Dartmouth pushes radical change in campus life

After a hard look at student life on campus, the trustees and president of Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., have decided it's time for change. In a controversial move, they're targeting a more than 150-year-old way of life: the Greek house system.

Like many colleges, Dartmouth is grappling with issues such as alcohol abuse and gender relations. To that end, administrators last month announced principles that will guide social and residential life at the Ivy League school starting in the 1999-2000 school year:

*There should be greater choice and continuity in residential living and improved residential space.

*There should be additional and improved social spaces controlled by students.

*The system should be substantially coeducational and provide opportunities for greater interaction among all Dartmouth students.

*The abuse and unsafe use of alcohol should be eliminated.

Alumni and students have reacted in particular to Principle No. 3 -which stands to change single-sex fraternities and sororities to co-ed Greek houses or to eliminate the Greek system altogether.

As part of the Monitor's "On Campus" forum, we've given Dartmouth students past and present an opportunity to weigh in. Their debate, while personal, touches on issues applicable to other schools with Greek systems.

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