The entire front page of Dartmouth College’s student newspaper Friday is an editorial devoted to the future of the campus’ Greek system, a heated and controversial topic.
The Dartmouth’s message is clear — “Abolish the Greek System,” the headline reads — and is likely unpopular at a school where more than half of all students are members of a fraternity or sorority. While the newspaper acknowledges that “Greek life is not the root of all the College’s problems or of broader societal ills … as a system, it amplifies students’ worst behaviour.”
As The Dartmouth argues, “The Greek system undeniably enables and institutionalizes harmful behaviours … It facilitates binge drinking and sexual assault. It perpetuates unequal, gendered power dynamics and institutionalizes arbitrary exclusivity. It divides students — the system as a whole separates freshmen from upperclassmen, men from women. Membership draws lines among friends.”
While The Dartmouth’s editorial acknowledges that many students have had positive experiences as Greek members, “We have to look past our short years here and think about the College’s future, which means eliminating an antiquated system.”
The Dartmouth’s editor in chief Lindsay Ellis — who is a member of a the campus’ Greek community — defended the decision to print a page one editorial during Dartmouth’s Homecoming weekend in a Letter From The Editor.
“Printing The Dartmouth’s editorial on the front page over Homecoming weekend — when hundreds of alumni flood back to campus — aims to show our readership how much is at stake. We urge community members to give more weight to what we feel is the right path forward. Think through what could be accomplished at Dartmouth if we abolish the Greek system. Now let’s talk about it,” Ellis writes.
Ellis also notes that the college’s administration is currently in the process of determining a new social life plan for the school.
Dartmouth’s Greek system has often come under attack over the past few years, as the editorial details, most recently with the publication of former Dartmouth Sigma Alpha Epsilon member Andrew Lohse’s memoir of his time in the fraternity. In the editorial, The Dartmouth lists off many of the offensive behaviours exhibited that the college’s Greeks:
In the 1980s, Alpha Delta fraternity pledges performed oral sex on an ejaculating dildo. Students watched and listened to this ritual, as well as Alpha Chi Alpha fraternity’s “Hell Night” vomiting sessions, in a 1994 viewing led by faculty. In 1998, Chi Gamma Epsilon fraternity and Alpha Xi Delta sorority hosted a “ghetto” party. In 2000, a member of AD flung an epithet at a gay student from the house’s porch. In 2001, the Zeta Psi fraternity sex papers were released, which encouraged the rape of a female student. In the 1990s, then-Beta Theta Pi fraternity installed video cameras in its house so that members could watch other members having sex — “Beta-vision.” In 2012, Andrew Lohse ’12 of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity revealed that he had to swim in a pool of vomit and semen to become a brother. Just last year, AD and Delta Delta Delta sorority co-hosted a “Blood and Crips”-themed party.
Click here for the full Dartmouth editorial or check out the full paper below:
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