On October 17, Dartmouth’s school newspaper, The Dartmouth, published a front-page article entitled “Abolish The Greek System.” That title doesn’t need too much of an explanation to know what it was about; the editorial board of the newspaper had a clear message to get out to the faculty, fellow students and alumni flooding back to campus for the Homecoming Weekend. They are calling for an end to the “deeply flawed” Greek system once and for all, claiming to be speaking for the betterment of the College and all future students.
This is an attempt to leave behind the “Ivy-League-gone-wild” reputation; for many years Dartmouth has been thought to have the most exclusive Ivy League Greek system.
Dartmouth President Phil Hanlon has addressed the problem of these social issues in his effort to end problematic behavior on campus, but this has only resulted in more rules and regulations for the fraternities and sororities. Fraternities have said that they would do away with pledging, become more inclusive and even become coed if they were allowed to stay on campus, but the newspaper staff still would not be satisfied.
Even with 50% of the student body involved in Greek life, including the editor-in-chief of The Dartmouth, the article was adamant that student life would be more enjoyable for everyone if Greek life were abolished.
The article stated, “We want Dartmouth students to have full access to the predominant social scene the moment they step on campus, and we want social life to be accessible, without financial barriers, over a student’s four years at the College.”
The Dartmouth blames the Greek system for encouraging binge drinking, sexual assault and other very problematic behaviors. Since 1994, many troubling stories about fraternities have been made public, plaguing them with accusations of hazing, sexual assault and racist actions.
This is not the fist time a call for abolishment of the system has happened, and may not be the last. Getting rid of the system is not an easy task, as that heavy 50% involved is still very in favor of it.
One comment on the article in The Dartmouth read, “Who do you speak for? Yourselves, the editorial staff, comprised of less than half a percent of the student body? Or do you assume that the entire campus, including the half involved in Greek life, agree with you?”
This quote portrays why getting rid of Greek life all together is a difficult task for the administrators. More than 50% of the student body live in houses dedicated to Greek life and will fight hard to keep it.
This is no easy decision for the Dartmouth community, but the editorial board has certainly taken their stance with this front-page article and has facilitated the discussion for the administrators.