Greek Village gets mixed reaction from U students

by Neil Munshi

Students expressed mixed reactions Tuesday to a proposed all-greek student apartment complex on the 1700 block of University Avenue Southeast.

Both greek and nongreek students expressed a mix of concern, caution and optimism about the construction of the complex.

Greek Village is a proposed 100,000-square-foot, greek-only apartment complex. The University would lease land for the building, which

currently holds a parking lot. The greek community would pay for the construction.

Jon Loveall, a first-year English and American studies student, said that although he is not a member of the greek community, he thinks it’s important the University have a sense of community.

“If that’s something the greek community wants to pursue, then they should be allowed to,” he said. “Just so long as there are ample opportunities for all students to have a place to live, it’s not a big deal.”

Because there is always a need for housing on campus, Loveall said, he thinks all avenues for more accommodation should be explored.

Communications sophomore Katie Barten said she wouldn’t have a problem with the complex as long as it did not infringe on other University projects.

“I’d have no problem with it, it doesn’t really affect me directly,” she said.

Political science senior Arne Johansson said the idea seemed a little discriminatory.

“It just seems like it’s segregating a small group of students on very valuable University land,” he said. “It sounds like discrimination.”

Marketing junior Travis Boisvert said he didn’t understand why the University would want to be involved.

“Why should it be in the ‘U’s’ interest to give them an opportunity for such a small percentage of the University?” he said. “I work for (Parking and Transportation Services), and they make revenue off that lot; I don’t know why the ‘U’ would forfeit that (income).”

Garrett Mitchell, officer of philanthropy for Alpha Nu Omega fraternity, said the greek houses identify the groups.

“In the greek system, you want something that identifies you, and the best thing is your house,” he said. “If you start mixing everyone (in one big building), you might create a monoculture.”

Mitchell said a giant greek complex might reflect badly on the greek community, not only because it might seem discriminatory, but also because of problems that might arise.

“By taking something that’s worked for 75 to 100 years and then condensing, it could produce a lot of problems that could reflect poorly on the greek community,” he said.

French and global studies sophomore Megan Bissing-Olson, who lives in the University Students’ Co-Op on the 1700 block of University Avenue Southeast between two fraternity houses, said her house has been asked to buy into the complex. She said she doesn’t think they will.

“I think it’s silly, especially because the whole reason is that the frats can’t maintain their houses,” she said. “Living in this co-op, we can maintain ourselves Ö sororities are greek, and they can maintain themselves.”

Lyle Deepe, vice president of Delta Chi fraternity, said he was cautious about the proposal because of costs and the long-term scope of benefits.

“We see some potential benefits but also a very high upfront cost (of $250,000), that could prevent us from investing,” he said. “They are asking for a commitment out of guys who are only in here another year and a half to benefit kids that are in fifth grade.”