Dartmouth Student Newspaper Front-Page Editorial: ‘Abolish the Greek System’

Greek life as we know it needs to end now, according to The Dartmouth.

In a special front-page editorial published yesterday, the Dartmouth University student newspaper called for an immediate elimination of the Greek system at the Ivy League school.

Under a four-word headline stretching across the entire page, top of the fold — “Abolish the Greek System” — Dartmouth editors laid out a list of Greek-related ills.

As they note, in part, “The Greek system undeniably enables and institutionalizes harmful behaviors. No, Greek life is not the root of all the college’s problems or of broader societal ills. But as a system, it amplifies students’ worst behavior. It facilitates binge drinking and sexual assault. It perpetuates unequal, gendered power dynamics and institutionalizes arbitrary exclusivity. It divides students — the system as a whole separates freshmen from upperclassmen, men from women. Membership draws lines among friends. … Abolish it. … [T]he safety and security of our future students depends on it.”

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In a separate letter from the editor, Dartmouth EIC Lindsay Ellis explains:

Printing a front-page editorial was not a decision that I took lightly, especially because of how deeply I care about objectivity in journalism. … But today, our editorial board had to put it all on the table, and we had to do it on page one. Printing The Dartmouth’s editorial on the front page over Homecoming weekend — when hundreds of alumni flood back to campus — aims to show our readership how much is at stake. We urge community members to give more weight to what we feel is the right path forward. Think through what could be accomplished at Dartmouth if we abolish the Greek system. Now let’s talk about it.”

As I’ve previously posted, the university and student paper first earned a burst of Greek-related media attention in January 2012 when the Dartmouth published an op-ed detailing an undergrad’s misadventures in an allegedly hazing-friendly fraternity.

The personal piece by then-senior Andrew Lohse outlined many degrading acts he said he’d endured in 2010 while pledging a frat at the school. In the confessional, headlined “Telling the Truth,” Lohse wrote, “I was a member of a fraternity that asked pledges, in order to become a brother, to: swim in a kiddie pool full of vomit, urine, fecal matter, semen, and rotten food products; eat omelets made of vomit; chug cups of vinegar, which in one case caused a pledge to vomit blood; drink beers poured down fellow pledges’ ass cracks; and vomit on other pledges, among other abuses. Certainly, pledges could have refused these orders. However, under extreme peer pressure and the desire to ‘be a brother,’ most acquiesced.”

The frankness of the piece — and the misdeeds it describes occurring behind Ivy-covered walls — led to a bevy of rapid shares and shocked responses from online readers. It also triggered a campus hazing investigation, a ton of press coverage (including a prominent feature in Rolling Stone) and a book deal for Lohse.

Related

‘Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy’: Student Newspaper Hazing Op-Ed Becomes a Book

Dartmouth Student Newspaper Special Issue Explores ‘Lives Affected by Sexual Assault’

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