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For a Hazing Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Word has reached Dartblog that the administration is working hand in fist with the Town of Hanover Police to prosecute fraternity members for past hazing practices. Needless to say, the brothers have clammed up tight; nobody wants to see a bro charged by the police.
Let’s take a larger view. Perhaps we can be inspired by Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which had as its goal the complete airing of crimes committed under apartheid — with amnesty for most cooperating witnesses, especially in the case of fully disclosed crimes committed under orders.
Dartmouth could follow this model. The College, in cooperation with the Hanover Police and the Grafton County prosecutor, could offer a similar amnesty so that people involved in hazing may come forward with the truth. Hold open/closed hearings. When the full extent of the practices is revealed, the community can work effectively to eradicate hazing from fraternities, teams and other organizations.
For the College and the Town of Hanover to now punish SAE and its brothers, when the members of numerous other organizations remain unsanctioned for acts equivalent or worse, is a travesty of justice and a failure of leadership. It is clear that there is a hazing culture at Dartmouth today. We should not punish just a few students, when hundreds of undergraduates have been involved in these dangerous and unhealthy activities. At this point, nobody should be punished. We should look to the future.
How to deal with hazing? First off, people who have been hazed in the past will remain hazed no matter what we do today. With a full knowledge of past hazing gleaned from a Hazing Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the College can develop policies both educational and punitive to ensure that hazing does not occur again. This space offered a few ideas the other day.
Addendum: The Navy has a zero-tolerance policy for hazing. Eight sailors received general discharges this week after a hazing incident on the USS Bonhomme Richard:
The Jan. 17 incident also occurred just two weeks before Democratic Rep. Judy Chu called for stronger measures to eliminate hazing.
“The highest military officials must make eliminating hazing a top priority. They must stop pretending there is no problem. None of this will change until the secretary of defense commits to eradicate the culture of hazing that is so ingrained within our troops,” Chu, D-Calif., said Thursday.
All eight soldiers have the right to appeal their general discharges, but none has done so at this time. Since they did not receive dishonorable discharges, they will not lose their GI benefits and will still be able to say they served in the Navy.
Addendum: An investigation by The Orlando Sentinel provides a look at the circumstances surrounding the hazing death of a member of the marching band at Florida A&M. The article details the significant programs in place to ban hazing, and the flagrant determination of band members to ignore all the warnings and rules.
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
August 23, 2009
Fare Thee Well, Tom Crady
And now Dean Tom Crady has precipitously announced his departure from the College after only 20 months on the job. How to read this? By way of background, prior to coming to Dartmouth, Crady had…
May 31, 2009
Kangaroo Court, Indeed
In an interview with The Dartmouth, alumni-elected trustee T.J. Rodgers ‘70 explained his reasons for declining to participate in future evaluations of trustees up for “re-election,” namely the “kangaroo court” nature of such discussion in…