learn more of current conditions. Please correct this.

    1. As an Alum: from what I’ve observed the administration has taken steps to turn the campus into something that is best described as an open air prison via the progressive and persistent implementation of video surveillance, which is probably only one manifestation of the underlying approach that initially instantiated that measure.

      Sending your college age kids to a nursery school is probably not going to help them acclimatize to a free world, but it may teach them to become comfortable with the all the BS that defines the safety society.

  12. I was disappointed by the lack of specificity of most of the recommendations. I would have thought that these committees after working so long would have more meat in the recommendations. Only the recommendation to require students to remain on campus three years and the one to provide more housing for grad students were somewhat specific. I disagree with the first one, two years should be enough. My daughter was a somewhat recent graduate of a four year university, and she spent two years in campus housing and two years in off-campus housing. Some of the reasoning supporting this recommendation gives the impression that these students are not able to think and act for themselves. These are young adults and should be allowed some degree of freedom and independence, albeit with parental input.
    The recommendation for grad housing falls short as it does not provide a goal of what should be provided.
    Seems like a lot of work with little production. As a manager I would not be happy with the output.

  13. So it has run full circle now over 3 Presidents to get back to Likens era and before. Unintended consequence of treating adults in loco parentis. You want a well integrated learning and living arrangements /social life.
    1. Start treating adults as adults. Make a uniform age of adulthood including consumption of alcohol, selective service, voting, and entering legal contracts.
    2. Assign on-campus housing by GPA. Continue fraternities, but also created other living arrangements OXFORD/CAMBRIDGE style whereby that “College” is an honor to be accepted to with its own unique focus, heritage and mentor group.
    3. Integrate graduate students into the undergraduate and fraternity housing system by requiring Residential Advisors and Residential Academic Advisor, plus require all housing units to have a Faculty Advisor. No need for faculty to necessarily live on campus. It is feasible that at least 1 post graduate person live in residential housing. In the case of my fraternity, we have historically had a housemother live within the housing unit as well as one graduate student.
    4. Require daily chapel service & ties at all on-campus dining facilities. We can call it the 1940s and 50s again where they had loads more fun, better grades, more discipline and preparation for life with less intrusion of the academic administration into their lives.

    In the end, I do not think you can attempt to legislate consumer choice of housing. There are many reasons why college students choose to live off campus as soon as possible. More than just what this report hits on.

    1. In regard to “3. Integrate graduate students into the undergraduate and fraternity housing system by requiring Residential Advisors and Residential Academic Advisor, plus require all housing units to have a Faculty Advisor.”

      …problem then becomes the quality of the graduate student admissions process, which could lead to having grad students (who may not understand Lehigh culture) shaping Lehigh culture. During my time at LU I found the grad students to be fairly disconnected from the undergraduate body… often foreign, often looking somewhat lost or pre-occupied… not the kind of people that I would want in a social regulatory position.

  14. it sounds like they are trying to kill the Fraternity system by a ‘thousand cuts’, eg the proposed rule not letting Sophomores live in the Frats but forcing them to stay in their dorms. Then they can eventually get their hands on those beautiful houses in Sayre Park and run them like dorms which is, I think, the secret agenda.
    Steve Bayer ’72

  15. This report has a glaring omission and that is the prohibitive cost of living on campus. The main reason I moved off campus, as well as a number of my friends who didn’t join sororities, was that it was significantly cheaper than living in one of the on-campus options, and not, as the report assumes, because we had been forced off by a strict social policy. There are many students at Lehigh who may not qualify for financial aid, but for whom every dollar saved means less of a burden of debt upon graduation. If this rule is implemented, the administration should look hard at how it is administering its financial aid and how it can keep housing costs down.

    The University required sophomores to live on campus one year after my sophomore year, and the situation seems to have been exacerbated, not improved. What makes the committee think a third year will make a difference?

    Finally, living-learning communities are great but they have to be available beginning in the freshman year. You have to create that kind of culture from the very beginning, or else it will seem foreign/weird and most students will gravitate toward the familiar (Greek life or off campus options that they’ve been exposed to through friends and the social scene).

  16. Some students have good reasons for wanting to live off campus. Mandating a 3rd year on campus is not the right decision. Correcting the social policy so that living on campus is more desirable is what needs to be done.

