Greek leaders vote to replace CFSC

by Ithan Peltan | 5/30/01 5:00am

Greek presidents last night charged themselves to work out the details of a new overarching organization to replace the Coed Fraternity Sorority Council during the first weeks of Fall term.

In a meeting that lasted just 45 minutes, the CFSC was able to come to enough of an agreement to pass a resolution signifying support for the idea that the current Greek governing system, in the form of the CFSC, should be profoundly restructured in such a way that power is shifted to house presidents and the four Greek sub-councils.

Last night's resolution came in response to an Interfraternity Council proposal presented two weeks ago that advocated the replacement of the CFSC with the "Greek Presidents Council" (GPC).

Structured as a forum of CFS presidents and lacking an executive board, the proposed GPC would have significantly less decision making power and enforcement authority than the group it would be replacing.

Many of the decisions now made by the CFSC would be made by the IFC, the Coed Council, the all-sorority Panhellenic Council and the Pan Hellenic Council, the organization of the historically black Greek houses.

Sub-councils can not only best represent their constituency, Greek leaders said, but the redistribution of power will force individual houses to be accountable for their actions.

The IFC proposal was not brought up by a vote at the meeting, which was chaired by CFSC Vice President Lauren Lafaro '02 because of the absence of President Shihwan Chung '02 due to a personal engagement.

Both Lafaro and IFC President Eric Powers '02 said a large majority of Greek leaders support the general direction of the GPC proposal and more generally want to change the structure of the overarching Greek governing body, but that the proposal was lacking in the details needed for a vote on implementation.Support for the general philosophy behind the IFC report was in fact widespread among Greek leaders who spoke to The Dartmouth last week and over the weekend. It is in determination of how specific responsibilities will be apportioned where dissension arises.

"I think we tabled the important discussions to the beginning of the fall, but in passing this statement, what we've done is set out distinctly our timeline for implementing a new structure," Powers said.

"What we wanted to do was pass something to ensure that we kept up the momentum for change that we currently have in the Greek leadership," Lafaro said.

Although some had predicted that the GPC would be approved at this week's meeting, both Powers and Lafaro said that two weeks of discussion would not have been a firm basis on which to have made a decision on the IFC proposal.

Details relating to the status of several positions, including the Greek systems liaison with the Undergraduate Finance Committee, social events management coordinator and a chair of the organizations Judiciary Committee have yet to be worked out.

A number of factors appear to be the driving force behind the Greek leaders' rapid action. Although discussion on how or if to change the CFS governance structure has taken place for at least past two years, the group never went forward with any proposals as it is doing now.

While a general sentiment that the CFSC fails to adequately serve the interests of the Greek system is the prevalent reason for the move, other factors helped galvanize the creation of and support for the IFC proposal.

"The CFSC is an inherently flawed organization in that it fails to provide effectively for the very organizations it supposedly represents. That, combined with unhappiness with some of the CFSC executives, is what has prompted Greek presidents to push for the elimination of the CFSC and the adoption of a new governing body that lacks an executive board," Powers said.

Sources told The Dartmouth that some members of the CFSC executive board feel that the IFC proposal is a personal attack, although both the executives themselves and proponents of the GPC denied this.

However, situations in which members of the CFSC executive board found out about disciplinary action against individual houses before the presidents of those houses -- including separate incidents involving Zeta Psi and Chi Heorot fraternities -- exacerbated a sense of antagonism between Greek presidents and the CFSC leadership.

"One of the main problems I have with the CFSC is, if there's a problem in my house, Shihwan Chung will hear before I will," Alpha Delta President James Colligan '02 said. Colligan helped with the creation of the IFC proposal.

By distributing power among sub-councils and house presidents, Greek leaders hope to force administrators to deal with individual fraternities and sororities more directly.

All Greek leaders who spoke with The Dartmouth expressed a working respect for the CFSC executives, and Powers said he expects their knowledge and experience to be valuable in working out details during the Fall term discussions.

Leah Threatte '01, an unofficial representative of the relatively small Pan Hellenic Council, expressed concern with how work was going to be passed down with, but said she expects the constituencies of the group will step up to whatever challenge the new policy presents.

"Truthfully, I think that the black Greeks and the coeds have most to gain from any new structure" because they will no longer have to respond to criticism directed at fraternities, Powers said

Dean of Residential Life Martin Redman, whose area of oversight includes the CFS system, previously expressed his approval of the ideas behind the IFC proposal.

Because the CFSC structure is incorporated into the Greek system's constitution, a document on the basis of which the system receives support and recognition from the College, changes to the CFSC must cross the desk of Dean of the College James Larimore, Powers said.

Larimore has not yet been approached on this issue, Powers said, and declined to speculate as to his opinion.

Exact tallies of CFSC ballots are confidential and the voting itself was anonymous. Support from two-thirds of the house presidents was required for passage of the resolution since members of the CFSC executive board did not vote.