OP-EDS

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May 2, 2016

Down With the King

The Moose Party’s satirical campaign is more dangerous than it is funny.

On a campus that has recently seen sexual assaults reported at both Delta Upsilon (DU) and Psi Upsilon (Psi U), a racist email scandal at Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi), and a professor stepping down amid sexual misconduct allegations (alongside on-going federal Title IX investigations), the Moose Party—the satirical Executive Slate made entirely of DU brothers—and its platform is more than offensive.

The joke is tired, not just after 21 years of unsuccessful candidacies, but because there is no longer anything funny about a frat brother dressing as a king and claiming the University as his kingdom. Fraternities have enjoyed an imbalanced proportion of power on campuses across the country for as long as they have existed, and they have proven to be hugely dangerous to women, queer, and trans people and exclusionary to non-white men. As the wholesome image of the frat brother has cracked to show that the fraternity is ultimately built on an image, lifestyle, and even an aesthetic that glorifies the worst aspects of white masculinity, the role of the Moose Party is simply grossly inappropriate.

The Moose Party’s Facebook page features pictures of slate members shot-gunning beers on the roof of their house. A video on the same Facebook page shows them playfully tossing someone into Botany Pond—“a visual example of capital punishment,” presumably part of their platform. These are hardly jokes when so many people have been hurt by frats and their ability to seemingly “live above the law.” The University distances itself from their wrongdoing by claiming they aren’t on-campus RSOs and thereby assuming no responsibility in governing fraternities. Instead, they are left to police themselves. But we are not convinced they can or will. The glorification of the frat aesthetic is no longer funny because we know where it has gotten us.

Never mind the Moose Party’s derision for the role of student government—perhaps we do take ourselves too seriously here—and its attempts at humorous policies. That the members of a frat would answer “no comment” to questions about sexual assault and diversity on this campus is disrespectful and irresponsible. If DU truly doesn’t care about the campus climate it's contributing to, then it can continue to drunkenly bluster its way through student government elections, reaffirming everyone’s suspicion that it couldn’t care less about the damage it does. But if DU has any sense of decency, it will stop its “satirical” campaigns. Frats aren’t solely to blame for sexual assaults or lack of inclusivity on this campus, but they do have a unique ability to help tackle these issues from the inside. The fact that DU and its Moose Party give this up in favor of crass jokes and shirtless, beer-chugging pictures proves how far they (and we) have to go.

Kayleigh Voss is a fourth-year in the College majoring in English and an editor of the Viewpoints section.

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