  17. A major strength of a Lehigh education is that if offers opportunities to develop leadership, teamwork, and communication skills and personal responsibility. My participation in fraternity life was a very important factor in helping me practice and develop these skills. I think that Lehigh is undervaluing the role that the Greek system plays now and can play to strengthen the Living-Learning experience. I would like to see more emphasis on strengthening and leveraging what the Greek system does now instead of alternatives which are likely to involve more bureaucratic oversight, more money for people and facilities and a lukewarm response from students who are seeking more independence, not less. Dennis Domchek, class of ’64

  18. Congratulations to the University for attempting to address areas so directly affecting student life and our young people’s development to adulthood. While admittedly it is very hard for a Lehigh graduate from the early 60’s to swallow the level of control needed to keep order at colleges today, the consequences to both the student and the University when one “crosses the line” of acceptable (and/or legal) behavior are astronomically greater.

    To think that residential groups no longer have the benefit of upperclass students’ mentoring and example-setting is troubling. By all means, find a way to restore the mix, but keep in mind that you must provide the residence capacity before making any hard and fast rules to keep juniors and seniors “on campus”. Keep in mind, also, that while fraternities and sororities can cause serious problems when a chapter gets out of line, they can offer students a great opportunity to develop social skills, team-work, leadership and maturity. Cultivate them, support them and help them do the right things.

  19. Lehigh’s educational experience should be based on choice, not compulsion.
    The assertion [page 27] that “off campus living is a privilege, not a right” is a misguided attitude of student micromanagement. Lehigh students are adults and should be free to make their own decisions about where to live.

    The proposed requirement for three years of on-campus residence is a step in the wrong direction. A better option is make all residential choice voluntary.

    Most egregious is the proposal to register and control student access to off-campus housing (based in part on GPA??!!)

    The best way to encourage on-campus residence is to offer housing and an environment of personal freedom that students will find preferable to off-campus accommodations. Imposing regulations that limit student choices indicates a lack of confidence in the ability to provide such an environment.

    Lehigh’s increasing tendency to micromanage student life is symptomatic of an over-funded bureaucracy afflicted with mission creep. It may be that some cutback in funding is needed to refocus on the core mission of academic excellence. I say this with regret because I am very grateful for the educational opportunity that Lehigh has provided.

  20. Much of Lehigh’s dormitory system is akin to slum living. Lehigh standards for the amount of square footage needed to classify a room’s capacity as single, double, or triple are too low and sub standard.

    Lehigh’s minimum square footage for a single is 135 or less, 136 – 199, for a double, and 200 – 299 for a triple.

    A typical room in McClintic Marshall has 147 square feet, and the Centennials have 168. These rooms are simply too small to try and stuff two students into them along with beds desks, chairs, wardrobe, etc.

    Students often resort to bunking the beds to get more usable floor area. Bunked beds are a lousy way to be forced to live.

    By contrast, Princeton’s minimums are for a single 100-120, 180 – 200 for a double.

    Princeton also insists that the room layout be such that bunk beds will NOT be required in order to prove adequate space.

    I don’t know whether the floor plans shown for the dormitories on Lehigh’s website are accurate.

    Regardless, when for example, you look at the drawing for Leavitt you see there are 12 double occupancy rooms, thus giving a full capacity of 24. Only 2 toilets are shown.

    This fails to meet building code standards.

    Thus as I said in the first sentence, Lehigh is providing slum living conditions for its students.

    It is no wonder they are fleeing the campus and opting for living elsewhere.

    The solution to the problem is to substantially reduce the size of the undergraduate population and turn those inadequately sized doubles into singles.

  21. The concerns in the report are valid, and the problem(s) have been recognized: the Greek system is deeply flawed, exclusive, and detracts from building one Lehigh community. However, restricting the freedom of students is exactly what caused the problem in the first place: the added regulation of social activities and greek life.

    This is not the solution. Lehigh must first acknowledge their responsibility in the creation of these issues, and stop putting all the blame on the students. Social change is undoubtedly needed. Lehigh must encourage the students to help solve the problem without taking away freedoms.

  22. Other commenters have talked about the high cost of Lehigh provided housing. I’ve followed this sort of thing for a number of years and observe that costs have risen way out of proportion to the rest of the economy.

    Ten years ago, Lehigh basically “confiscated” virtually all of the fraternity and sorority houses and put them under complete university control.

    Prior to that time Lehigh would charge the chapter/alumni group an annual “rent” amount for the services and maintenance that Lehigh provided.

    A typical accounting breakdown provided by Lehigh divided by the house capacity produced a Rent/Bedspace/Year number.

    Since the “confiscation” and accounting for inflation that Rent/Bedspace/Year number has more than DOUBLED.

    I would like to know why there has been such a gross increase in these charges?
    Most likely the excess “profits” from these charges are diverted to support other costs.

    Certainly, Lehigh has a ridiculously bloated administration with no end of utterly useless offices and fiefdoms. A look at the Student Affairs website and click on the Offices and Services tab it shows numerous examples of offices that exist because of Lehigh’s penchant for catering to every absurd politically correct whim that someone wants to gripe about.

    A look at the staff directory for Student Affairs shows that there are over 100 people.

    Most of those jobs are useless. Lehigh would be better off if it eliminated them.

    1. As a 1953 Met E, on return to campus, I was amazed to see how little of the original campus remains in classrooms. Does every college need all of those dining rooms?

      Good job -you taken a page out of the Don Trump textbook !!! Soon – we will be alums of a school where the grads are limited to but one year of maturity

      Now

  23. Dear Alumni; Parents; Professors and Administrators:

    I would have placed up some comments earlier if I had not been so lazy. Many fine comments have been made so far. I attended, btw, in the 1980s, when Lehigh’s party scene was still very strong, and did receive a degree in the Liberal Arts.

    I believe there were pluses and minuses of the uncontrolled scene back then: and more so minuses. The drinking was just quite wild, and really all could drink, as long as one had a Lehigh ID. This even though Pennsylvania State Law was 21 then, for legal drinking. But to complain (which I am not) to the Administrators, of allowing all the parting and etc. would be an incorrect viewing of a complex situation evolving out of the 1960s. In many ways they should be complemented, as reaching out to the students then, as they are indeed now, and attempting to accommodate them.

    But to move on. Livy writes in “The History of Early Rome” (trans. Selincourt) that tribune Canuleius once addressed the Senate in a passionate, long defense of the populace and against the aristocracy, and generally the Senators, on legalizing intermarriage between classes, inter alia: “… In a city built to last forever, a city whose future expansion is beyond all reckoning, [change] must inevitably come…” (…) I am generally a defender of tradition, but when change can be viewed and realized, upon decent reflection, as being better, it should be accepted, and so certain traditions allowed to die…

    Granted we should be careful here… And I would like to add that the changes at Lehigh in the 25 odd years since I left have been in some areas so great as to make me unable to comment on certain affairs. Nonetheless, I can make some observations.

    Joe Fisher wrote (July 8, 3:23pm) an excellent letter, inside of which there were three points I agree with:
    1. He criticized the (apparent) University policy that “… off campus living is a privilege, not a right…” {Pg. 27 of the University Summary} … I definitely agree, with the possible exception of freshman coming from a distance (not local). We should resist the temptation to think, reflect, and act like modern politicians… And even if the University is correct with a statement of that type, as applied to the entire student body, or a sector of it: *a statement does not prove one’s position, it merely asserts it.*

    2. Mr. Fisher also criticized the suggestion of assigning on-campus housing based on GPA. I strongly concur. The ability to attain or possess a fine GPA is largely removed from one’s housing arrangements, but it is hardly independent of it: it will vary with the individual. Further, with some, it may correlate strongly with excellent housing, and that therefore, be a vicious circle. Four or Five years at an institution is far too short a time to be deciding who gets what favors based on intellectual performance. It is plainly unfair, I feel… Additionally, *we do come to the University to do other matters besides merely accruing an excellent G.P.A.*. This position is similar to treating humans as computers: the calculus is far too complex to award students in the manner suggested.

    Further, I am a strong believer that when a student enters College … when he/she enters Lehigh … all are viewed equally. That students – individuals – have a tabula rasa, to a respectable degree, with regards to truth and study, and that conversely, Administrators and Professors have this attitude toward them. Four or Five years is far too quick a period to start awarding positions in life, especially at this age: leave this for after college. I therefore strongly disagree with the University proposal here, in concurrence with Mr. Fisher.

    Individuals are different, true… Many will be coming from an Upper Middle Class background, or better; many will not. Those of the former might be a little shocked at the cramped spaces presented. Instead of rewarding excellent G.P.A.’s with a private room and bath, we should rather be working at raising the dormitory experience of all students.

    More issues here, some of which have been strictly raised…
    Concerning both Centennial complexes (Upper and Lower): I lived there 4 semesters, and though the rooms are somewhat small, they are exceptionally well designed and thought out, and do function reasonably well for two students, imo. [For those not aware, the rooms have woodwork encaging the entire space, and provide a closet, dresser, Bed/sofa, and a large desk with a VG sized bookcase for both.] They may function excellently as Freshman complexes. .. And… we do not need, necessarily, to compare ourselves with Princeton, or anybody. We can have our own standards, our own traditions. I do agree, though, and very much, with increasing the square footage, especially for Upperclassmen. Turning double rooms, and triples, at M&M, Drinker, Dravo, Richards, Taylor… into singles; having large suites with a common living area, and associated bedrooms (similar to the Trembley Park concept, but the latter was not well finished, imo); possibly building dorms on the Mountaintop, and so taking advantage of the view…!

