GLC policy follows 'Bloods and Crips' party

by Joshua Schiefelbein | 2/10/14 7:51pm

A new policy will expect Greek organizations that receive complaints regarding standards of community violations to adjudicate the accused individuals in-house or participate in mediation sessions with the complainants. The Greek Leadership Council and Greek organization presidents unanimously approved the bylaw at a meeting on Monday.

The policy, proposed by the presidents of Delta Delta Delta sorority and Alpha Delta fraternity in reaction to the “Bloods and Crips”-themed party that took place last July, aims to prevent and respond to violations of community principles involving cultural or other types of insensitivity, Greek Leadership Council president Elliot Sanborn ’14 said.

Tri-Delt president Claire Stewart ’14 said official bylaws are necessary for addressing events like the party, which her sorority co-hosted with AD.

Multiple students filed bias incident reports with the College in response to the “Bloods and Crips”-themed event, which received national media attention.

The Afro-American Society, the College’s chapter of NAACP, La Alianza Latina and the Women of Color Collective produced a campus-wide “Call to Action” in response to the event.

The policy specifies four types of violations, including holding events or wearing clothing deemed insensitive to other cultures, as well as participating in activities that are offensive and do not uphold Greek community standards.

In the event of a complaint regarding an individual, the policy places responsibility for adjudicating violations in the hands of the accused offender’s Greek organization. If a chapter doesn’t act after receiving a complaint, or if the complaint involves the entire chapter, the GLC will be responsible for holding it accountable.

Greek organizations must respond to complaints by participating in a mediation session with the complainant. The initial response to a complaint against a Greek chapter will consist of mediation between the complainant and the chapter. If mediation fails to produce a resolution, the GLC executive board will decide if the Code of Standards has been violated.

Individuals may be required to participate in a conversation moderated by the GLC, Greek Letter Organizations and Societies or the Office of Pluralism and Leadership. Chapters may also hold internal discussions about the cause of the offense and potential procedural violations. The individual or chapter may also be asked to publicly apologize, complete community service or pay a fine.

Sanborn said he believes the policy encourages dialogue. The more students are aware of the policy’s existence, the more effective it will be, he said.

“I encourage people to take this policy seriously and think about how we can leverage this to move our campus in a good direction,” Sanborn said.

He encouraged both affiliated and unaffiliated students to read through the policy.

AD president Siegfried von Bonin ’14 said he believes it is important to create a framework for addressing and preventing future violations.

The policy, he said, will not result in overnight reform.

“We are aware that there are instances of systemic injustice on our campus and that we want to take a stand against that,” Stewart said. “This is our first step. We understand that the policy will only be as effective as our peers are at upholding these standards and confronting violations.”

Coeducational Council president Abigail Bard ’14 said she thinks the policy proves that the Greek community is serious about developing solutions for societal problems that are reproduced at Dartmouth in a way that harms traditionally marginalized groups.

Students interviewed said the policy may be helpful in preventing harmful incidents overall. Some, however, were critical about the extent of its potential power.

“I feel that this policy is a good step,” Ruby Hopkins ’17 said. “But there is still a ways to go as far as genuine shifts in the attitude of many Greek chapters,”

Evelyn Weinstein ’16 said she thought the severity of the repercussions under the new policy will deter groups from holding events or acting in ways that raise concerns of insensitivity. She said that while she disagrees with punishing people for their ignorance, she approves the general policy.