Student response to Kappa varies

by Matt Beale | 11/20/06 6:00am

Student responses to Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority's social probation through March 27 varied as some felt that the decision was appropriate, while others questioned whether the punishment was sufficient and whether Kappa would learn from it.

The majority of students unaffiliated with Greek houses interviewed by The Dartmouth said that they were unaware of the situation and generally did not have strong feelings about the issue.

College disciplinary committees determined last week that an Oct. 9 new member bid-night activity ending in the alcohol-related arrests of 11 Kappa members did not violate the College policy regarding hazing.

Kappa will be required to participate in Coed, Fraternity and Sorority Administration alcohol education events and present several other educational programs to the CFS community in the summer of 2007. Kappa "must also work with their national organization to address communication issues and compliance with Dartmouth and national organizational policies," according to a statement from the Office of the Dean of the College.

Sarah Overton '07, president of Sigma Delta sorority and a member of the joint Organizational Adjudication Committee and the Committee on Standards that made the probation decision, said that she agreed with the decision not to label the incident as hazing.

"I believe very strongly that the situation, however unfortunate, was not hazing, and I think that it's really an opportunity for Kappa and the school to be very proactive about other things that happen on campus," Overton said.

"With this case and the decision of the case, the administration is demonstrating to the student body what they consider hazing to be or not to be, and this differs in many cases from student opinion," Overton added later. "We need to recognize that and be more responsible both to the administration and for the personal safety of our students."

Chi Heorot President Eric Yeager '07 said that before he heard all the facts about the situation, he expected a "more drastic punishment."

"You hear a lot of buzz though that it would've come down harder if it was guys, but I don't know," Yeager said.

Ashley Satterfield '07, who is unaffiliated, said she thought that as a sorority, Kappa may have been treated differently than a fraternity would have been.

"I definitely think it's possible that a fraternity would've been treated differently, but on the other hand I don't think the situation would've been the same," Satterfield said. "I don't think there would've been a bunch of passed out guys at the roller rink, and I don't know if the police even would've been called."

Overton also said that the issue would never have come up in a male organization because males would not have reported the incident.

"If they were guys, the situation never would have arisen," Overton said. "They never would have called the hospital. I think it's unfortunate that by doing the right thing when they called they got in trouble."

Other students felt that Kappa's social probation was an insufficient punishment because Kappa is a national sorority and cannot have alcohol in its house.

"Social probation for a house that can't have social events? I don't see what social probation does to them," said Drew Van Ness '05, who is a member of Sigma Nu fraternity.

Others said they believe that the appropriateness of the punishment depends on how earnest Kappa members are about changing and learning from the incident.

"I feel like they should learn from this experience and I think Greek organizations in general should take the alcohol issue more seriously.... Some sort of action should be taken to ensure that they better themselves," William Martin '08 said.

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