Putting priorities in perspective

I became a “fag,” a “pussy” and a “liar” on Jan. 30. I was accused of “intentional defamation,” “malice” and “one-sidedness.”
Within hours of publication of last week’s article “Putting pledging in perspective,” the Observer became a social pariah.
This past issue was record breaking. Our social media reach was through the roof, destroying the statistics surrounding any previous story. It is a clear display that a large percentage of the Augustana student body has an incredibly imbalanced priority list.
Our past coverage has tackled some important issues that have a tangible social impact—issues that deserve dialogue from the Greek organizations that involve such a large percentage of our student body.
Protests concerning a national issue? Silence. Tuition increase? Silence. Title IX changes? Silence. An historical article concerning pledging? Blasphemy.
Philanthropy is one thing. Social action is another. On what campus do race issues, financial matters and federal legislation take a backseat to something with such a minuscule influence? Unfortunately, our campus. The voice of the Greek community has been silent with regard to all of these issues. Issues that they, as leaders on campus, should address.
The only time Greek voices arose was to turn a news article about the history of pledging into “ObserverGate 2015.”
Reading the article shouldn’t be a deciding factor for students not to pledge. Reading the comments and crass insults that were posted by members of the Greek community provides reason enough.
The volume in which the accusations rose overshadowed the relief of many first-years, who found the piece to be informative and comforting. While I applaud the amount of brotherhood shown, couldn’t that negative energy be used for more meaningful purposes?
Imagine an Augustana campus where a Greek organization helped increase awareness of LGBT issues, instead of using words like “fag.”
Imagine an Augustana campus where a Greek organization wrote a Letter to the Editor to engage the campus in a fruitful discussion, instead of flinging insults from behind the shield of social media.
Often we are criticized for not reporting about the “important things.” We’ve reported on issues such as same-sex marriage legislation changes, the possibility of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus and contingency funds for student groups, but those issues don’t inspire action from the Greek community.
What is truly disheartening is that there was another story in the Jan. 30 issue, one worth a real discussion.
Sarah Ritter, our A&E/Features editor, published a story concerning domestic violence survivors at Christian Care. The story, which was one of the best pieces we’ve published this year, was pushed to the wayside.
Her article, and the stories of those she interviewed, is one example of an issue worthy of the communal support and action from the Greek community.
There was a whole lot of racket over an issue that doesn’t deserve the noise, in contrast to the continual silence concerning meaningful issues. What will it take to balance the priority list?