    To return to Mr. Joe Fisher’s letter, for one final observation:
    3. Joe states that the ” … increasing tendency to micromanage student life is symptomatic of an over-funded bureaucracy afflicted with mission creep.” I agree here again, yet not as strongly. I found, I believe, we are not really adults at 18, possibly not even 22.. Varies again with the individual, but knowledge always grows. Therefore some ‘regulations’ & rules, etc… really are beneficial to this age group. Yet we want to respect them as adults too, so the situation is difficult.

    I feel, indeed, it may be a good idea to eventually raise the drinking age to 25, and so eliminate it from the undergraduate scene completely. What are we going to school primarily for, anyway? And one can have fun without alcohol. Perhaps a thought for the future, and for everyone.

    A final point I would like to make is, again, true, the students are young, but they are rising adults, and we want them to be such. We have great technology today for monitoring people, movement, access, identification, etc. Indeed, some sectors of our government seem to be obsessed with this. But it does not mean *we have to be, or should.* In particular, I am aware that University administrators might start – or already are – placing ‘chips’ inside an ID card, determining who enters what building and when. This might be fine with the public structures on Campus, the administrative buildings, lecture halls, and such… But I think it is highly questionable, and most probably completely unacceptable, to monitor individual activity into, and inside, their own dorms… Suppletorily, I would have *zero cameras inside all dorms*, while they may be used on the exterior. Students should have privacy and sanctity honored, just as with all people.

    The fact that we have extraordinary technology and devices for monitoring people does not entail that we must use them. This seems a ridiculously obvious conclusion, but it is not. Again, and with all respect, let us all reason as gentlemen and ladies, not as computers.

  24. Merely some final comments, observations. I apologize to a degree for my tone, in the preceding letter, and this one, but none of the wording. Increasing loss of privacy, and individual ‘rights’ — and just exactly how we want to define and understand the latter is open to question, I know — is something we all must be concerned with, as the Country moves forward in the 21st century. Just how Lehigh itself will address this problem is up to the administrators. Nonetheless, no one is going to win arguments by mere statements … And the University’s leaders should resist the temptation to lord it over the students: which is actually a very real danger, and ‘a moral disease’, if you will, that affects us all, or can so affect us. It is therefore a concern, and something to watch for.

    Lehigh, at 150 years, is in many respect still an infant, still an adolescent. We have many more years to go, hopefully. But that… I would suggest we are about to enter into the manhood of the School, to borrow a phrase from H. G. Wells. We have grown, and learned so much over the last 150 yrs: it is remarkable… and I think Lehigh can to a degree be proud of its accomplishments and position. But University life is always changing, as life is often a race of sorts, whether it be for an individual or an institution. I have long been anti-change, yet change is part of growth. Nevertheless, it does not follow that we should not be careful, and above all, circumspect. The next 50 years — birthing into manhood — may not be the easiest.

    — J. G. Lewis ’90

  25. I’m class of 87. Lehigh had great social life on campus when I was there, don’t try to change that. It’s part of the preparation for real life after college. Instead of focusing too much on what the students do, the university should focus on how they do it. Instead of trying to control every minimal detail, try to instill responsibility and good decision criteria. The rules in place and the proposed ones are pushing the students off campus, which destroys the community sense which made Lehigh special. Enough of these radical changes. It was bad enough when the football team’s name was renamed!

  26. You want my comment? Well, here it is: I was a freshman in 1965, and was socially shy. I joined a fraternity the next year, after living a year in “dorm life” that did nothing to acclimate me to the social life on campus. The fraternity enabled me to blossom. Yes, there was drinking (beer), but the fraternity life enabled me to discard my shyness and grow socially. Now you want to deprive your students of this? It sounds like this is more an attempt by the University to pry yet more money out of students’ pockets. Leave the Greek life alone!

  27. There has been an all out assault on the greek system in this country for some time. Just look at the lunacy that surrounded the alleged gang rape at UVA. Even the sororities were in essence shut down. The message is that if you are greek, you must be an overindulged rapist. The two positives that came out of my Lehigh experience were sports and my Fraternity education. Lehigh should have been the champion of the greek life. It was what made us different. Unfortuanely, we have joined the rest of the world advocating its demise. It this point, I want nothing to do with LU and am embarrased by their lack of leadership on a national level. Closed parties, Video camera’s, mandated living experience…really. Close the fraternities and you will lose 75% of your alumni support.

