Battle lines drawn as Greek vote nears

by Scott Anthony | 11/8/93 6:00am

With the Student Assembly-sponsored referendum on single-sex Greek organizations only four days away, a group supporting the single-sex system struck the first blow in the yes-no battle yesterday, plastering the campus with posters.

A group opposed to single-sex houses met last Thursday to discuss a plan of action for persuading the student body to vote against the Greek-letter system.

The Assembly-sponsored referendum asks: "Do you support the continued existence of single-sex fraternities and sororities at Dartmouth? Yes or No?"

Referendum results will be given to the Board of Trustees at its Fall term meeting this weekend.

James Brennan '96, the head of the Vote YES! campaign, said his group is "an umbrella organization of various student and organizations dedicated to the preservation of the single-sex fraternity and sorority system at the College."

Assembly President Nicole Artzer '94 has asked Assembly representatives not to campaign publicly on either side. Because the SA is sponsoring the referendum, Artzer said, "I feel strongly that people should be as unbiased as possible."

Brennan said the Conservative Union at Dartmouth, Coed Fraternity Council Vice President Andrew Plumridge '94 and Assembly Representatives Alex Morgan '95 and Brooke Brightly '95 are all Vote YES! supporters.

Morgan said that although she decided not to join a sorority she wants students to have the option of joining single-sex organizations.

"Keep your social life in your own hands," one poster says. "Vote YES!"

Brennan, who is not a member of a Greek organization, said he is running the campaign to make students aware of the importance and implications of the referendum.

"It's important for people to have social options on campus," he said. "That's why I support a yes vote."

Brennan said if the College eradicates single-sex organizations, students will no longer have a choice of social options.

Another poster quotes College President James Freedman on a radio talk show two weeks ago saying "Within ten years ... I see a completely co-educational Greek system."

"Don't you think Dartmouth students should have a choice?" the poster says. "Vote YES!"

"I think this is an important vote," Brennan said. "I hope our campaign ... does a good job of spurring students to have their voices heard in a free and democratic vote."

Brennan would not comment on how Vote YES! is financing its campaign.

Chris Carson '95, who is part of a group of students who say students should vote no on the referendum, said his group is also trying to sway student opinion.

"A no vote is the only thing that is going to allow for reform to be made in the system," Carson said. "A no vote is a vote for change."

Carson said he thinks if the majority of the campus votes yes on the referendum, students and administrators will use the results as an excuse to not make changes to a Greek system which he thinks needs reform.

"If a significant number of students say no it will send a very strong message out that a lot of people are not entirely happy with the system, and we'll be a lot closer to making the reforms everyone wants," he said.

Carson and a group of students who are both independent and affiliated with Greek houses will talk to different groups on campus to convince them to vote no.

"We're trying to create dialogue on this campus," he said. Carson said his group will try to hang posters this week if they can raise enough money.

Carson said he disagreed with the wording of the question.

"If the Student Assembly really wants to look for student opinion they should ask questions rather than get a statistic," he said.

Student Assembly Vice President Steve Costalas '94 proposed the referendum, which was approved by the general Assembly.

At Artzer's request, Costalas, a member of Kappa Chi Kappa fraternity, has not taken a public stance on the issue.