To the Administration

by John Haskell | 7/5/01 5:00am

That the administration does not act in good faith is painstakingly evident. That they do not care about student opinion is clear. That they go out of their way to destroy the Greek system through underhanded and disguised tactics cannot be mistaken. After the latest instance of administrative attempts to control the lives and undermine the will of the students, the student body at large has come to these realizations. Administrators, the students of Dartmouth sadly accept the fact that the you are not working with us to create a better Dartmouth, but instead working against us to change the face of the school in significant and unnecessary ways. Thus, I am not writing this column to demonstrate to the student body your descent to the level of cartoon super-villains, nor am I making a plea to you to care for and respect the student body. Instead, I intend to point out the pragmatic problems with your senseless crusade and illustrate how, from an objective standpoint, it will do great harm to the school.

It goes without saying that the social life at the school will suffer from your crusade. By attempting to render the Greek system impotent through senseless regulation, you are merely eliminating options. If you are afraid of the Animal House image that the Greek system supposedly creates, so be it. Through the creation of more and superior social options, perhaps the Greek system would die a natural death, or at least become less popular. Although I feel this would be unfortunate, you could then support your unfounded claims that the system is largely obsolete. But as it exists, the administration seeks to take away options without creating any. Ironic, since the SLI is largely a call for more options. It is clear enough that you do not care about student social life. However, it is unfortunate that you lack the foresight to see the other consequences that your reckless actions will undoubtedly have.

First and foremost, the lack of sufficient social options will deter applicants. Far more people apply to Dartmouth because of the supposed social options than stay away with the attitude of, "Good school, but they party. I'm too smart to party." No. Either students are into an active social life, in which case it is a draw for them, or they are not, in which case they are indifferent to its existence. As Ryan Clark '01, a member of the Greek Life Steering Committee points out, this social life is part of what makes Dartmouth unique, and therefore attractive. As a school in the woods, we lack many attractions that are available in the city. Therefore, we must hang on to what we have. Other than the Greek system, all we have is the outdoor opportunities available to us, and one attraction, as good as it is, is nothing you can completely rely on.

A factor that will have an even greater ill-effect on the applicant pool is far more troubling. By alienating its most powerful lobbying group, the current student body, you have done the College a great disservice. Last year, when asked about Dartmouth by kids considering it as an option, I did everything I could to sell the school. I felt that positive about it. Although there are still many things I love about Dartmouth -- the people, the outdoors, the D-plan that lets me be a ski bum in the winter -- the administration has made it tough for me to endorse Dartmouth wholeheartedly. Your constant attempts to control student life and your indifference to student opinion make me hesitant to recommend this school, especially since things will get worse before they get better. It seems that a high percentage of student share my attitude. It is a shame that you have done the school such a harm.

Equally significant is the financial harm your plans will cause the school. Historically, Greek alumni have been some of the most generous to the College. Largely this is due to the connection they keep with the College through their Greek houses. Not only will the destruction of the system prevent such a bond from forming in the future, but it seriously undermines current fundraising efforts. It seems pretty self-evident that alumni will not be eager to give to a college that destroys what constitutes one of the most central aspects of their Dartmouth experience. And since about half the alumni are Greek, the harm this does the school will not be small.

So think about the school for a second. Put its ultimate well-being before your senseless agenda. If it will keep up the quality of applicants and allow for better fundraising, the Greek system is a good thing for Dartmouth. Don't kill Dartmouth, and stop doing everything you can to undermine the Greeks.