The Dartmouth Observer

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Tuesday, September 17, 2002
From Janos Marton:

Correct me if I'm mistaken, but the Dartmouth Free Press used to publish well-written, well-researched articles that presented cogentarguments, not self-righteous diatribes. In her article "Left Out! Liberals and the Greek System", Katie Greenwood uses tired, flimsy attacks to condemn the 40% of males and 25% of females at Dartmouth who are in the Greek System, as well as the females who frequent Greek houses. Her rambling article does actually start until the FIFTH paragraph of her article, in which she point to the historic male whiteness of the fraternities, as reflected by the location/ existence of the physical plants themselves. Her statement that the twelve fraternities are clustered in the main part of campus while the six sororities are on the periphery is simply innaccurate. In addition to the co-ed Tabard, there are currently six recognized fraternities on Webster Avenue, plus three sororities. A fourth sorority, Tri Delt, is adjacent to Webster Avenue. A fifth, Sigma Delt, is about as on the periphery as Theta Delt and Psi U, and has a very vibrant social life. The Latino fraternity consisted of one graduating member as of this past year, which seems like a valid reason to dispossess it of a permanent residence.

Katie goes on astutely note that freshmen females get into frat parties and freshmen males do not. This was once true, back when fall freshmen were not permitted at parties, and girls could sneak in more easily than boys. But if she had gone to frat parties this year, Katie would be aware of the new policy that allows all freshmen to get into parties, regardless of gender.

In any case, this point was supposed to illustrate why women and people of color are the ones calling for the end of the Greek System. It is worth noting that women and men of color account for over 60% of this campus. If this many people were really calling for the end of the Greek system, instead of a few dozen, maybe the cause would have some momentum. Almost all of the members of Panarchy, cited first as an "existing alternative", either actively or ambivilently support the existence of the Greek system. Incidentally, I wonder what Katie's article title is supposed to mean. There seems little connection between liberal politics and fraternities in her article or Dartmouth. I have personally seen over three quarters of the Campus Greens at fraternity parties, and they have as good a time as anyone. The DFP's former Executive Editor is now an officer at AXA. In the last year there have been four people, myself included, to live in Panarchy while part of the Greek system.

Oh yes, and then Katie blames the absence of sophomores and juniors from student organizations on account of their "pong chair" status. The real reason, as Katie well knows (where were you when the Greens were trying to start up last fall, Katie?) is that sophomores and juniors are off for at least one, often two or three terms during sophomore and junior year because of the D-Plan. Where was DFP editor Laura Dellatorre when the Free Press needed writers this winter? Serving as pong chair, or perhaps doing something productive with her off-term? And just for the record, almost all fraternity officers don't take over till the spring of their junior year.

Katie attacks "discussions over alcohol policy", as if people were forced to go to them, even though they probably all should since alcohol problems are rampant at every college in the country, with or without fraternities. She attacks the money that fraternity brothers put into their own houses to repair them, as if she is being taxed for it. She attacks the people in ORL who the College pay to improve the quality of life in the Greek system. Granted, this is money spent, but if these 'rotting houses' with very high property values were turned into coed living spaces, as the more rational opponents of the Greek system suggest (I'm scanning the article now for Katie's plan for what to do with these buildings), then I'm sure the College would still keep these people at ORL. After all, fraternities or not, they are residencies for lots of people, and thus fall under the guise of ORL.

Wow, the article's winding down. Oh yeah, 'girls who are icky.' I know a lot of sorority girls, and though the rush process needs serious revision (i think most people support that), the people who don't get in anywhere are a tiny minority. I wouldn't mind if they could all get in, but to blame the oppression of the fraternities on the fact that the College will not recognize any new sororities to accomodate the high rush class is misguided.

Katie ends her article by listing some alternatives to the Greek system, such as the Foley House, where a written application is required to live there. Don't get me wrong, I support almost of the alternatives Katie has listed. And yes, the Greek System could stand to improve in some areas, but if the discussion is to move forward, and not in circles for years on end, it is neccesary to proceed using real facts, and not emotionally forced rants, as the basis for the debate.