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The Dartmouth
June 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

President Beilock holds private Q&A session for Greek student leaders

The event centered on positive aspects of Greek life and discussed how to make these spaces safer and more welcoming.

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On July 16, College President Sian Leah Beilock hosted a private Q&A session for Greek student leaders in Collis Common Ground. The Q&A session was requested by the Office of Greek Life and was planned in conjunction with Dean of the College Scott Brown and the President’s Office, according to Greek life director Josh Gamse.  

Only Greek leadership was invited to the event “so that President Beilock and the Greek society leaders [could] have an open and honest discussion,” according to an email statement from Gamse. Gamse added that Beilock plans to preserve Greek Life on Dartmouth’s campus.

“President Beilock reiterated her commitment to maintaining Greek Life as a critical part of Dartmouth’s campus community, while also working with the Office of Greek Life and students to help maximize its impact and role as safe, welcoming communities for students,” Gamse wrote.

Membership vice president of Alpha Xi Delta sorority Madeleine Shaw ’25 said that she was glad to hear President Beilock say that “Greek life is not going away — we just want to make it a safe and communal space.” 

Shaw explained that Beilock sat down at a table with about 20 students from a diverse spread of Greek organizations, and that the meeting had a “conversational” tone. 

“There are a lot of rumors and misconceptions floating around about the administration’s Greek Life stance, so I was interested to go and hear what President Beilock had to say,” Shaw said. 

Beilock was eager to hear from students because she recognizes that Greek Life is an important aspect of the Dartmouth experience, Gamse wrote. He added that Beilock expressed her interest in what makes Greek communities so impactful for students during the Q&A. 

Beta Alpha Omega fraternity risk manager Dylan Griffith ’25 said that “the conversation was steered towards positives about Greek Life because students felt that they needed a forum to share those sentiments.” 

Griffith stated that he felt Beilock recognized the communal aspect that Greek life fosters among its members, while balancing its drawbacks. 

“I thought President Beilock’s approach was realistic, in that she’s protecting institutional interests and recognizes the very real community that Greek Life creates for people on campus and wants to uphold these funding routes, yet she’s acknowledging the concerns that Greek life presents to Dartmouth’s campus,” Griffith said.

Some students said they used the Q&A to express concerns about the Greek recruitment process in regards to fairness, diversity and mental health, Shaw said. Some attendees also explained that they felt that the Office of Compliance has not been doing enough to equally enforce their policies across houses, she added. 

Sigma Delta sorority summer president Sofia Jayaswal ’25 said that she feels that the administration right now only gets involved in Greek life for “punitive measures.”

“I feel like our only interactions [with the administration] are when [Safety and Security] comes to check out an event,” Jayaswal said. “I would like to see the administration care about the positive things that Greek houses are doing.”  

Griffith said that he “would like to see the administration push [Safety and Security] to enforce the spirit of the rules more than just trying to find infractions in the house through walkthroughs.” As risk manager, Griffith feels that it is “nitpicky” to enforce guidelines that merely prevent the house’s ability from hosting larger events open to all undergraduates. 

“I hope the administration can push [Safety and Security]to follow the spirit of the rule — which should be to make sure that we’re reducing the overall risk in the house when we host events — rather than creating a space where we feel over-policed by [Safety and Security] to the point that we don’t want to host big events that are inclusive and open to campus,” Griffith said.  

Overall, Jayaswal said she felt the conversation was “productive” and that the Q&A opened up a dialogue between student leaders and the administration. She added that she hopes the administration will consider student voices in future Greek life decisions.

“If President Beilock were going to implement serious policies relating to Greek life, I would hope to see a committee with students who actually have a voice in the decision,” Jayaswal said. “The only real way to make good change is to have as many different perspectives as possible.” 

Gamse wrote that “the Office of Greek Life plans to work with the President’s Office to host more sessions open to students in Greek organizations and societies, as well as the entire student body.”