This article is not serious. Or, maybe it is. I don’t know yet at the time of writing. Take from it what you will.
‘Het Parool’, est. 1941, has long been a symbol of resistance. It started, as the year of establishment might give away, as a resistance newspaper, bringing Dutch news in an otherwise German-controlled nation. Ever since we, as a nation, got liberated from the Nazi-plague, ‘Het Parool’ has found a way to survive finding readership in people who worshipped them for their work during the occupation. With the audience dwindling as a result of the internet, ‘Het Parool’ has turned to clickbaiting. The worst kind of journalism. Using ‘edgy’ headlines to get draw in new readers. In order to get these sort of articles, they have turned to publicizing opinionated articles such as this.
With the title “Not every student is part of the ‘corps’ (eds: fraternity)”, they aim to draw in the thousands upon thousands of students just entering university, or seemingly the people who feel disgruntled for not joinging such a fraternity.
The author, Alex Williams, seems pretty salty. Apparently (and I’m paraphrasing here) he was asked with a somewhat posh accent if he was a member of a fraternity. When he reportedly said ‘no’, he was seemingly met with amazement. He further acknowledges his saltiness when he states he doesn’t want to be put in the same corner as an ‘over-glorified scoutingclub’.
Either Alex is living in a paranoid fantasy-world where everyone questions his life choices, or he’s just writing filth for the hell of it out of his own frustration. A point for bother the former and the latter can be made, as he continues to describe how fraternities don’t even make up a quarter of the amount of students in the country. Alex, I’m sorry, but how can people be surprised that you’re not part of a fraternity, when it is quite rare that a random student is?
Fraternities, or better described as ‘student associations’ (since the Dutch ‘corps’ is hardly comparable to the American fraternity we all know from movies like ‘Animal House’ or series like ‘Blue Mountain State’), don’t even have 20% of the students that do become member of said association. Not even every student city even has a ‘corps’ (I’m looking at you, Tilburg, Eindhoven, or even Enschede). And within the cities that do, there’s heavy competition from other associations for new members. Leiden, for instance, has at least five large associations other than the ‘corps’ (Minerva): Augustinus, Quintus, SSR, and last but not least Catena.
Alex is writing about a problem that isn’t there. A perceived problem, like many Tumblr-SJW before him. The problem is: a renowned newspaper has taken note of his crazy ramblings and published his irate writing on their website.
Let me throw some facts at you. The city of Leiden has 28.000 students on a population of ca. 110.000. Of those 28K, about 1.7K is a member of Minerva. Another ~4K is member of either other association. That leaves around 22.000 students who are not a member of a student association. How is it possible that these 6K cause a situation as described by Alex Williams?
It isn’t. This is a fabricated story. A situation that never happened. But that doesn’t stop ‘Het Parool’ from posting it. Introductory weeks are in full swings. Studying is hot at the moment, and so are student associations. Their stance on SA’s leads them to post this filth. That is all I want to say on this topic.