In their four years at the College, 2001s witness triumph, tragedy and controversy

by Ryan Samuels | 6/10/01 5:00am

For more than 25 years, since coeducation first became a reality at Dartmouth, students, faculty and administrators have all believed themselves to be a part of a community in transition.

Yet given the changes that have taken place during the Class of 2001's tenure at the College, this sentiment rings truer today than it has in 25 years. Here are some of the events that make it so.

Freshman year

Several high level Dartmouth administrative officials stepped down during the freshman year of the Class of 2001.

In September 1997, College president James Freedman announced his resignation effective at the end of the academic year after 11 years in the position.

In April, the Board of Trustees announced that Wright would be the next president of the College.

November saw Chairman of the Board of Trustees Stephen Bosworth sworn in as the United States' ambassador to South Korea. However, Bosworth surprised many with his decision to stay in his position for the remainder of his term.

During Winter term, Dean of the College Lee Pelton announced his plans to leave Dartmouth to accept a position as president of Willamette College.

The Trustees stirred up controversy when they accepted plans for the $50 million Berry Library project despite opposition from the majority of the Design Review Committee. In what became one of the largest campus controversies of the year, several art history professors led a movement against the plan and circulated a petition that garnered 1,550 signatures.

The College Committee on Alcohol and Other Drugs ignited debate when it issued recommendations that the College restrict the number of kegs at parties and allow Safety and Security officers to monitor Greek events.

That spring, Pelton adopted a new alcohol policy that incorporated compromises between the recommendations of the CCAOD and the response of the Coed Fraternity Sorority Council. Thenceforth the rules limited the number of kegs at open events to five, and allowed Safety and Security officers to enter Greek houses accompanied by student monitors during parties. Kegs during sophomore summer were prohibited.

The $4 million Roth Center for Jewish Life officially opened in November after more than five years of planning.

Free speech arose as an issue when The Jack-O-Lantern humor magazine printed several pieces in the fall that some students found offensive, and when Uncommon Threads, an alternative literary and cultural journal, printed an article about a lesbian encounter which some students considered inappropriate.

Conservative pundit William F. Buckley gave a controversial speech in Rollins Chapel in late January. He urged Dartmouth not be afraid to Christianize its students, the ideal on which he claimed the College was founded.

Boxing promoter Don King offended a number of students, faculty and administrators in a February speech about the history of racism which included descriptions of "Indians running around the plains, shooting bows and arrows and smoking the peace pipe."

Members of the Dartmouth Rainbow Alliance protested the conservative views of former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed when he spoke on family values in May.

Sophomore year

In its second year at Dartmouth, the Class of 2001 witnessed the inauguration of James Wright, Dartmouth's 16th president, and his Winter Term announcement of the Trustees' Five Principles.

The announcement of the Five Principles was perhaps the biggest news at the College since coeducation.

A headline in The Dartmouth quoting Wright read, "TRUSTEES TO END GREEK SYSTEM 'AS WE KNOW IT.'"

A march to the president's house on Webster Avenue ensued. Approximately 1,000 students gathered to sing the Dartmouth alma mater, placing special emphasis on the line "lest the old traditions fail."

As a gesture of protest the Coed Fraternity Sorority Council canceled all parties for the upcoming Winter Carnival weekend. A demonstration took the place of the Psi Upsilon fraternity keg jump.

The Student Assembly passed a resolution supporting the CFSC in its opposition to the Five Principles.

The Chi Gamma Epsilon and Alpha Xi Delta "Ghetto Party," which many students, faculty and administrators perceived as being racist and insensitive led to a widely circulated Associated Press article and discussion fodder on the ABC television program "Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher."

Several apologetic editorials in The Dartmouth failed to placate some members of the Dartmouth community and panel discussions were organized to discuss the issue.

Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Karl Furstenberg would later link the event to a decline in the number of African-American applicants to the College. The College accepted only three African American early decision applicants the following year.

James Larimore, the assistant to the provost at Stanford University and a former admissions officer at Dartmouth returned as the Dean of the College.

A round of hate mail consisting of offensive cartoons targeted leaders of campus gay, Jewish, and other minority groups. The return address on the envelopes set to Hinman Boxes implicated the Campus Crusade for Christ, but the group denied all involvement. The College later discovered the identity of the sender but refused to release a name.

Jeffrey Sudikoff '77, who donated more than $3 million for the construction of the College computer science laboratory, pleaded guilty in February to insider trading charges in connection with his Los Angeles based communications firm. The College decided not to change the name of the building.

The Student Life Initiative Steering Committee was formed during Spring term of students, faculty and administrators to foster dialogue about the direction of change at Dartmouth.

