Op-Ed: Independence in action

Feb. 16, 2012, 12:30 a.m.

A week ago, Stanford informed Chi Theta Chi  that it would try to revoke our home’s independence. Instead, this week’s progress, and a monumental outpouring of support from the University community, have confirmed that our home’s independence is stronger than ever before.


This week, we resolved the minor legal technicalities the University cited when it tried to cancel our lease. Our kitchen passed its county inspection. We met with a property manager to independently ensure the continued comfort and safety of our facility. And an independent review has confirmed what we knew all along: that our house and its managing board of alumni have maintained an impeccable fiscal record that guarantees our co-op’s stability for decades to come.


Before last week, our staff and residents always believed that our house made a positive contribution to the University community. But we never knew how much it meant to so many people. An online petition of support released Tuesday afternoon gained more than a thousand signatures in twelve hours. Alumni and parents from as close as San Francisco to as far away as Hong Kong and London joined a letter-writing campaign last weekend, and many more called in to express the importance of our house’s independence to the University officials who have tried to end it.


Meanwhile, our on-campus friends in other co-ops welcomed us into their houses early this week to discuss Chi Theta Chi’s important role in Stanford’s co-op community, and how different our culture would be under University control. We think it’s a role that everyone on campus can value: our unique arrangement adds diversity in a way that no other house does.


Stanford always insists that it values such residential diversity, but its letter last week spoke truth to a different mission. Were Chi Theta Chi’s independence revoked, our residents’ checks would go directly into the university’s coffers, and all spending authority would revert to university administrators. We would lose the freedom to order our own food, buy our own furniture, complete our own renovations, and provide affordable summer housing for all students – in short, we’d lose all the things that make our home unique on this campus. Under university control, Chi Theta Chi would be the house the University wants it to be – not the house the Stanford community has grown to love.


If you talk to our residents or alumni, they might sum up our campaign in four simple words with a long history. One day almost a decade ago, that year’s residents were setting out on a group adventure. We do that a lot. To call everyone together, someone shouted: “Bring us with us!” It means that it’s time for everyone to get moving, because we so dearly want everyone in our community along for the trip. This week, we’ve realized just how big that community is, and how much this fight means to so many people.


Bring us with us: we have a lot of work to do, and we’ll need all our help.


Matt Grossman ’13

Capital Improvements Projects Manager, Chi Theta Chi

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