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The Dartmouth
April 19, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Whose Discussion?

I've been surprised of late to find many logical fallacies gracing many of my conversations and the pages of The Dartmouth. The main one I would like to address is that someone who is not part of the Greek system may not have an opinion of it, and if they try to express an opinion of it, they must have a wrong opinion.

Let's think about this for a second... a system which dominates social life and campus discussion may only be discussed by its members... and its membership is less than half of this campus. So most students on this campus may not have an opinion on the Greek system.

Well now wait a second, what about all of the students who wear "Unaffiliated But Support The Greek System" shirts? They are allowed " and encouraged " to express an opinion. So it's only students who aren't members and are against the Greek system who aren't allowed to have an opinion. And that must make sense because clearly those members of the Dartmouth community must not have any knowledge of the benefits of the system. They must only see the negatives from the outside, but can't see any positives from the outside.

But that doesn't make sense. The five "self-proclaimed Cavaliers Of The Future of Dartmouth" who have spoken out against the Greek system are close friends of mine. And I know that they have also experienced many of the benefits of the system. I'm not talking just superficial benefits, either... the parties, formals, social spaces, etc. They have taken part in the cultural programming and community debates that we so often cite as positive aspects of being included in the system.

I have also related to them the benefits that I have felt as a member of a Greek house. They know all about the friendships I have made that I would not have made if I had remained unaffiliated. They have spent time with me in my house. And so many of their other friends have also related experiences and feelings and "benefits." So unaffiliated students who speak out against the Greek system know some of the benefits first-hand and know of other benefits through their friends who are affiliated.

Is it, then, logically inconsistent and hypocritical to both enjoy benefits of the system and still call for the elimination of it? I think not. You can like parts of something and still decide as a whole it's not worth it. I love the noodles in chicken noodle soup, but hate the chicken. I can decide to pick around the chicken, but no matter how hard I try, the chicken is still in the soup. So ultimately, I don't eat chicken noodle soup.

The problem is, students at Dartmouth can not just decide to walk away from the Greek system if they decide they can't pick around the bad parts. Greek life permeates so many facets of our community at Dartmouth. Whether it is a party on Saturday night, a lecture in a house on Tuesday night, or an empty Thursday morning drill section, unaffiliated members of this campus are affected by the Greek system. And that gives them the right to have an opinion of it.

And some of them have simply decided that the advantages do not outweigh the disadvantages. Why shouldn't they be allowed to say that?