NASHVILLE, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Tennessee State Representative John DeBerry, Jr. of Memphis makes a case that even some higher education officials privately won’t dispute. Some
fraternities and sororities are more about a party than anything good. Now he’s pushing a bill to ban them in Tennessee.
It’s a bill not only getting attention on the state’s Capitol Hill, but on college campuses.
“It’s time for us to take a long introspective look at these organizations and how they function on these state funded institutions,” says Rep. DeBerry, who is trying to make a point with his bill that would ban fraternities and sororities on Tennessee’s numerous state college campuses.
He says he’s not singling out one incident or one group’s behavior, but images often seen in movies or headlines. “Where we glorified this kind of activity on campuses with the girls, and the togas, and the liquor, but in this atmosphere right now with the ‘me too’ atmosphere where women are discovering their voices saying they are not sex objects.”
The lawmaker, who is also a reverend, delivers a message few taxpayers can dispute. “And I think what they want are safe well-managed places where they can send their children and they come home still their children.”
Some University of Tennessee officials met with Reverand DeBerry Wednesday in hopes of finding a compromise about his bill.
University officials released a statement late Wednesday that read, in part:
“Our Government Relations staff has met with Rep. DeBerry concerning his bill.
We certainly understand and share his concern when it comes to the safety and conduct of our state’s college students. Most recently, our Knoxville campus implemented the first significant changes to its Student Code of Conduct in more than 40 years.
We do not believe, however, that removing Greek Life from our campuses is the best way to accomplish desired student conduct or outcomes. In fact, fraternities and sororities can often help improve student success and facilitate life-long bonds of friendship and professional networks. Many such organizations have a service oriented or professional component that enrich our campus communities.
We appreciate Rep. DeBerry’s willingness to work with us on this issue.”
–Anthony Haynes / Vice President for Government Relations & Advocacy
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