Simply put, the recent decision by Dartmouth College to effectively end the Greek system is wrong. Here's why: Of eligible students, 51 percent are affiliated with the Greek system, yet 83 percent of students support maintaining the single-sex Greek houses as they are because they are important, responsible members of the community.
That the college has been willing to act without concern for the student body's opinion is insulting to those of us who love our school.
Under the new initiative, sororities will be required to admit men, and fraternities to admit women. The college feels that by encouraging co-ed housing, they will be able to decrease the abuse of alcohol and improve gender relations. They also feel that the Greek system is too exclusive and elitist.
Unfortunately, the administration has decided that by eliminating the Greek system, it will be able to create a "Harvard in the wilderness" environment.
Many current students fear that these actions are intended to attract a different, more intellectual student body, sacrificing the traditional Dartmouth of old: a school where people work hard, play hard, and have always been powerful, outgoing, and engaging leaders.
There are significant reasons some students oppose the measure:
*The Greek system is an irreplaceable member of the community. It provides community service and programs for the area. Recently it voted to increase, again, standards for community involvement.
*Co-ed living decreases safe spaces for women. Dartmouth's sorority system was voted last month the best system in the Northeast because it guarantees that every woman who rushes will be accepted into a house.
*The alcohol problems at Dartmouth are typical of any school two hours from a major city. The Greek system is responsible for ensuring that drinking is done responsibly. The Greek houses just last year revamped their alcohol policy in conjunction with the college in order to make it safer and more regulated. By eliminating the regulatory function of the Greeks on campus, Dartmouth is opening itself up for serious problems such as drunk driving and hard-alcohol abuse in dorms. (Greek houses only serve beer.)
*The college's plan calls for the elimination of the Greek system without bringing forward alternatives. Most students don't want to see their only option taken away without knowing what is going to replace it.
*The college has ignored the existence of current co-ed Greek houses, whose low memberships seem to indicate a lack of interest.
*Last, among Greek-affiliated students, the sentiment is that the college cannot possibly understand what these houses mean to us.
That Greeks have taken serious steps to curb the debauchery days of the 1970s and '80s is evident in our GPA being consistently higher than the campus average, our community involvement being greater than that of non-Greeks, and our changes in policy to regulate alcohol abuse.
We are not "Animal House." (Anyone who sees it differently is living in the past.) We don't want to be the only social outlet nor are we opposed to the expansion of options for independents and Greeks.
We just don't want to be torn down so that something else can be built up. We have a right to exist, and coexist, as responsible members of the Dartmouth community.
*Kevan Higgins is a junior majoring in political science and Spanish. He is treasurer for the Co-ed Fraternity and Sorority Council and a member of Bones Gate fraternity.