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Greeks: The Status Quo Won’t Work
So what is President Hanlon going to do about the fraternities? Keeping things as they are, with an extra frosting of Charlotte Johnson rules and regs, is a non-starter. The College is clearly suffering among prospective students, and with Andrew Lohse’s tell-all memoir on the horizon, things are not going to get better soon.
Various administrations have tried different policies since at least the 1970’s — think back to the 1977 Epperson Resolution, the Wright Report of 1987, and the SLI in 2000 — clearly to no avail. What to do about a broken system that is a signature feature of the College? Dartmouth has the highest Greek participation of any national school:
Note: Given that College freshmen cannot pledge, the percentage of eligible males in Dartmouth frats is much higher than 48%; it’s now close to 70%.
Among the other Ivies, only Penn at #60 with 30% of male students in frats, and Cornell at # 72 with a 27% membership, make the Top 100 list.
Banning frats, or mandating that they all become co-ed, as Trinity College recently did, are ideas that won’t fly in Hanover. Jim Wright came to the Presidency with a head of steam in that direction; his Student Life Initiative was rejected like a foreign body. It did little to change campus life, save for saddling the College with hundreds of superfluous bureaucrats. So where to go?
I’ve put up a few ideas in the past, but to my mind, the essential step is counter-intuitive: expand the Greek system — rather than punish its members again and again. We need more sororities that can serve alcohol. The frats won’t change until they must, and competition will get them where they need to go faster than any number of ill-justified edicts from Dean Johnson.
Of course, the sororities aren’t perfect, as anyone who has spent time around Kutta Kutta Gamma and other houses can tell you. But over many generations Dartmouth students have spoken via their behavior about their overall preferences, and working with our undergrads, rather than against them, is the only manner in which the College can hope to make progress.
Addendum: Despite all the controversy around Dartmouth’s Greek system in recent years, membership just keeps growing: 31% in the last decade according to the Dartmouth Fact Book.
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…