An Underwhelming Decision

| 5/9/00 5:00am

To the Editor: The recent announcement by the Dartmouth Board of Trustees regarding the Student Life Initiative came as a terrible anticlimax. It followed a process that led me to believe that Dartmouth would publicly embrace its evolution towards a community that will celebrate diversity, allocate student resources more equitably and enhance every student's social life.

The Board, in a decision with regrettable historical precedent, chose once again to disregard the voice of the faculty and much worse, they opted to ignore the many voices of Dartmouth students representing ethnic minorities, different nationalities, different sexual orientations, different social interests and those students that (away from silencing peer pressure) expressed sincere doubts about the CFS system.

If the end of the Greek system as we know it means that we move rush one term, make it a tad harder to get large quantities of beer and rely on a judicial system that fails to punish students for breaking the rules (as long as enough of them do it), I am underwhelmed.

Yes, I am disillusioned, but the deafening silence with which students, faculty and administrators greeted the Board's announcement allows me to believe that I am not the only one.

Is there a silver lining in the Board's cop-out? I think there is. I was told when younger, "You have to succeed in life, despite the people in charge." We all, I suppose, suffer from the hope that a higher being (God, mom, dad, Board of Trustees, the government) will help us make the hard decisions and will accept blame for our failures. Not so (shucks!). While many in the Dartmouth community had hoped that the Board would provide leadership on the CFS issue, their silence does not mean that we need to accept the status quo. After all, true social change cannot be mandated.

The responsibility to reform the social life on this campus lies largely (always has, always will) in the hands of the students, faculty, staff and administrators.

Although I have little remaining confidence in the guidance of the Dartmouth Board of Trustees, I do have an immense respect for and faith in most of the Dartmouth student body, the faculty and, last but not least, in the office of the Dean of the College. And ultimately, I believe that we can, with or without official sanction, make this into an all-inclusive community.