Student Justice

by Jesse Cook-Dubin | 5/24/01 5:00am

To the Editor:

It is disappointing to see that once again the faculty has decided to meddle with student choice at Dartmouth. While written up in The Dartmouth (May 15th, "Faculty reaffirms opposition to Greeks") as a forum for faculty members concerned about the alleged lack of diversity and insidious nature of Greek houses, many of us on campus know what it really was: an appeal by a minority of the faculty that because they could not get students to attend class, Dartmouth should unseat local student/alumni landowners.

There are, then, two concerns here. First of all, if anyone can prevent every-night drinking, it's the faculty. There is no reason for the deus ex machina derecognition of the entire Greek system when the faculty already has the tools to fix this problem. That is to say, surely no student should be able to cruise through four years at an Ivy League college while becoming intoxicated numerous nights per week! Whose fault is it that Dartmouth students can scrape by drunkenly and still "earn" good enough grades to move on to upper echelon careers in business and banking? I'm sure if Professor of Spanish and Portugese Lugo-Ortiz had failed some of those basement-dwelling students with stifled imaginations, all that weeknight drinking would have stopped pretty quickly.

(And how long has 40 percent of Dartmouth been stifled like this? Surely we haven't been running on fumes for the past 25 years.)

The second issue is what business does the faculty have trying to supercede student choice? The faculty of a residential college should be here to help students, not put themselves at odds with half of the student body. Moreover, the speakers quoted in The Dartmouth are guilty of the same things they themselves criticized. I am astonished that any member of Dartmouth's faculty could possibly condemn the rush system of Greek houses as so "demeaning and humiliating [that] one Dartmouth student" would exclude another from an organization. What about the ludicrous amount of petty infighting and politicking that goes on inside almost every academic department at the College? What about the students who are excluded from foreign study programs because they came recommended by the "dark horse" of the department? My point is that the voting faculty has obviously forgotten that students here are intelligent young adults who, while they sometimes make bad decisions (as if professors don't), are mature enough to relate to each other without having a monitor at recess when we go out to play on the Green.

But apparently not every member of the faculty has forgotten. The official voting membership of the faculty consists of 16 senior administrators plus every individual holding the titles of Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Instructor, or Research Instructor. I'm no math major, but I know there are at least four times more than 92. So where is the dissent? Has the faculty, under the aegis of academic freedom and inclusiveness, suppressed its members who would have voted against this resolution? Would those professors who dared come out in favor of student choice and free debate been snubbed by their peers? Look at what was said at the faculty meeting -- you be the judge.