Punish fraternity scofflaws

Not many people worry about the expanding power of government as much as I do. As I’ve written, we Americans need to talk about that, especially in regard to public health measures, once the COVID-19 epidemic has passed.

In the meantime, why can’t we give the Monongalia County Health Department the power to sentence people to hard labor in the state penitentiary?

Going a bit overboard about protecting people from the coronavirus, you say? Read on.

West Virginia University has suspended 29 members of a fraternity, Theta Chi, which was not recognized by WVU in the first place. That traces back to the university’s battle against fraternities that permit, even encourage, dangerous behavior such as abuse of alcohol.

But Theta Chi has gone way beyond that. On Friday, its members held a party at their house. Don’t ask about face masks and social distancing. That’s not the worst of it.

It seems one fraternity member at the party had tested positive for COVID-19 and been told to self-isolate himself to avoid transmitting the virus. That didn’t stop him from having a good time Friday night.

In fact, all Theta Chi members had been told to isolate or quarantine themselves, because they had been in contact with the fellow who tested positive.

Still think I’m being too harsh about prison sentences?

Of Theta Chi, WVU Dean of Students Corey Farris had this to say: “Their flagrant disregard for the health and safety of their classmates, our campus and the entire Morgantown community will not be tolerated.”

We can hope, then, that once WVU has all its facts in a row regarding the party, all 29 frat rats will be expelled.

No doubt some of the offenders are planning already to enroll at other institutions of higher learning. WVU ought to make certain their offenses are made known to the admissions offices of every college and university in the United States.

Perhaps the Theta Chi punks are hoping the powers-that-be will look at Friday night as, well, boys being boys. That won’t do. What they did placed potentially hundreds of people at risk of contracting COVID-19 — and quite literally put lives in jeopardy.

So you see why I think three to six months in prison uniforms might be just the thing for the Theta Chi partiers.

Better yet might be sending them home to explain to mom, dad — and grandma and grandpa — why they behaved like spoiled brats Friday night. In the interest of public health, that might have to be done by phone.

So grandma and granddad can’t get their hands on the selfish louts.


Mike Myer can be reached at mmyer@theintelligencer.net.


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