Greek leaders launch website detailing policy proposals

by Parker Richards | 11/9/14 7:45pm

Greek leaders recommended policy changes related to high-risk drinking, sexual misconduct, freshman safety, house renovations, faculty advisors and inclusivity, calling on students and alumni invested in the Greek system to show their support. As of about 1 p.m. Sunday, the website had received roughly 650 signatures.

The proposal, signed by the Gender-Inclusive Greek Council, Inter-Fraternity Council and Panhellenic Council with the endorsement of their member organizations’ presidents, was published on a website titled “Moving Dartmouth Forward — The Greek Perspective” Friday afternoon.

“The ‘silent majority’ of community members who support the Greek system have not done enough to highlight the positive aspects of the system or have a voice in the policy conversation,” the website states, noting that the faculty and The Dartmouth editorial board recently called for abolishing the Greek system. “Without the engagement of Greek-affiliated alumni and undergrads, we risk seeing the steering committee process dominated by a vocal anti-Greek minority, possibly leading to the recommendation of severe and unjustified measures against the Greek system.”

Gamma Delta Chi fraternity alumni corporation president John Turner ’04 Th’07 spearheaded the website, which went live Friday, said Herb Philpott ’85, Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity alumni and volunteer corporation president.

Advisors to all GIGC, Panhell and IFC member organizations signed a letter indicating support for the proposal, which was published alongside the document online.

The proposal was released following an initial leak of the document Wednesday on Dartblog.

Panhell president Rachel Funk ’15 said it will be updated over the course of next week. Additions will likely include more details relating to a symposium the proposal recommends that Greek organizations host in the winter and one affirming the benefits of all-female spaces. While the leaked draft of the document included a section on single-gender spaces, the addendum would be longer than the earlier statement, Funk said.

“We needed to do something to show that we have the ability to self-reflect and address the problems that are present in our community,” she said.

The proposal recommends that Greek organizations hire third-party bartenders to serve hard alcohol at registered tails events, strengthen punishments for members found serving hard alcohol to underage drinkers, encourage the use of kegs instead of bottles and cans, require College-paid, third-party bouncers to monitor large parties, work with state officials to track who buys hard alcohol and stop serving alcohol at 1 a.m. on weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends if any Dartmouth student non-members are present in the house. The proposal also suggests that Greek houses only be allowed to serve beer, wine and cider at parties and that each Greek organization throw at least one non-alcoholic party per term. The proposal requests an exemption to the bartender policy and the hard alcohol limitation generally for coed Greek houses that have not been found responsible for an alcohol violation in more than three years to incentivize membership.

“We want to remove hard alcohol from the repertoire of things people can use to exert power over other people,” GICG president Noah Cramer ’16 said. “When hard alcohol is banned across the board, that becomes more likely.”

The mandate for expulsion of a Greek member after a sexual assault-related suspension from the College for two or more terms should be lowered to one term, Greek organizations should be required to expel any member found guilty of sexual misconduct and any individual found guilty of sexual misconduct should be unable to rejoin the Greek system, the proposal recommends. Greek chapters should place signs with contact information for their officers and risk-managers around their houses and host training events for members with a WISE coordinator, it suggests. The proposal also calls for a summit in the winter where student and College leaders can set guidelines for affiliated students and sexual assault policy recommendations for Greek houses.

Additionally, the proposal calls for each Greek house to have a designated sober monitor at all events with more than 50 guests, and two sober monitors at all events with 150 guests or more. Greek councils would be required to purchase shirts or other clothing for sober monitors to wear while on duty to make them more easily identifiable to guests. Sober monitors would be trained and wear identifying clothing.

This would clarify who the sober monitor is, increasing the efficacy of bystander intervention, Cramer said.

The proposal also recommends a termly discussion between Greek organizations and non-Greek student groups to educate members on race, gender, class and sexual orientation, as a way of promoting inclusivity.

Several Greek financial aid policies are described in the proposal, which calls for their expansion. Panhell is working to establish a scholarship fund and provide 100 percent of members’ demonstrated financial need, up from 80 percent. The IFC plans to provide 70 grants of $100 per year to students who apply anonymously, according to the proposal. According to the proposal, the IFC will eliminate the practice of “working off dues,” suggesting that fraternities devote at least 15 percent of their social and programming budgets to financial aid. The GIGC will continue to waive any amount of dues at a member’s anonymous request.

Greek houses should communicate more with undergraduate advisors to protect freshmen, the proposal states, suggesting that Greek representatives speak at freshman floor meetings. The proposal also indicates that Greek organizations should give UGAs contact information for presidents and risk managers and recommends that first-year students receive a special hand stamp at events with more than 150 attendees so risk managers can identify them.

The proposal asks the College to help Greek organizations renovate their houses and promises a reduction in the number of pong tables. Seating in Greek houses could lead to “more diverse social interaction” and slower alcohol consumption, the proposal suggests.

Greek houses should adopt male and female faculty advisors by the end of the academic year, the proposal suggests. Advisors could host office hours, attend academic events, review their chapter’s performance, speak termly to the chapter’s members and provide academic support.

Female faculty advisors would diversify fraternity leadership, adding an important perspective, Cramer said.

As faculty usually remain at the College longer than students, faculty advisors could also lend greater institutional memory, Funk said.

IFC president Wil Chockley ’15 sent a draft of the proposal to College President Phil Hanlon, interim Dean of the College Inge-Lise Ameer, special assistant to the President Laura Hercod and Board of Trustees Chair Bill Helman on Monday, copying Cramer and Panhell president Rachel Funk ’15 on the email. Chockley could not be reached for comment by press time.

Hercod met with Chockley, Cramer and Funk last week, Cramer said.

College spokesperson Diana Lawrence wrote in an email before the final recommendations went live that the proposed changes mark “an important contribution” to the “Moving Dartmouth Forward” presidential steering committee’s process of soliciting ideas, calling them “a welcome approach to student accountability.” The committee, tasked by Hanlon in May to address sexual assault, high-risk drinking and inclusivity, is expected to present proposals to the Board of Trustees in January.

The proposal follows a September meeting of Greek leaders with senior administrators in which Hanlon, Helman and “Moving Dartmouth Forward” committee chair Barbara Will urged students to initiate change in their organizations and address freshman safety, hard alcohol, adult oversight of social spaces and new member probationary periods. In the following weeks, sorority and fraternity presidents voted to eliminate pledge terms.

The proposal’s drafters structured the document to specifically respond to Hanlon’s concerns, Philpott said.

Greek organization alumni advisors and Greek corporation presidents released a letter in conjunction with the proposal, stating their support.

The proposal originated in the IFC, Funk said, whose members then showed it to other Greek leaders at an Oct. 26 meeting, Funk said.

Panhell and the GIGC worked with IFC to rework the proppsal, and Cramer and Panhell co-vice president of operations Natalie Shell ’15 appended the final edits, Funk said.

Funk said Greek leaders do not need to wait for administrators to begin making changes. She said that the sober monitor policy is likely to move forward winter term and that Greek organizations are already purchasing sober monitor jerseys.

Erin Lee and Madison Pauly contributed reporting.