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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 13, 1998)
Secret greek society members should stop being childish
MATTHEW EICKMAN is a
senior finance and econom
ics major and a Daily
They devote themselves to rude
and discriminating acts.
They wear cowardly, intimidating
hoods over their faces.
They believe it’s their duty to lead
and keep society on the “righf ’ track.
They’re not the Klan. They’re three
“secref ’ greek student groups.
But the similarities are frightening.
Theta Nu Epsilon, Senior Scroll
Society and Rho Delta are three student
groups composed of members of the
Each group, through its actions, has
shown that its members believe in
speaking hatefully of fellow human
beings. Each has secret rituals. In pho
-- .. „_1_1_1._• J 1_1_
TTvui uiuvn, p^uuvu uvaaio
covering their faces.
They are all white and, in many
In case yoy’ie not a member of one
of these secret societies, you’ve never
heard of them, or they’ve never taken
out their jealous frustrations on you, let
me give you the rundown.
Because I’m not in one (although
sSs claimed I was its rival’s president), I
can’t tell you everything.
I won’t give you a complete list of
people, because you would probably
rather not know that certain individuals
are involved. I won’t give you a list of
names, because my intention is not to
hurt the members. Rather, it is to pro
tect the individuals who have been hurt
by the members.
But I’ll give you insight into these
silly elitist groups called sub-rosas.
TNE and sSs (rivals, both all men)
and Rho Delta (all women) are made
up of the campus leaders in the greek
system. They include house presidents,
lower officers and common members.
Some groups are active on campus
nationwide, and famous American
politicians have been members. The
leaders of tomorrow are members in
societies around the nation.
The 1979-1980 Association of
Students of the University of Nebraska
and Interfratemity Council presidents
were accused of being TNE members
after a membershiD list was
allegedly found in a frater
nity study room.
Being in one of the soci
eties is a status symbol for
many greeks. The mem
bers feel powerful and
influential when it
comes to campus elec- ,
tions, and they have used
intimidation to keep stu
dents from running for
They also feel pow
erful when they make fun
of their own houses
through childish, anony
At random times
throughout the school year,
each society writes J
newsletters and then dis- Mi
tributes them to the hous- If
es.The latest newsletters 11
claim responsibility for I?
“positive” effects on ft1
When you open the "
letters, both claims are
found to be false.
Inside, individual stu
aents are singled out and
publicly. A recent Rho Delta newsletter
asks a named sorority member, “Did
your parents beat you daily with the
ugly stick?!” The same newsletter pre
dicted a student “gains back all her
weight phis 20 pounds.”
Other sorority members are listed
under the heading “Girls who should
keep their mouths (and legs) shut.”
The back of the letters are home to
the Roll Calls. Here, the elitists let
every greek member know what’s
wrong with each house.
However, no attempt is made to
present the criticisms constructively.
Instead, the sentences are laced with
racism and bigotry.
This year the Rho Delts chastise
houses for a “jungle fever” competi
tion. Another house is told that “It’s OK
to be greek and gay.”
(They even welcome back the
greek dominance of homecoming, but
we ail know that the greeks have no
power over homecoming, right?)
Instead of stopping with the stu
dents, the societies’ individuals march
their egos right over to the offices of
Student and Judicial Affairs.
Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs
James Griesen can find his picture with
a fat sSs stamp on his forehead. They
have termed him “Emperor of the Evil
Outranking Griesen for the sub
rosas is Charles Greene, director of
Student Judicial Affairs, who gets the
title “Death Star Commander.” These
titles are unfair and undeserved.
You see, these people hang out,
make fun of others, act important and
belittle our administrators, then hide
when it is time to be held accountable.
We have reached a time for action.
We have hit the end of the road.
Enough is enough.
I see three steps toward resolving
the problems set lorth by the immature
actions and attitudes of the Ts,
Scrollers and Rho Delts.
To the members: Cut it out If
someone personally offends you, talk ,
to him or her individually, If so meone
weighs more than you or looks differ
ently than you, learn to live with it
Quit writing those stupid newslet
ters unless you have enough courage to
put your names on it. Oh yeah, and
please become perfect before you point
out others’ imperfections.
