Five Greek Councilors Protest Rush
Council Leaders Say Greek Life At College Must Be Changed
Hanover — Earlier this month, five members of Dartmouth College’s Panhellenic Council, the governing body of the college’s eight Greek sororities, emailed a campuswide public announcement stating that they believed the Greek system is flawed and that they were therefore abstaining from winter recruitment.
The women spoke on behalf of themselves. Their sororities are all participating in the term’s recruitment.
The five seniors listed the “glorification of alcohol” in the Greek system, the costs to students of “going Greek” and the superficiality within the sorority recruitment process as issues at Dartmouth that they believe need to be addressed.
“For too long, as members of the Greek community, we have recognized our own system’s flaws yet failed to be proactive in creating change. Greek Life, at its core, is most available and empowering to those who can afford it, those who excel in the moral, physical and psychological challenges of pledge term, and those who can navigate a superficial recruitment process,” the Jan. 9 email said.
The email also called for immediate expulsion of students found guilty of rape and to heighten awareness of sexual assaults.
“We as sorority members must stop blindly empowering fraternities in cases when they fail to create safe spaces for all sorority members and members of the community,” the email said.
It also said “Greek life is exorbitantly expensive, and that an institution which dominates our social scene should not be both exclusive and prohibitively costly for some people.”
Dues to belong to a sorority may be as much as $450 per term.
The email also asserted that the Panhellenic Council “has failed to provide inclusive, and consistently welcoming spaces for women of color, non-gender-conforming individuals, and women who deviate from the sorority ideal in general.”
The five students, who comprise half the members of the Panhellenic Council, went on to say that their abstention from the winter rush would give them the time to start working on solutions.
Dartmouth senior Eliana Piper, president of the Panhellenic Council and one of the abstaining executives, explained that the group has wanted to address these issues for some time.
“Each of us were first elected during our sophomore summer and then again for our senior year and having that more long-term experience in our positions, we realized that there were recurring issues,” Piper said. “But having to deal with the day-to-day activities and responsibilities it was hard to focus on the big picture. We felt like we kept having to table those issues.”
Piper said that the timing of the announcement was also a result of the council members wanting to have concrete actions and solutions prepared that they could present to campus.
“We felt that the best way to put these issues in the forefront and to get campus talking about them was to do something public and use that as a call to our leaders,” Piper said.
Though the email has elicited discussion on campus, the remainder of the Panhellenic Council, as well as many sororities and eligible students, have proceeded with winter recruitment. (In addition to eight Greek sororities, there are three other sororities at Dartmouth.)
Dartmouth’s winter rush period for sophomores and juniors ends as of tonight. The sororities also have one in the fall, and first-year students cannot participate in either.
Sophomore Madeline O’Parish is currently participating in winter recruitment and said that she is well aware that the Greek system and the recruitment process are flawed.
“Their abstention brings a lot of good attention to the issue and I appreciate them sticking up for what they believe in,” O’Parish said. “But I think I’ll be able to better form an opinion when I’m behind the scenes in the Greek system and can see what I think for myself.”
Emily Eisner, a senior who is unaffiliated with Greek organizations, said that the announcement is “overdue but courageous and well-justified.
“I think that I have never really thought the Greek system does any good for Dartmouth, so I’ve been waiting for this for a while,” Eisner said. “But I noticed a lot of discussion between unaffiliated and affiliated people in the spring and I think there’s been a lot of rising energy between the two concerning these problems and issues, so it was only a matter of time before the people in power had something to say about it,” she said.