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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Greeks hold most elected ASUA offices

    Tuesday, January 29, 1985

    From the large number of fraternity and sorority members participating in the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, one might guess the acronym ASUA actually stands for Alpha Sigma Upsilon Alpha.

    About 75 percent of the elected potions in the UA student government are held by men and women in the Greek system.

    If ASUA were an accurate representation of the student population, around 22,500 of the 30,000 who attend the UA would be in a Greek house. In reality, about 10 percent of all UA students are affiliated with fraternities and sororities.

    “”There is Greek participation to some extent in ASUA, and it is legitimate to say that in the past years, there has been a prevailing Greek attitude, but I think things are changing,”” said Eric Stevenson, ASUA president and member of Kappa Sigma.

    The other two executive officers, Wendy Gerlach, administrative vice president, and Jeanne Fredrickson, executive vice president, are in sororities.

    “”Students used to think that ASUA was completely inhabited by Greeks and ASUA elections were simply contests between fraternities and sororities. Many people still consider it to be the same, but things have changed,”” Stevenson said.

    “”We want to eliminate the old image (of the Greeks) in the past governments and want to prove ourselves as a credible student government now,”” he added, citing ASUA’s involvement in the planning of UA parking, coeducational housing and other non-Greek issues as examples of the shift away from a fraternity and sorority orientation.

    “”It is important to have the Greek influence, because Greeks have an active role in student government,”” said Paul Pellman, one of the three ASUA senators who is not in a house. Beth Jo Zeitzer and Lisa Porter are the others in the nine-member senate who are independent.

    “”We want to have a more diverse group of people (in ASUA) who are not in the Greek system,”” Pellman said.

    While taking the initiative to join ASUA requires nerve and ambition, no one should be intimidated by the heavy Greek makeup of the student government, he said.

    Having a house member elected ASUA president or appointed to a key position in the administration is a drawing card for prospective members by adding prestige to the house’s name.

    The number of house members in ASUA “”comes out a lot during rush,”” Stevenson said. “”I’ll admit that if you have a Greek member involved in ASUA it will be publicized.””

    Scott Hergenroether, 1983-84 ASUA executive vice president, said of Greeks in student government, “”I was disturbed at the way they controlled and self-perpetuated themselves.””

    Some houses thrive on the fact that many of their members are in certain ASUA organizations, he added.

    “”What quite often happens is you pick your friends and the friends turn out to be Greek,”” Hergenroether said. “”They perpetuate themselves year after year.””

    “”The houses place an incredible amount of pressure on freshman to join organizations for the wrong reasons,”” he said, citing the numbers game houses play to attract potential pledges.

    Stevenson admitted that this perpetuation can and does happen, but added that the quality and intensity of one’s work is more important than Greek affiliation.

    He also estimated that only 25 percent of the 3,500 students involved each year in ASUA are Greek, while 50 percent of those people live in the dormitories.

    “”You may have organizations that have a large number of members from one Greek house, but they can’t get a position of leadership unless they put out a lot of effort and show a vision for the future,”” Stevenson said.

    Hergenroether also pointed out that the Greeks’ participation in ASUA is an asset. “”Greeks have the potential to serve more time than anyone else

    “”I was just happy to have a warm body there,”” he added. “”I really wasn’t concerned why they were volunteering.””

    While anyone can volunteer for ASUA and many of the other organizations the UA has to offer, Greeks sign up in larger numbers and larger percentages than any other group. They also have to largest percentage of elected offices held in ASUA, and this takes more than just volunteering.

    It takes getting a vote of acceptance from the student body.

    “”I don’t think they have such a strong hold on elected posts. They do this year, but not always,”” Hergenroether said. “”What I hope for, at least for the elected positions, is that the public votes for the best.””

    A house can motivate mass support for a candidate, a power base an independent candidate may not be able to realize. Out of the nine percent of the student body who vote, Stevenson estimated that 25 percent are Greek.

    However, he also pointed out that dormitories can motivate group support for a candidate.

    Stevenson said that with the inclusion of new organizations in ASUA, such as the Minority Action Council, a broader sample of the student body might be represented after this spring’s elections.

    “”We are looking for a diverse group of people with a stronger emphasis of different groups like Native Americans, Hispanics, blacks, etc.,”” he said.

    “”What’s good for the university is homogeneity, not just the Greeks or the dorms being involved,”” Hergenroether said.

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