Years marked by crisis, controversy and change

by Scott Anthony | 6/12/94 5:00am

In general, the only constant to college life is change, and Dartmouth is no exception to that rule. The Class of 1994 witnessed first-hand many events that would not only fundamentally change themselves but the College as well.

The period from September 1990 until today was full of ups and downs, praises and protests and most of all, change.

Freshman year

The Class of 1994's first year was filled with controversies and protests. Scarcely two weeks after matriculation, Dartmouth was shaken by the appearance of a quote from Adolph Hitler's Mein Kampf in the masthead of the conservative weekly, The Dartmouth Review.

In response, more than 2,500 students rallied on the Green to support "Dartmouth Against Hate." The incident thrust the College into the national spotlight, creating an image of Dartmouth as a racially intolerant schoo, an image it is still is trying to shed.

Two months later, although informal polls showed most students supported U.S. intervention in the Persian Gulf, many College students again rallied to protest U.S. military involvement.

And before the year was over, the birth of a new alcohol policy adopted by Dean of Students Edward Shanahan, elicited almost universal protest by students. The policy made common sources, such as kegs, illegal. More than 800 students gathered in Webster Hall to voice their discontent with the policy.

Shanahan resigned in the beginning of 1991 and was replaced by Lee Pelton.

Along with the changing alcohol policy came changing times in the Greek system. To protest a new policy that pushed rush back to sophomore winter, several houses broke free from the Greek system to become independent houses.

Also that year, nine pledges and one brother in Beta Theta Pi fraternity abducted and tormented a Chi Gamma Epsilon fraternity brother. The students received six terms of probation and also earned the house three terms of College derecognition.

The College lost a dear friend in Former College President John Sloan Dickey '29, who died in February. He presided over the College for 25 years.

Year two: more protests

After a turbulent freshman year, the Class of 1994 was more low-key in the 1991-92 academic year. Of course, there still were the protests.

In the wake of the Rodney King verdict, students staged -- in what was becoming a tradition -- a rally on the Green. More than 500 students flocked to the Green on May 6 to protest the verdict.

Also that spring, five sexual assaults were reported in a month long period. Two rallies in front of Parkhurst, each of which drew more than 200 students, protesting the College's handling of the cases led to Pelton's pledge to reform the procedures for the College's judicial body, the Committee on Standards.

The College also ended the more than 100-year old tradition of smashing clay pipes on the Lone Pine stump during Senior week in 1992 because it was deemed degrading to Native Americans.

The College kicked off a six-year, $425 million capital campaign to fund northward expansion of the College in 1992. As of May, 1994 the campaign has raised $332.4 million -- or 78.2 percent of its goal in 64 percent of the time.

On to the summer

It was a relatively quiet summer for the Class of 1994, except for one loud decree from Pelton.

Three more houses broke free from the Greek system and in August, Pelton issued a ban on students living in independent houses, giving Greek houses the choice of returning to the system and playing by the College's rules, or taking huge losses in revenue.

Provost John Strohbehn also announced his intention to resign as provost to return to teaching.

A quieter junior year

There was the usual spate of protests in 1992-93 -- students collecting The Review to protest racism and others protesting the College's investment in Hydro-Quebec, a Canadian hydroelectric project that critics claimed supported the cultural genocide of Native Americans near the project. The College eventually divested its holdings.

It was a year of change for social options. Student Assembly President Andrew Beebe '93 started the year by urging the administration to make the entire Greek system coeducational.

His plea remains unheeded, but Panarchy, which was a coed Greek house, broke free from the system to become an "undergraduate society" -- a coed social organization akin to a Greek house with no rush or pledge period.

The College also issued a new alcohol policy in January allowing the return of kegs and giving the Greek system the power to enforce its own codes.

Collis Center closed in Dec., 1992 for construction designed to provide meeting space and a late-night alternative to the fraternity basement.

In the Fall of 1992, John Berry '44 donated $25 million -- the largest gift in College history -- to expand Baker Library.

Former College President John Kemeny died at the age of 66. Kemeny, who was president for 11 years, oversaw the implementation of co-education and the D-plan in 1972.

And finally...

This year, like the three before it, has had its ups and downs. The protests were fewer and some of the downs much harder.

Fall term started quietly enough. There was a new Dean of Freshmen Peter Goldsmith, and the only big problem was the usual housing shortage.

The quiet spell ended sadly on Oct. 26, when senior Dan Boyer took his own life in a gun shop in Lebanon.

The Board of Trustees voted in November to reinvest in South African companies, and the campus hardly even blinked. The Trustees' decision to divest those holdings in 1989 had been controversial.

As Hanover cooled down in the winter, news at the College heated up.

Collis opened at the beginning of the term to widespread approval, and another option to the Greek system formed Winter term -- Amarna.

The College's second undergraduate society drew 31 members at its first retreat and got a house at the end of the term. College administrators heavily backed Amarna and made it known that they consider these houses to be the wave of the future.

While social alternatives were springing up, the Greek system felt the first effects of a new New Hampshire anti-hazing law.

Two members of Beta Theta Pi fraternity -- seniors Nate Cook and David Robb -- were arrested in February for allegedly violating the state law.

Although criminal charges against Robb were dropped and charges against Cook lessened from a misdemeanor to a violation, the College suspended Cook for four terms and Robb for two. The College also sentenced the house itself to a year of suspended recognition because of its involvement.

Freedman announced in early February that he would take a six-month sabbatical beginning next January. Dean of the Faculty James Wright will serve as President in his absence.

The frantic pace did not slow down at the beginning of Spring term. About two weeks into the term, tests on a testicular tumor revealed Freedman had lymphatic cancer. He is in the midst of six months of chemotherapy and hopes to fully recover from the cancer. And yes, there was a protest.

About 100 students gathered in front of Parkhurst in April to denounce the Board of Trustees decision to continue the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the College. Protesters claimed ROTC violates the College's equal opportunity policy.

The year ended with recommendations from Pelton's First-Year Experience" committee that the College drastically overhaul the College's residential life system.