Monday, April 01, 2013

Student predicts end of fraternities within two years

Lies, Damned Lies, & Statistics. Enjoy Conclave this year, it may be the last one.

Student predicts end of fraternities within two years | Student Life:

Student predicts end of fraternities within two years

Controversy erupted over the weekend when a statistics student published his prediction that all Washington University fraternities would be suspended by May 2015.
Freshman Malik Peters, who is taking Elementary Probability and Statistics, analyzed the spacing between the recent suspensions of the university’s Sigma Alpha Mu, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapters.
“I was just doing a basic linear extrapolation, and with the rate fraternities have been getting suspended, the last fraternity is going to be gone by May 2015,” said Peters.
Peters published his results, including a graph showing the predicted decline in fraternity numbers, on Facebook Friday night, captioning the post “Say goodbye to Upper Row haha.” Within five hours, there were forty comments on the post. Several responses were positive, but most either disputed the results or attacked Peters for his conclusions.
“Yes! The Greek system is corrupt and needs to be brought down,” commented junior Aleera Anghelescu.
“dumass[sic] GDI [god damn independent, denoting a person unaffiliated with Greek Life]. were [sic] not going anywhere,” posted sophomore Alex Heineken, who is a member of Sigma Nu.
“I just think it’s ridiculous. This isn’t a scientifically rigorous study at all, but everyone seems to think…it means the end of Greek Life,” said freshman and Theta Xi pledge Gordon Himermann, who commented “One semester of statistics and suddenly you know everything? SMH,” on Peters’ post.
Himermann also reported that as he was walking across campus to a chapter meeting Saturday evening, he was heckled by seemingly unaffiliated students. According to Himermann, upon seeing his letters, these students yelled “Enjoy it while it lasts!” and “Down with frats!” at him.
Eric Slatton, media representative for the Greek Life Office, released a written statement in response to Peters’ findings Saturday morning.
“In light of recent speculations on the future of Greek Life, our office would like to make clear our intentions. There have been no reports of misconduct about any of our recognized fraternities, and we do not foresee suspending any more fraternities. After recent incidents, we have worked with the Interfraternity Council to ensure that the Greek community is one that is welcoming and accepting of all members of the Washington University community,” read the statement.
Peters could not suggest a reason for the projected elimination of the fraternities.
“We learned this semester that correlation doesn't imply causation, so I don’t know why these frats are going to get suspended. But the numbers don’t lie. Plus, I got an A on that project,” said Peters.
Senior and Alpha Epsilon Pi member Rick Dresner, however, had a prediction.
“I think it’s the sororities. They've changed their mind about wanting houses, and their endgame is to kick us off campus,” he said.

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