During Summer term Alpha Chi Alpha fraternity and Delta Delta Delta sorority dredged up issues leftover from the Ghetto Party incident with their Aug. 13 Luau Party, which they canceled after complaints charged that it reinforced stereotypes of Hawaiians.

Some expressed concern over the role of the College in off campus housing during the first week of August, when Dartmouth purchased 19 properties in Hanover, including the off campus residences of about 100 students.

Junior year

As junior fall began, College President James Wright addressed the faculty with promises of "comprehensive and bold" recommendations from the Steering Committee with the assurance, "I do not wish to repeat the history of previous attempts to change."In the first of a series of presidential primary debates, Democratic and Republican candidates, sans future President of the United States George W. Bush, engaged in "town meeting" discussions in Moore Theater on Oct. 27 and 28. The debates were broadcast nationwide by CNN.

At the end of the term, Hanover Police arrested Peter Cataldo '00 for trespassing on College property. The College had earlier banned Cataldo from College property for allegedly writing "KKK, Kill Kosher Kikes" on the message board of the undergraduate advisor on his floor.

After a year of preparation, the Steering Committee released its first report on Jan. 10. It recommended drastic changes to the Greek system to bring it in line with the vision of the Board of Trustees.

Single sex Greek houses would continue to exist, but the Steering Committee recommended that houses be held to stricter standards, which could lead to the derecognition of some houses.

Students responded in weekly "fireside chats' with administrators, while Coed Fraternity Sorority Council President Eric Etu '01 presented a response to the recommendations, and the Student Assembly created a Student Response Task Force.

Faculty members voted 81-0 to urge the elimination of the Greek system.

A cheating scandal erupted in a Computer Science 4 class taught by visiting professor Rex Dwyer of the University of North Carolina, when Dwyer charged 78 students with copying answers to a homework problem from a website he failed to secure.

The affair captured headlines nationwide, calling into question the role of cheating at elite institutions of higher learning. Dwyer left Dartmouth before the end of the term, and Dean Larimore announced that all charges against the students would be dropped on account of insufficient evidence.

In sports, the Dartmouth women's basketball team captured its second straight Ivy League Title and entered the NCAA tournament in the 13th seed. The Big Green came up just four points short against fourth-ranked Purdue in the first round.

The Greek system made headlines again in the middle of the term when the College derecognized Phi Delta Alpha fraternity for at least two years, citing numerous violations of College social policy and standards.

Charges included allowing freshmen to join the house in a "dirty rush," and failing to take action when four of its members broke into Chi Gamma Epsilon fraternity in December and set part of the house on fire. The house appealed the decision without success.

Psi Upsilon fraternity was placed on probation for six weeks beginning at the end of March for alcohol violations during its annual Winter Carnival keg jump.

In April, a Student Assembly poll of the student body overwhelmingly supported the group's social recommendations, which generally opposed those of the Student Life Initiative.

On April 19, the Trustees announced the first wave of changes to be implemented as part of the Initiative. The decision, which was met without much strong student reaction, included decisions to move rush to Winter term, to ban taps and permanent bars from Greek houses, to build enhanced cluster programming and to implement freshman-only housing on a trial basis, beginning with some members of the Class of 2004.

At the end of the month, the campus Christian group Voces Clamantium sponsored a controversial speaker. Yvette Schneider of the conservative Family Research Council gave a speech about her experiences as a former lesbian who says she gave up her homosexual lifestyle when she became a Christian. Protesters held a rally before the speech, which over 400 people attended. The incident provoked discussions regarding the Committee on Student Organizations' funding of controversial speakers and also reignited the debate over free speech on campus.

At the end of May, Delta Delta Delta sorority announced it would withdraw from the CFSC because its goals were "not in accordance with those of the CFSC." The sorority declined to comment further on the reasons for the secession.

Senior year

The beginning of Fall term saw the opening of Berry Library after more than two years of construction, three years of controversy and eight years of planning.

However, the relatively calm start of senior year belied the presence of issues that would unify and divide the College community during the months to come. Diversity, tolerance, free speech and their places at a Dartmouth formed the dialogue and debate between September and June, with tragedy striking in between.

College alumnus Adam Nelson '97 took the silver medal in the shotput competition at the Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

As the presidential debates began in October between Democratic candidate Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush, Bob Gienko '01 officially announced his candidacy for the New Hampshire state legislature. Despite amassing the largest number of votes among Republican candidates, he was defeated in a district that Democrats have controlled for a quarter of a century.

Ang Lee, the director of the hit Chinese film "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," visited campus as a Montgomery fellow.