Second, if you’re going to have
your little groups, use them to do some
thing beneficial for die campus. If you
are, in fact, campus leaders, then use
your energies to organize philan
thropies or crusade for campus causes.
Claiming campus buildings by
putting your stickers on them does not
count. I’m sick of going to the sSs
building (whoops, I mean CBA) and
seeing the stickers. It’s vandalism, pure
and simple. Vandalism is a crime and
does not reflect a commitment to better .
your campus and the greek system.
Finally, it’s time for the appropriate
administrators to launch investigations
of these groups. It is in the best interest
of die UNL student body for
Chancellor James Moeser, Griesen and
Greene to seek out the secret members
and hold them accountable for their
When students decided to write
cruel and anonymous remarks on cam
pus sidewalks last year, it gained the
attention of die administration.
In that case, the remarks ridiculed a
group of people. In this case, the soci
eties go straight for individuals.
Students at this university deserve
to be protected from such treatment
They have earned the right to live
peacefully in campus housing andnot
be sniped at by the; bigots sitting onjhei
grassy knoll. . J '}
Writing these groups off as harm- /
less student entities would be reckless
TNE and the Scrollers advertise
themselves with Klan-like pictures. In
these photos, the members make hand
signals and hide their faces beneath
pointed black hoods.
It is time for these hoods to be
removed. It is time for the administra
tion to protect the well-being of the stu
phone messa^ arfdlife-m^ifpficmfe t
calls for writing this?
I hope they’ll have the decency to
leave their names with their messages.
1 he power ot one
CAMP HEARTLAND opens its doors to young victims with AIDS
AARON COOPER is a
senior English major and a
Daily Nebraskan columnist.
Deep down, in that place within us
which remains invisible to the outside
world, we all search for meaning. We
all, at one point or another, ponder the
answer to the question, “What do I
want to do with my life?”
Some of us achieve our dreams.
Others get sidetracked and lose the
determination and will to achieve
what we consider to be success.
Regardless of the paths we take, we all
are faced with defining moments that
determine whether we are destined for
greatness or mediocrity.
Neil Willenson was your average
college student in 1991. As a 20-year
old junior attending the University of
Wisconsin, he had big dreams. He was
a native of Mequon, Wis., majoring in
television and film, and he hoped to
move to Hollywood in the future to
become a feature film producer.
One day, he saw a headline in his
hometown newspaper that read,
“AIDS Hysteria in Mequon.”
The story chronicled the life of a
young boy named Nile Wolff who had
been bom with AIDS. People in the
Mequon community were having
trouble dealing with Nile’s entering
Kindergarten, i ney were quick to pro
ject their own fears and personal igno
rance onto a 5-year-old boy who only
wanted a chance to be like his peers.
Nile wanted only to feel normal.
Neil Willenson was unable to get
the story out of his mind. Neil reached
out beyond his own personal goals and
the life he had been leading. For the
next two years, he got to know Nile,
his brother Sean and his mother Dawn
- an entire family living with AIDS.
Neil Willenson’s dreams began to
Neil’s perceptions of his home
town of Mequon were drastically dif
ferent than Nile’s. The place that had
once been a haven of acceptance and
childhood innocence for Neil had
turned into a prison for young Nile.
Neil refused to sit by and let Nile
be punished for the fear and preju
dices in the hearts and minds of oth
Neil got involved.
One of the hardest realities for
Nile in 1993 was that most summer
camps were not equipped to meet the
emotional and medical needs of chil
dren living with AIDS. While most
camps paid lip service to the
Americans With Disabilities Act,
aimed at guaranteeing children with
AIDS equal access to recreational pro
grams, they quietly told children with
AIDS that they were not wanted.
Neil changed that the day he
founded CAMP HEARTLAND.
Neil put on a tie and went out into
America’s corporate environment
determined to find the money to get
his project off the ground. He attended
countless meetings to ask for grants
and donations. He probably called
hundreds or companies and mdividu
als, asking them if they would con
tribute to his worthy cause.
