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Article 9: What Happened?

A particularly perspicacious student and observer of the Dartmouth scene writes in with commentary about Tuesday’s vote:

From reading your stories, I think it seems like you’re a bit surprised there was substantial student opposition to Article 9 (which I voted for). I’m sure somehow has reached out already, but I thought I’d offer an interpretation of the different sorts of student opposition.

• People who are opposed to the Greek system generally naturally opposed the article. That’s 10-15 percent of the student body, maybe a bit more.

• There are many people who think that helping “bad apples” makes the entire Greek system appear more suspect. I heard a comparison from a few people to sexual assault: in essence, they said that backing up SAE and AD was like a Greek house supporting its members even while knowing they were sexually assaulting women. People say that you can’t claim that “not everyone is like that” when you support the ones who are.

• Many sororities opposed it. Sororities (and Alpha Chi and Heorot) don’t own their own houses, so they fear that the College, if this passed, might derecognize more houses and if that came about, their houses would be lost. Article 9 only offers protection to those houses that own their own property — and that group becomes even smaller when you consider some houses have more complicated relationships with loans and other items with the College. There was a sense for many that this would antagonize the administration and offer no relief to about half of houses.

• There are also many, many people who believe that an off-campus Greek house will become a hotbed of sexual assault and hazing due to lack of supervision.

• Lastly, some people seemed very upset about the amount of money and effort put into campaigning for this. They felt that fraternities should be more vocal on issues like BLM or social justice than on keeping their houses. This gained a ton of social media traction.

Addendum: This missive was penned by a member of a co-ed house to the house’s members. (First they came for the…)

…Or we could just not get derecognized. Seriously, derecognition is a last resort for the college, and there absolutely need to be consequences in place for fraternities that fuck up badly enough to end up there.

Oli, I totally get where you’re coming from in that a) the student housing situation in Hanover is utter garbage and b) a viable or reasonable option to legally protect Pan would be lovely. But as I understand it, this article was drafted by alumni who don’t live in Hanover, don’t pay town taxes, and just want to preserve their fantasy of a boys’ club that’s allowed to literally brand their pledges or whatever. It’s fundamentally a move to allow SAE and AD to continue to exist, and like the dude in the Valley News said, the thought of how other frats might act were there no penalty for derecognition really makes me nervous. Imo, non-college-owned houses still need to be subject to college rules.

There would also be a significant financial impact on the Town of Hanover, which in the absence of college supervision would have to assume responsibility of all the health & safety inspections and most if not all of the policing these residences require. Aside from the few asshole landlords in town, I really don’t see a need for Hanover taxpayers to bear the financial burden of college debauchery — and eventually the town would likely levy a fine on these houses (including ours) to offset the extra costs. Plus, as annoying as S&S might be, I doubt we’d want to be in a situation where we’re dealing with HPo by default.

I don’t think the Greek system is going anywhere, at least not for a long time, and as long as we don’t majorly fuck up and get derecognized, we’ll be fine. But there’s obviously lots to think about. Full disclosure that I’m still looking into all of this myself, and I’ve never been a hausmyn so I don’t know the extent to which the college facilitates stuff like safety inspections, but I’d really encourage everyone to do their own research using resources OTHER than article9.org (and, once you’ve done so, show up to vote regardless of which way you decide to vote! yay democracy) [Emphasis added]

Addendum: Taking their eye off the ball, some students dispersed their efforts by complaining about past behavior:

Anti-Article 9 poster.jpg

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