By Ryan Chirnomas
Arizona Daily Wildcat
October 2, 1997

Religious, Greek organizations not 'useless'


In response to Mike Mason's letter to the editor "More zone 1 parking needed," I strongly suggest that the author reanalyze his assertions. I share Mr. Mason's feelings of frustration concerning the limited availability of Zone 1 parking, however, I cannot logically agree with his proposed solutions. To call buildings such as fraternity and sorority houses, as well as religious institutions, "useless" is completely preposterous. All of these organizations provide a defined and important part of campus life.

I am not one to proclaim the Greek systemas the shepherd for the campus flock of Wildcats, but these organizations compose a major element of the lives of hundreds of students. While one may claim that the Greek system is a glorified excuse for partying, this is a gross generalization. Many in the Greek system will testify that the organization can be a source of guidance and support in the confusing college years. However, the point here is not the moral state of the situation, but the financial. Greek students py thousands to live in their houses, all of which are privately owned. The university has no grounds to take over this land by any sort of "Manifest Destiny."

Furthermore, the assertion the religious"student unions" are "useless" is absolutely ridiculous. While I cannot speak for organizations which I do not belong to, I can speak for that which I do, the Hillel Foundation. Hel is n international organization to promote Jewish life on college campuses. In addition to religious services, Hillel contributes to the campus and Tucson community through philanthropy programs, social events, the Oy Vey Café, computer labs, scholarships, and much more. Surely, other similar campus groups such as the Newman Center and the Baptist Student Union offer comparable programs. Furthermore, the Hillel Building is on private land,and privately funded by members of the Jewish community. Since Hillel does not receive any money from the state-supported University, it does not violate the Constitution's call for a "separation of church and state."

It is horrible o contemplate the loss to the academic community if the University were to tear down buildings ruthlessly, in order to create a sort of automotive utopia. While universities are primarily academic institutions, college is the only segment of one's life where one can really enjoy "frivolity and recreation." It is important for the university to be extracurricular-activity-friendly rather than automobile-friendly. Besides, Mr. Mason, you could always walk, ride a bik, or grab a bus to campus.

Ryan Chirnomas
Molecular and cellular biology sophomore


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