The Zeta Psi house at Tulane suffered extensive fire damage this week. Naturally, the neighbors aren’t pleased as this has been a seemingly frequent occurrence of late. However, according to Times Picayune coverage of the fire, Maple Area Residents Inc president Tommy Milliner proposes Tulane ban off campus fraternities altogether. This thought is simply misguided. I will avoid the common refrains of “don’t live by student housing and then complain that students act like students.” Those statements don’t really address the neighbor’s reasonable concerns. Instead, I will point out the involvement of Tulane’s vice president of student affairs, Mike Hogg. As a former student of Mr. Hogg, I can directly attest to his memorable ability to not only teach extremely well, but also conduct himself in a manner that makes him perfect for his current position. The man exudes common sense and fairness. Rather than pursue zoning changes to remove fraternity houses, neighbors should allow Mr. Hogg to continue his already begun efforts to work with the fraternities to pursue a solution that benefits the safety of the students, their houses, and the neighbor’s concerns of future fires.
*Full Disclosure-I had the privilege of serving as president of a Tulane fraternity in 2005/2006. While our chapter has not had an official house since the early 1990s, (when incidentally, it burned as well) they do serve as an invaluable contribution to campus life. From our many explorations of acquiring our own house, I can guarantee that the students living in those homes, just as much as their national organizations, have a vested interest in protecting them from fires. Aside from their own safety, their house insurance premiums are a major portion of yearly fraternity dues.