Change with Help from All

by Tyler Newby | 2/17/94 6:00am

This subject has probably been beaten to death, but not all that needs to be said has been said. A group calling itself the Dartmouth Alliance for Social Change issued a letter Monday to administrators demanding the immediate abolition of the Coed Fraternity and Sorority System. Regardless of personal opinions regarding the system as a whole, anyone can see that this effort at reform is inherently flawed in its one-sidedness.

Criticism of the Greek system should and does come from all facets of the Dartmouth community. Professors, administrators, members and non-members of the system should be able to criticize it. Criticism is healthy, for it leads to discussion, which will hopefully lead to reform. However, any group that works to change the system must include members of the very system which it intends to reform.

About half of the students at Dartmouth participate in the Greek system, and they cannot be excluded. A committee or task force designed to reform the Greek system should include Greeks, Coeds, administrators, professors and non-Greeks. All of these people feel the effects of the system, some positively and some adversely. This method of change sounds chaotic, but such is representative government.

The DASC's assertion that it is a reform group is laughable. It is a group for social criticism, not reform. It is a one-sided interest group, incapable of seeing how certain actions would affect other sides of the Dartmouth community. Unfortunately, partisan attempts at reform such as this have plagued efforts at reforming a system with which many claim to be unhappy.

In the fall, the Student Assembly sponsored a referendum which asked for a yes or no answer to the question, "Do you support a single sex Greek system?" The problem, however, is more complex than a yes or no answer.

The DASC claims that the Greek system is immoral and therefore the opinions of its members and popular opinion are irrelevant. Yet how can a handful of people define morality for an entire campus? Remember that in some states, a handful of politicians claim that homosexuality is immoral. Morality is a dangerous subject, and basing society and laws on one group's definition is even more dangerous.

As a forum for social criticism, the DASC is reputable. However, it is a far cry from the reform group which it claims to be. Advocates of change need to realize that the Greek system is not an all or nothing issue. Any efforts by the CFSC, the DASC, the Committee on Diversity and Community or the administration to reform the system on their own are too narrow. The Greek system affects everyone.

The Greek system seems to be locked in a stage of criticism. Yes, it is time for reform, but a serious attempt at reform must be made. Letters such as the DASC's demanding its total abolishment without further discussion are a joke. If students are serious about bettering the system, they need to stop wasting time and organize a group suited to do it.

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