Pelton agrees Greeks will go co-ed

by Maggie Fritz | 11/1/93 6:00am

Dean of Students Lee Pelton said he agreed with College President James Freedman's prediction last week that the College's Greek system will be co-educational in 10 years.

Pelton was the featured guest on WDCR's On Target radio program last night. The four panelists also discussed the affiliation of Greek houses, hazing and Homecoming.

Student Assembly representative Grant Bosse '94, Spare Rib Editor in Chief Claire Unis '95 and Mark Harrison '94 also joined the panel.

Pelton also said changes to the Greek system would be a result of student initiative.

"It's in the air, at Harvard, Princeton and at other institutions," Pelton said.

"It has to do with ... gender-equity and the feeling of some undergraduates, male and female, that the current system of single-sex organizations do not contribute to what one might call gender-equity," he said.

Bosse said the College needs more sororities. "That's where the pressing need is," he said. "I think there will be more co-ed fraternities but it needs to come from the students."

Unis, a member of Sigma Delta sorority, said she disagreed.

"To add more sororities at this point would not be a positive thing because I don't feel that is going to move us towards gender equity," she said. "The interactions between men and women are definitely damaged."

Harrison said the Greek system is falling apart.

"Either you're for it, or against it, and unfortunately there really isn't anyone looking for any solutions," he said. "The system is getting harder and harder to justify."

"I think looking at Dartmouth campus alone you can see how the system isn't supporting itself," Harrison said. "A lot of people are going to be looking for change on this campus ... [the Greek system] is going to be going co-ed."

Pelton said the Greek system was not falling apart, just "evolving."

Panel members discussed a Student Assembly-sponsored referendum on whether students support single-sex Greek houses here.

Strayer said he objected to the referendum because the answers the poll provides are too narrow to accurately gauge student opinion.

"It's a question that you almost can't disagree with without saying that every fraternity should be extinguished," Strayer said. "I don't know how you can defend a question like that."

Panel members also discussed new state hazing laws that require the College to report all incidents of hazing to local police.

"We didn't and still don't have an institutional hazing policy," Pelton said. "We must take reasonable measures to prevent hazing -- educational measures."

Pelton said the difficulty in formulating a hazing policy comes in determining when and where hazing occurs.

"There are gray areas and the things that students do voluntarily," Pelton said.

But he also said that "consent is not to be used as a defense for hazing. It will always be a matter of context."

WDCR 1340-AM, one of the College's student-run radio stations, broadcasts On Target weekly at 6 p.m.