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What has the College got against Beta? A sleazy site like Gawker publishes what it presents as the fraternity’s internal documents, and based solely on written materials, the Dean of the College Office shuts the frat down, at least for the time being. Sure there were ostensibly incriminating things in the e-mails and documents, however, one would expect at the very least some kind of investigation. But no. What we have instead is a rush to judgment. To put things another way: what happened to such procedural niceties as a due process chance to explain/defend yourself, and that old saw innocent until proven guilty (a standard that holds true in all cases except tax litigation; did you know that in court the IRS is deemed to be right until proven wrong)?
Under the current sanctions, not only is the house forbidden to assemble more than ten brothers at one time (except residents in the house), but the Beta team that was supposed to participate in a Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD) fundraising marathon charity race for kids with cancer has beed barred by the wise Dean Johnson from competing.
Of course, in the abstract, one can make some sense of this, but there is also precedent to consider. When Yesuto Shaw bravely blew the whistle in an October article in The D on Alpha Phi Alpha for physically and emotionally violent acts of hazing, the College took its sweet time — over three months — to gather all the facts before giving the African-American fraternity a slap on the wrist. That’s not the case now.
So why the harsh penalties against Beta before even the first Burkian Star Chamber hearing has been held? A couple of hypotheses:
● The College really has it out for Beta. During the period of time when the house was closed (1997-2008), Dartmouth repeatedly tried to buy Beta’s physical plant, hoping to turn it into a sorority. The current hyper-aggressive enforcement is possibly just real estate business by other means.
● Phil is sending the entire Greek system a message: there will be zero tolerance if you step out of line. Maximum punishment even for minimal infractions.
Who knows what is going on? (Phil and Charlotte know!) It seems that Dartmouth’s Greeks are in uncharted territory right now.
Addendum: A witty alumnus reader writes in:
Not only are students guilty before proven innocent in COS proceedings, but the verdict and sentence are determined before the trial begins!
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