    Rick Weaver 83
    Sigma Chi

  28. Fraternities are a challenge worth investing in. We all learned a lot on campus, but learned about life & respect for it in the fraternities. Keep trying to find the solution. Life long friends are fostered in a fraternity, not a dorm nor an apartment. The best bonds and working relationships I have are around the Greeks of Lehigh. We aren’t all drunks & rapists.

    Go Lehigh!!!

  29. There is one thing that has not been addressed here: The financial ramifications on the South Side of this policy. I live on the South Side in a building with 170 units. (Riverport) Many of these units are rented by Lehigh students. What this policy would do is decimate the rental market on the South Side with a corresponding devasting effect on real estate prices. I have already suffered loss in value from the “bubble’ burst in 2008. Implementation of this policy would further decrease the value of my property and that of countless others in the South Side. How can Lehigh claim to be a good neighbor and implement a policy like this which would cost their neighbors untold dollars?

    I lived off-campus for 4 of mt five years at Lehigh. It was an excellent experience and better prepared me for life outside the University than living on campus could ever do.

    I agree that this is one more attempt by the University to micro manage the values of the student population. Who are the people on this commission? Seems like a lot of academics trying to force their idea of political correctness on the student population. The University has tried for years to control student behavior with disastrous results. How can you think that this will succeed?

    If they implement this policy, I will seriously consider my contributions to Lehigh.

  30. While I don’t completely understand the rather long report from the Committee, it sounds as if you are trying to make the Lehigh experience for undergrad, fraternity, graduate, non-fraternity and International all the same. Since Lehigh was founded in 1865, one of its continuing assets has been its diversity of students.

    Era from 1947 to 1951( approx. 2000 undergrads- all male )
    1. Fraternity
    A. I pledged to a Fraternity the first week of my Freshman year and lived in the House for four years.( I was 16 years old )
    B. Fraternity required a certain GPA in order to be initiated at the end of my Freshman year. A ” Big Brother ” was assigned to each pledge to help if you had academic problems. Each week-nite, there was a ” Quiet Hour ” from 7:30 to 10:30 for studying and it was enforced.
    C. Usually the key Fraternity Officers were Seniors who had lived in the House for 4 years.
    D.Cost of living was reasonable.
    E. Hell Week- We actually had paddling ( first time in 20 years and also the last time that it was ever done ). A side result is that Lifetime friendships were developed.

    2.Social
    A. I believe there were 29 fraternities( one third of student body) of which 13 were on Campus.
    B. Every Saturday nite, the 13 on campus had ” open House ” for ALL Lehigh students and dates ( on & off campus, Fraternity & non-Fraternity ). Drinks ( i.e. beer ) were free and a chaperon was required. As Lehigh was all male, there was no time dead line and parties could run to 2 and 3 A.M. Each Fraternity paid for its own beer ( often 6-7 halves ).
    C. Since most Lehigh students at the Saturday parties lived on Campus, they walked from House to House, then walked home. During my four years, I was not aware of a any DUI’s or auto accidents pertaining to a Sat. nite party.
    D. Fall & Spring House parties were great. Girls from Moravian, Cedar crest, Centenary and Beaver stayed in the Fraternity House.
    E. Alto, not legal, many happy memories singing and playing shuffleboard with German members and townspeople at the Maennerchor Club. ( using Lehigh I.D. ). Also, at Joe Kinneys Bar.

    3. General
    A. It’s true that a high percentage of athletes and Student leaders of most Lehigh activities were Fraternity members. I’m not sure why current Administration considers that to be bad.
    B. We had 5-6 members in our Fraternity who were members of Lehigh’s First and only undefeated football team in 1951( including Dick Gabriel- Little All- American ). However, all of us had many non- Fraternity friends and there did not seem to be a conflict.

    4. Conclusion
    A. Despite the current negative opinion of the way Lehigh used to operate :
    a.Most of us graduated in four years( including four years of Saturday classes).
    b. We participated in Varsity & Intramural sports and many of the other Lehigh Activities.
    c.We had long and productive years in the Business Community ( I’m now retired for 27 years ).
    d. Made many lifetime friends.
    e. Had fond memories of our four years .

    Overall, I enjoyed every minute of my four years at Lehigh !!!

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