Many refused to help. Many hos
pitals and medical facilities did not '
believe Neil could pull off what he had
set out to do and said they would not
support or work for the camp.
In the first summer alone, CAMP
HEARTLAND welcomed 73 children
with AIDS. Five years later, the camp
now has its own permanent, year
round home in Willow River, Minn.
Neil made it happen.
I had the opportunity to talk with
Eva Nekovar, known in Lincoln as
“Eva Ryan,” a disc jockey with
KFRX-FM (102.7), about her involve
ment with CAMP HEARTLAND and
her perceptions of Neil Willenson.
Eva had nothing but positive
things to say about Neil and the camp
aner oemg a counselor mere during
the summer of 1997. “Noodle,” she
says, referring to Neil’s camp nick
name, “has a big heart and provides
inspiration to the children.” She fur
ther commented on the Mighty
Morphin Power Rangers watch and
the colorful clothes Neil often wears
to make the children feel at home.
Eva said that many of the children
feel so welcome and have the best
week of their lives that their goal is to
live for another year, just so that they
can return to camp the next summer.
Eva was so touched by her experi
ences at CAMP HEARTLAND that
she has co-founded CAMP NOO
DLE, a camp based on services pro
vided by CAMP HEARTLAND and
will open its doors in the summer of
1999 at a campsite in Hordville.
CAMP NOODLE continues to
accept applications for children infect
ed with or affected by AIDS who wish
to come to a place of acceptance and
friendship and will be serving other
states in die Heartland outside of
Nebraska as well.
Unfortunately, even as America
begins to realize the growing need for
camps catering to those children
infected with or affected by AIDS,
there are still many on waiting lists.
There are more than 12,000 chil
dren under the age of 19 living with
AIDS today. And because of people
like Neil, Eva and the many others,
many of these children will have a rea
son to hope and a place where they
can go to be treated as equals and as
people rather than caged animals.
These children have minds, just
like you, lull of ideas and perceptions
about the world. They have hearts, just
like me, full of love to give and
dreams about growing up and finding
their place in the world.
They are human, just like all of us.
And through CAMP HEART
LAND’S “Journey of Hope,” an inspi
rational tour that travels all over
America speaking about AIDS and
educating institutions about the dis
ease, a message of hope is passed on
to students, faculty and employees
across America. Neil Wi Henson and
the members of “Journey of Hope”
shared their stories in Lincoln at the
Lied Center last year.
They teach us that by refusing to
be a part of the communities that
ostracize children because of things
that are out of their control, we can
begin to search for better ways to
make these children feel a sense of
hope and a sense of belonging.
Meanwhile, we can stop wonder
ing whether or not the power of one
can truly make a difference. Those
who doubt the truth behind this time
less wisdom need only talk with the
children who have been distinguished
guests at CAMP HEARTLAND.
Cooper’s Law: One person with a
goal and the determination to see it
through is more powerful than 10 who
think it s a good idea.
Nile Wolff is going to be 13 years
old in February. I wonder if the doc
tors or the people of Mequon believed
he would make it this far.
As for the continued plight of chil
dren living in the scope of AIDS
across America, I think it was best
summarized during a candlelight vigil
one night at CAMP HEARTLAND. It
was a time tor campers to get together
with family members and remember
those affected by such a powerful dis
One mother noticed her candle’s
flame was down to a mere flicker, and
she sadly proclaimed into the micro
phone, “The candle is getting shorter
and shorter,” as she thought of her 14
year-old son who was living with
AIDS and hemophilia.
An 11-year-old boy courageously
took the microphone from her hands
and softly said, “You’re right. The can
dle is getting shorter, but it’s still lit. It
still burns. It still provides light. The
flame is still alive. There is hope.”
If you would like to support CAMP
HEARTLAND, please visit their Web site at
hVCp JI-www.campheartland.org, or call 800- 5
724-HOPE. For more information on CAMP
NOODLE, please write to the camp at P.O. Box
81147, Lincoln, NE 68501.
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