Yesterday’s release of the Greek Life Steering Committee’s final report can be greeted with, if nothing else, relief. In progress since the very beginning of Fall term, this report — the most recent step in the implementation of the Student Life Initiative — was meant to change the face of the Greek system.
It will not.
But for that, some Coed Fraternity Sorority organizations are to be commended, for they already organize the activities, have in place the infrastructure and embody the principles that are recommended as mandates by the GLSC.
At its most basic level, though, the GLSC report is about responsibility, most importantly, the responsibility of CFS houses to play a positive role in the Dartmouth community. Those houses that embrace the idea that community and respect must be reflected in all aspects of Greek life and, perhaps more importantly, those that embrace paperwork will thrive.
Yet if the administration is to demand increased responsibility of both Greek individuals and organizations, it must be certain to demand commensurate responsibility of itself. The manner in which the report was developed and released has been highly questionable. Over three months overdue — an eternity in a world ruled by the D-Plan — and published without the support some of its members or comprehensive review, the report’s final phase was an administrative disaster. Student claims that their opinions were overridden by the administration brings into question the College’s willingness to accept the student input for which they call.
Regardless, with the report’s submission, the administration has a final chance to decide whether this report will be implemented in such a way as will enable the Greek system to grow or will handicap it into gradual self-destruction.
While the ideals expressed in the Principle of Community are unquestionably the true essence of what the College offers its students, it has until now been exactly what its name indicates: a principle. And while it will remain so for the unaffiliated portion of Dartmouth — ranging from students to faculty to administrators to non-Greek organizations — the GLSC recommendations that the Principle becomes encoded in rules for the CFS system mean that the system is now being held, officially, to a higher standard.
In reality, however, several Greek houses have already been held to this higher standard over the past few months. The administration has made the commendable decision that acts of misogyny and other violations of the ideals on which the Greek system was founded will no longer be swept under the rug.
CFS organizations now know explicitly and officially what is expected of them. There may be no more excuses for such shortcomings.