Verbum Ultimum: Open and Honest

by The Dartmouth Editorial Board | 10/10/13 10:00pm

Last spring, the Greek Leadership Council enacted a policy change that barred freshmen from entering Greek houses until after Homecoming weekend. This policy represents a student-led attempt to take ownership of campus life issues and help prevent binge drinking and sexual assault. With Homecoming now upon us, members of the Class of 2017 will soon be allowed to enter Greek houses, and the community will begin to evaluate the relative effectiveness of the policy. At the present moment, however, it appears that this evaluation will be nearly impossible due to a lack of data on the relevant topics.

In order to examine the effectiveness of the GLC policy with regards to binge drinking, one needs to have data such as the total numbers of Good Samaritan calls and alcohol-related hospitalizations. While both Safety and Security and Dick's House keep these statistics, they refuse to release this data with a frequency that would be of use to evaluating the new GLC policy. These data should be released on a monthly basis, at a minimum.

Similarly, members of the Dartmouth community may reasonably wonder how frequently the GLC policy was violated by this year's freshman class, and what the consequences are for the students and houses involved. The GLC, the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council have thus far not been transparent with regards to these two questions. Given that the freshman ban will soon come to a close for the current year, we would expect that these numbers will be forthcoming within the next few weeks. To that end, we call on the GLC, the IFC and Panhell to release a formal report to the community with their findings.

Issues of sexual assault and binge drinking as well as the GLC policy are all of profound importance to the Dartmouth community. Moreover, the people who will be most affected by the GLC policy in the future members of the Class of 2018 will have no voice in decisions regarding the policy's continuation. It is imperative that the entire Dartmouth community have an open-minded and rational discussion of the policy. But this conversation will require information on the policy's enforcement and effectiveness. What was the point of the policy in the first place, if not to conduct a controlled experiment on reducing harmful behavior among new students? Ultimately, relevant institutions such as Safety and Security, Dick's House, the GLC, the IFC and Panhell owe it to our community to make these figures public.

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