Voces Clamantium: Shafer and Hackett

by The Dartmouth | 11/10/14 5:38pm

To the editor:

Immature, not Intellectual

My younger brother is a Dartmouth graduate, so I believe I have some skin in this game and wish to comment.

I am 53 years old with a child of my own in college. I pay the taxes which underwrite the federal aid which inarguably props up the salaries at schools like Dartmouth.

I cannot believe how low we have gone that this kind of thing — asking Gov. Rick Perry. R-Texas, for anal sex to score a political point — happens at what was once considered such an august institution of collegiate education. That these students think it is intellectually admirable to disrespect a state executive in such manner is beyond my comprehension. I hope you pass on to them for me this admonition, that such behavior only underscores how intellectually dishonest and immature they really are — and poorly prepared for the real world. They may get giggles at cocktail parties or progressive forums with this kind of behavior. But for the most part, the real world of business has zero patience for it. Gov. Perry was chosen overwhelmingly by an electorate that believes he reflects their world view. The same goes for most of the other governors from middle America, which I’ve seen derided by myopic liberals on either coast.

The Ivy League is quickly loosing its glitz for most Americans because of this kind of thing. Although my daughter attends a university, I offer up the opinion now to my son and frankly to anyone engaged in this debate, that an institution of higher education such as at Dartmouth is good money thrown after bad. I will encourage my son to attend community college, get his bearings, and then move on to a university to finish up. Or join the military where he’ll first learn the value of respect and teamwork before getting a degree.

Thomas Shafer

Seattle

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The Greek Proposal for Reform

Although many of their proposals have merit, Greek leaders at Dartmouth have failed to address the most disturbing and anachronistic characteristics of their social structure: discrimination and exclusivity. Under the proposed “new social contract,” Greek houses will still be permitted to arbitrarily exclude their peers from membership. The majority of these organizations would also remain segregated by gender even though the College adopted co-education in 1972.

One of the charges of the “Moving Dartmouth Forward” committee is to find ways to make the campus more “inclusive.” An important step in this direction would be to make all Greek organizations coed and non-exclusive, as many of our peer schools have done. How can the College legitimately claim to welcome all members of the community while at the same time support a social system that is exclusive and discriminates by gender?

The Dartmouth reported that the Panhellenic Council, leadership of the sororities at Dartmouth, commented that a draft of recent proposal from the Greeks noted the benefits of all-female organizations, which it said provides “safe spaces for women.” Inherent in this ironic statement is an alarming problem that the “silent majority” of Greek supporters have simply chosen to ignore.

Peter Hackett ’75

Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities