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Dartmouth report recommends drastic changes to greek system

From U-Wire
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
January 12, 2000
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HANOVER, N.H. - The long awaited steering committee report, released Monday morning, recommends drastic changes to Dartmouth College's greek system to bring it in line with the Board of Trustees' vision for student life.

While a single-sex greek system would remain intact - at least for now - the steering committee's recommendations make good on Dartmouth President James Wright's promise to end the greek system "as we know it."

In addition to the report's demand for major changes in the Coed Fraternity Sorority Council system, it also recommends the implementation of a common house residential system, an experimental freshman-only housing option and much more stringent campus-wide alcohol regulations.

The steering committee recommends CFS houses be held to stricter facility, organizational and membership requirements - admitting that not all houses will be able to fulfill the requirements, and therefore will be derecognized by the college.

The report states, "This reduction is desirable in order to eliminate the historical dominance by the CFS organizations of Dartmouth social life."

"The selective social organizations of the future will constitute a very different, higher quality but secondary component of the overall Dartmouth social system," the report says.

More immediate recommendations include the renovation of house basements into general purpose or study space, such as kitchens or computer clusters. All refrigerator units and tap systems would have to be removed prior to September 2000.

Housing in a CFS building would not be allowed during the summer term and would be reserved only for seniors and four junior officers over the course of the rest of the year.

The report also states the majority of the committee determined that even with substantial changes, the CFS organizations "should probably not be residential over the long run."

It says single-sex organizations should form formal affiliations with coed houses or single-sex houses of the opposite gender.

Should houses fail to meet college requirements, independently owned houses would have the option to negotiate with the college for Dartmouth's purchase of the house. It would then be renovated for use as a senior, coed housing option.

Rush would be moved to the winter term of sophomore year, under the committee's recommendations. There would no longer be a pledge period and stricter definitions of and penalties for hazing are called for.

The CFSC judiciary system would be eliminated, and infractions - including those that violate the Principle of Community - would be judged by a college judiciary system, and be grounds for derecognition.

Due to the committee's concern for the widespread acceptance of "booting and rallying" and games such as "beer pong," the committee recommends much stricter alcohol policies than what are currently in place.

Registered parties will have to be served by non-student bartenders, and are restricted to the first floor of fraternity houses.

Detailed house budgets recording purchase of alcohol will be given to the college to end the "undesirable and hypocritical" practice of off-the-books purchases.

The committee suggests academic measures - such as Thursday morning exams and more demanding course requirements - be implemented by Dartmouth's faculty to cut down on recreational drinking.

The system is subject to complete review in 2005 - as are all the implemented changes that result from the Initiative - and Dean of the College James Larimore has the authority to recommend the removal of the entire greek system at any point over the next five years, should he view the system as failing to meet new requirements.

Under the recommendations, included in a house's membership must be sexual and alcohol abuse peer advisors, a Tucker foundation liaison and a student devoted to diversity and leadership training. Also living in a CFS house would be a non-member Undergraduate Advisor.

Social life worries - especially over the greek system - keep highly qualified admitted candidates from selecting Dartmouth, the report states, and negative perceptions about the college discourage minority applicants.

The greek system's dominance "creates a psychic divide and a pervasive sense of two cultures at Dartmouth: the affiliated and unaffiliated," the report states.

The steering committee worries both about polarizing incidents such as the fall 1998 "Ghetto Party," and the CFS system's dominance on the campus which it believes stifles more creative social options that better fit with Dartmouth's academic values.

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