Incoming class undecided on initiatives

by Andrew Allport | 5/4/99 5:00am

When she was accepted early as a member of the Class of 2003 at Dartmouth, Sara Yablon knew what she was expecting out of the College.

She knew the good - the small school and community atmosphere was a pleasant contrast from the hubbub of New York City life, and she was impressed by the beauty of Dartmouth's campus.

She also knew the bad - the stereotypes surrounding the drinking culture, the "party school" image her peers had formulated of the College.

Yablon, a senior at Stuyvesant High School in New York City, was undeterred, and knew what she could expect.

But now everything has changed.

Yablon and other incoming freshmen followed the recent proposed changes in the College's social system as best they could through the media and through Dartmouth friends and family.

However, for the most part, they are still in the dark as to what impact the new social changes will have on their College experience. From what they do know, some future members of the Class of 2003 are angry, some excited, and most, like Yablon, "just don't understand."

"It may be a big change," said Joyce Fu, who visited before coming, "but not as much as people think."

Fu, whose senior brother Gordon is a member of Sigma Nu, said she was impressed by the way that the Greek system was "a part of the community."

Although she said she enjoyed going to sororities and fraternities, she said the main reason she applied was the unity of the student body.

"Everybody does stuff together," Fu said, commenting on the College's strong relationship with the town of Hanover as well.

Yablon also said that Dartmouth's strong community attracted her, and said she hopes it won't be affected by the Board of Trustees' Five Principles.

But Yablon said she thought the rallies surrounding the principles were "for the student body, not just the frats."

Sarah Carpenter visited the College last summer, when she had the opportunity to find out for herself what the Greek system was like.

She asked a member of a sorority, who told her the aura of exclusion wasn't exactly accurate - "I thought it was in and out," Carpenter said, but said it was more inclusive than she had thought.

Although she felt, like many students, that the decision was "too much of a bombshell," she also said that there are problems that need to be corrected.

Paul Seligmon, who stayed with Student Assembly President-elect Dean Krishna '01, said he agreed with the Trustees' Five Principles.

He, like most of the class of 2003 interviewed, said he would like to know more about the situation to form a concrete opinion, but from what he gathered during his stay, he thought the decision would combat some of the "Animal House" image attached to the College.

"The way they make it sound, sounds like it'll be better," Seligmon said.

"People will find other ways to have fun," Fu said, and Yablon expressed a similar thought: "I'll have a good time either way."