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Article 9 Defeated: Yes: 1471; No: 1993

In an historic result that can only be considered a plebiscite on the fraternity system, Article 9 went down to defeat yesterday by a significant margin: 1471 (42.5%) students and townspeople voted in favor of the article and 1993 (57.5%) voted against it. The tally was only finalized at 2:45am:

Article 9 results header.jpg

Article 9 Voting Results Comp.jpg

The total turnout of 3,464 was unprecedented (usual Town Meeting turnout is in the 1,000 voter range), and a fair analysis of the voting can only lead to the conclusion that a significant portion of student voters — perhaps a third or even more? — voted against the article. And the voters knew what they were doing: all of the other strongly contested articles were approved with between 2199-2625 “yes” votes; Article 9 was the only one where “no” votes predominated.

The vote was a surprise to almost everyone. Several Selectboard members, having witnessed waves of students disembarking from buses that brought them from Webster Avenue, expressed to me that they felt sure that the article would pass with a huge majority. Only one bystander of my acquaintance — a Harvard alumnus, no less — offered the opinion that AD and SAE were considered to be outliers in the fraternity system, and that they were looked down upon for their antics by many students.

Options open to AD and SAE now appear highly restricted. Use of their houses has been limited by town ordinance — supported also by court interpretation in the case of AD — to residence by no more than three unrelated people. Through rumors suggest that the two derecognized houses have continued to pledge new members, without a physical plant of their own, the attractiveness of the fraternities is diminished.

The question is now open as to whether the Town of Hanover will begin enforcing its residency ordinance against the various private properties around the town that have been taken over by students — of which there are a goodly number that hold loud parties.

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