Prior to reading last month’s opinion column, I assumed the annual summer Masters pong tournament would proceed more or less as usual. Recent student complaints, as published in this newspaper and on the anonymous social media platform Fizz, demonstrate that this was not the case. Our administration’s crackdown on the Masters tournament by threatening participating fraternities with probation and students with arrest seemingly demonstrates an alarming, zero-tolerance approach towards any social activity that runs afoul of the sanitized public image of Dartmouth student life.
Perhaps administrators believe that by cracking down on beloved traditions such as Masters, they will make campus safer. Evidently, however, this attitude has further harmed the relationship between the administration and the student body, as it has spurred a litany of complaints from students both in this newspaper and on Fizz. Repairing this damage will require the administration to reconsider its priorities.
The continuous effort to improve Greek Life requires cooperation between students and administrators. Yet this crackdown on traditions that enjoy widespread goodwill will only drive the two apart. Only a collaborative attitude — one that is founded in an appreciation of the appeal of Greek Life and an understanding of the need to eliminate its worst abuses — can lead to substantive progress.
For any lasting change to occur, students must be amenable to administrative oversight. Major crackdowns on time-honored traditions will only drive students in the opposite direction, and so I would prefer a more conciliatory approach from the administration as our new president begins her tenure. Meanwhile, the least I can ask is for them to stop spitting in the face of students with these heavy-handed crackdowns as we try to enjoy what gives our campus culture such a special place in the hearts of so many.
Thomas de Wolff is an Opinion editor from the Class of 2024 and a member of a Greek organization. Letters to the Editor represent the views of their author(s), which are not necessarily those of The Dartmouth.
Thomas de Wolff '24 is from St. Louis, Missouri, and is majoring in History and French. He currently serves as opinion editor and as a member of the Editorial Board, and has written for the opinion section in the past. Outside of The Dartmouth, Thomas enjoys playing guitar, reading, and learning to juggle.