In a letter dated Dec. 11, 2019, Leroy Wright, Vice President of Student Development and Dean of Students, and Dee McCormick, Vice President of Finance and Administration, informed presidents of Albion College’s six fraternities that the Board of Trustees has made a decision to change the fraternity meal plan. Beginning in the Fall of 2020, all fraternity members will be required to purchase an Albion College Fraternity Board plan.
The plan includes 15 meals per week comprised of 10 meal swipes that can be used at any location serving food on campus as well as five meals provided within the fraternity houses. Throughout the Spring 2020 semester, Wright and McCormick have plans to sit down with fraternity members and discuss how to transition smoothly and effectively into the new meal plan come next semester.
In the letter, Wright explained that the Board of Trustees and College Administration made the decision to switch over fraternity meal plans on the basis that eating meals together cultivates a sense of community. Albion’s campus community, therefore, would be enhanced by incorporating fraternity members into meals at Baldwin with the rest of the student population. In theory, this would create a more cohesive sense of unity in the college.
“The Board of Trustees (BOT) at Albion College has tasked the College Administrative Leadership to provide an avenue for you to strengthen your connections to non greek spaces therefore allowing you more opportunities to enhance your recruiting efforts,” said Wright in an email sent out to campus fraternity members.
Despite the positive intentions of the plan expressed by Wright, the proposal has not been well-received on campus.
Fraternity members and non-Greek students alike spoke out about their feelings regarding the policy change.
“I personally think it’s a decision that will affect male Greek Life at Albion for the worse. Not only will it undoubtedly be more expensive, it also takes away our autonomy of choosing where our we get our meals from,” said sophomore Liam Smith, a member of Delta Tau Delta (DTD). “A huge draw of Greek Life is being involved in discussions like these and learning from those decisions and using that experience to help in professional and personal settings later in life.”
A petition started by senior Trevor Hill, a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE), which has been steadily making its way toward its five thousand signature goal since its creation, explains some of the major concerns about the switch, which is referred to as a matter of “corporate greed.”
With less meal preparation needed, the change would force fraternities to cut back on cooking staff, some of whom have been working in the fraternity houses for two decades or more.
“The policy change not only forces hard working community members out of a job, it will also effectively kill male Greek life,” Hill said in the petition. “Retention rates will go down and memberships of fraternities will almost disappear overnight if this policy is allowed to go through.”
In the meantime, TKE Alumni Advisers plan to meet this upcoming Sunday to discuss the current situation.
“Nobody from leadership, nor the alumni were informed that this policy is in the making,” said Hill. “We did not have a chance to fight this before it passed.”