One year after the death of 12 students while building their bonfire structure at Texas A&M, another long-standing Dartmouth tradition came under scrutiny. Bonfire chair Joe Cassidy warned that the 2000 Homecoming bonfire could be the last.

"Students really need to take a little more ownership and responsibility for their actions," Cassidy said.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender causes at Dartmouth got a big financial boost in October with the announcement of a $1 million donation from Roger Klorese '77 and his partner to create a Bisexual and Transgender Program Fund.

Late October saw the renewal of violence in the Middle East, and the political and cultural repercussions made their way to Hanover. Hillel and Al-Nur leaders promoted Middle East peace with a joint candlelight vigil on the Green.

Potentially dangerous College traditions came to the fore once again in January, when the Office of Residential Life notified leaders of Psi Upsilon fraternity that the insurance company had withdrawn coverage of the Psi U annual Winter Carnival keg jump. The event was canceled, and will most likely no longer play a part in future Winter Carnival activities.

After serving as the College's second highest administrator for two years, Susan Prager announced that she would step down from the provost post effective July 1, 2001, citing her interest in serving a larger administration role than her current position at Dartmouth.

By far the biggest Dartmouth news event of the year hit campus on Jan. 27, when Professors Half and Susanne Zantop were found murdered in their home on Trescott Road in Etna, just miles from campus. Both were beloved members of the Dartmouth community, Susanne as chair of the German department and Half as Professor of Earth Science.

Authorities remained tight-lipped as the mourning Dartmouth community sought to make sense of a seemingly senseless crime. Hope of a resolution to the investigation seemed imminent when police impounded a rental car traced back to an Arizona State professor, but he was eventually absolved of any involvement in the crime.

A Boston Globe story claimed, "Investigators believe the killings of Dartmouth College professors Half and Susanne Zantop were crimes of passion, most likely resulting from an adulterous love affair involving Half Zantop." The newspaper later retracted the article and published an apology on the front page.

Nearly a month after the Jan. 27 tragedy, authorities arrested teenagers Robert Tulloch and James Parker of Chelsea, Vt., for the murders of the two professors.

Police issued warrants for the arrest of the two teenagers on Feb. 17, and apprehended them in New Castle, Ind., on Feb. 20. They were hitchhiking their way to California, according to authorities.

Authorities have not reported a link between the boys and the Zantops, though motives of robbery and "thrill kill" have been discussed. Authorities did report, however, fingerprints matching those of James Parker at the crime scene. On Mar. 26 officials released information that DNA of Susanne Zantop matched that found on two knives in Tulloch's bedroom.

At his indictment in May, Tulloch pleaded not guilty. Authorities are currently waiting to certify Parker, who qualifies as a juvenile under New Hampshire state law, as an adult before proceeding with his indictment. Tulloch is set to face trial on two counts of first degree murder in January.

Also in March, the Office of Residential Life placed severe sanctions, including two terms of social probation, on Psi Upsilon fraternity for misconduct stemming from an event earlier in which brothers shouted allegedly racist and misogynist remarks at a female passerby.

In April, several student groups coordinated a day of protests and demonstrations outside of Parkhurst Hall to coincide with the term's meeting of the Board of Trustees.

The organizers' original demands included a statement by the administration and Board of Trustees declaring Dartmouth an anti-racist, antisexist, anti-homophobic institution, harsher College punishment for people who commit sexual assault and rape and disclosure about Dartmouth's endowment.

A few days later the College mourned the sudden death due to cardiac arrest of Matthew "Matty" Demaine '04. A member of the lacrosse team, both friends and teammates remembered him for his good cheer and sense of humor.

Arriving shortly upon the heels of the Psi U incident, revelations of Zeta Psi fraternity "sex papers" caused many members of the College community to scrutinize the role of Greek organizations on a campus increasingly dedicated to ideals such as inclusiveness and tolerance.

The papers included lewd references to supposed sexual acts between brothers and named female students -- one of whom brought the newsletters to administrators. One newsletter advertised supposed date rape techniques to appear in the next issue. Zeta Psi leaders claimed the papers were intended to be completely satirical.

Nevertheless, Dean of Residential Life Martin Redman handed down a sentence of permanent derecognition a few weeks later. Results of an appeal of the decision filed by Zeta Psi were not available at press time.

In response to the incident at Zeta Psi, 101 faculty members signed an open letter to the Board of Trustees and President Wright urging the College to revisit the issue of radically reforming or abolishing the Greek system. The letter suggested that the College has not adequately addressed issues of misogyny and racism which many faculty consider to be fostered by Greek organizations.