Greeks win stay of S&S policy

by Ithan Peltan | 6/27/01 5:00am

In what appears to be an acknowledgement of past error, the College yesterday approved Greek leaders' request for a "grace period" before moving ahead with the implementation of the controversial new policy allowing Safety and Security officers free access to coed, fraternity, sorority and undergraduate houses.

Under the new timeline, the policy's enactment will be suspended for three weeks while discussions take place between students, administrators and other interested parties. The policy was initially announced last Friday.

While he remained firm in supporting the new policies, Dean of Residential Life Martin Redman did admit that a different approach to the administration's announcement "certainly would have made things easier for everyone."

The goal of the talks with campus leaders is "to determine the best possible solutions to the implementation issues raised," Redman said, adding, "Anything except not doing [the walk throughs] is on the table."

However, a ban on the outdoor consumption of alcohol -- the second, somewhat less contested aspect of Friday's announcements -- will remain in effect during houses' discussions with the College.

Greek leaders were informed of both the reprieve and the upcoming negotiations in an email from Associate Dean of Residential Life Cassie Barnhardt this afternoon and said they were optimistic about their chances of forging a mutually agreeable compromise with administrators.

"We really feel confident now that things are going to move

forward with this," Jonathan Kartt '03, the public relations representative of the Greek Leaders Council and summer Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity president, said.

Interfraternity Council President Duncan McLean '03 said that while the suspension and promises of dialogue are welcome,. he and others continue to believe that unannounced walk-throughs are "an unwarranted invasion of our privacy."

Many Greeks, however, remain skeptical of administrators' willingness to include student input in the final policy.

"It really raises the question of the College's commitment to the student voice and to really being forthcoming about their motives and their tactics," Coed Fraternity Sorority Council President Shihwan Chung '02 said of the manner in which the policy was initially presented.

The Office of Residential Life has been criticized for not seeking input from CFS leaders on the policies as well as for not informing Greeks of the new policies farther in advance of their implementation.

Some student members of the Greek Life Steering Committee -- which has been working since the beginning of Fall term to develop a report set to be released today or tomorrow -- expressed particular objection to the lack of student input into the policies announced Friday.

"If they're just going to announce policy no matter what, then there's no meaning behind the report," committee member Ryan Clark '01 said. "I don't think they should have announced anything before they released the report because I think it undermines the whole purpose of the report."

Christian Hummel '01, also a GLSC member, echoed another sentiment Clark expressed, saying, "I believe the GLSC is going to be used as justification for some of these decisions."

Kartt called yesterday's announcement of a three week grace period -- a period longer than the Greek presidents' request for 10 days -- a "sign of good faith."

"We don't have an absolute plan and we don't have an answer to all those questions" that CFS members and others have been asking since the policies were announced, Redman said.

Redman noted that under the constitution of Dartmouth's CFS system, the College is allowed to set whatever rules it sees fit for recognition of organizations, a fact also contained in the ORL letter to Greek leaders.

"Regardless of whether the CFS or undergraduate society is College-owned or privately owned, the terms of recognition specify the College's ability to implement these policies," the letter states.

Although a number of students have expressed concerns about what exactly Safety and Security officers will be looking for, Redman offered assurances that their focus would be on safety issues, not on looking for violations.

"The last thing on my mind is getting people cited for drinking underage," Redman said, also noting that ORL would be considering exceptions to the outdoor alcohol consumption ban on a case-by-case basis.