Ramesh: A Modest Proposal

It is a melancholy object to those who walk through this great college when they see some of the most promising persons of the upcoming generation wasting their potential and dimming their intellectual capabilities every night. Sexual assault, hazing, binge drinking and intolerance are but a few of the consequences brought on by the prevalence of the fraternity system at the College. I think it is agreed by all parties that this male-dominated space has led to the exclusion of those who do not conform to the traditional gender norms of what society has decided constitutes a male. But my intention is very far from alienating those involved with the Greek system, as I believe they can be the primary agents for change. Indeed, there is an opportunity here that has been missed by most of the campus.

It is well known that the administration, and especially the student body, is only willing to change when significant, unfortunate tragedies occur. This institutional inertia is not something unique to Dartmouth College; absent a massacre of young children, gun control is never spoken about and, without a BP oil spill every several years, the push for clean energy is dismissed as just another utopian dream. The administration, unfortunately, has followed the path of most politicians, and rather than attempting to create real progress, it has chosen to treat our problems as a public relations issue.

Acute readers may remark on the short institutional memory inherent to any college. With a shifting student population, a matriculating freshman will undoubtedly push aside any tragedy that occurred four years ago by the time she is a senior. No doubt we have all disregarded parental advice from time to time. This is why we need a more engaged administration that is willing to truly help students, rather than simply canceling a day of classes as if to wash their hands of any sins. Has any true, lasting change come of this singular day allotted for discussion? I think not. Instead, we need a biannual program that encourages reflection, so as to remember and garner lessons from the past along with considering a better path for the future.

As philosopher Paulo Freire has noted, the old banking model of education is a broken and oppressive tool where professors are elevated, and students transformed to become passive recipients of knowledge, stripped of any true ability to think. Naturally, these discussions should be student-led. Indeed, when have children ever accepted their parents’ words at face value? People learn better from their peers. I do therefore humbly offer that every six months, we choose an individual to represent the cause of the administration for martyrdom. The best solution would no doubt be to choose a fraternity brother of low academic achievement and minimal extra curricular involvement; someone who does not contribute to the community in any tangible way, but at the same time is a popular face on campus who would be missed. Upon seeing this friend’s most unfortunate alcohol-related accident, no doubt many students will think twice before engaging in this unfortunate system, and a more reasonable moderation will result.

Let me be clear: I do not blame the fraternity brothers in any way. They are as much of the victims here as anyone else. To that end I suggest that, from time to time, the administration will have to pick a non-fraternity brother, preferably a freshman, and disguise their passing. This will help deter freshmen who are considering the rushing process to take care. The key, of course, is choosing the proper martyr and truly making his death appear to be a result of his own inability to stop drinking. This should not prove exceedingly difficult. My recommendation would be to simply walk around the campus on a major weekend and, of the passed out individuals on the lawns, choose the one with the highest blood alcohol content, then simply pump it up ever so slightly higher until the individual passes away.

I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I am as saddened as most of you when considering this course of action, but the dire circumstances of late have left the College with little choice. It is my hope that a healthy moderation will result from this, and that, combined with the continued dialogue, students will develop a more mature relationship with alcohol.

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