Join the Dartmouth Beta-Blockers

by Kelsey Blodget | 1/15/08 3:43am

Correction appended

The College didn't have to give Beta a second chance. But it did. Why, when frats already outnumber sororities on campus two to one, would the College make a move that will disenfranchise women even further? Easy. Because it was bullied. And because it had its eye on the bottom line.

Since Beta owns its own house, it didn't need the College's permission to kick out AZD or to recruit new members. Friday's article ("Beta seizes house from AZD", Jan. 11), mentioned "back-door" recruiting, most likely referring to football players -- encouraged by Coach Buddy Teevens, a Beta alum and one of the signers of Beta's recognition petition to the College -- block rushing the unofficial organization. Beta threatened the College with its worst nightmare: the creation of a rowdy frat that it has no power to control. Beta got derecognized in the first place because its members were bullies who tortured and attacked members of other houses. Today, they're still bullies, and the College is bowing to their pressure.

Furthermore, the College had considerable financial motivation to keep the Beta alums happy. Considering recent events, it's easy to see how a 2006 donation from Beta reported by a CFS administrator to AZD could have been the catalyst that set the wheels of rerecognition in motion. Former bullies with brawn have evolved into bullies with pocketbooks.

Beta also has considerable power within the College itself: trustee Stephen Smith '88 states on his webpage that he "will encourage the administration to take all necessary steps to enable Beta and other derecognized fraternities to regain recognition," and the Deputy Director of the Dartmouth College Fund is a Beta alum.

The Board controls the College's purse strings and the DCF manages its donation money, so in addition to having their own financial backing, Beta supporters have some influence on the College's personal piggy bank.

But it is not impossible for the College. It could have stood its ground and refused Beta's proposal and strings-attached donations. At the very least, it could take Beta's big fat check and buy AZD a comparable piece of real estate. Instead, AZD will be shoved into a tiny house far off campus -- cut off from the social artery of Webster Avenue -- where it will almost definitely cease to recruit the same numbers of new members that it once did.

This isn't just bad news for AZD, this is bad news for every woman that wishes she could enjoy a social space on her own terms. A space where she can control the pong lines, alcohol distribution, music and guests. A space where sexual power dynamics aren't skewed against her.

The College ostensibly lifted the moratorium on new single-sex organizations in 2005 because it realized women needed more social spaces. Now, they're taking one away. The College needs to amend the moratorium to prevent the addition of new fraternities, find housing options for AZD and Alpha Phi that will allow them to be part of the mainstream social scene, buy quality real estate to have on hand for future sororities and encourage national sororities to go local. They should, but unfortunately they probably won't.

Kelsey Blodget incorrectly stated that Dartmouth football coach Buddy Teevens '79 signed the petition to re-recognize Beta Theta Pi fraternity. In fact, Shaun Teevens '82 signed the petition.

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