By WILLY BROWN
Recently, the Dartmouth published an editorial on the front page of their Homecoming issue calling for the abolition of the Greek system. Needless to say, it embroiled the campus in controversy. Many of my peers have weighed in on the editorial, and the D’s decision to publish it on the front page, saying that the editors of the D were on a “power trip,” and “hijacked the paper.” These statements are ones that I would agree with, but I would say that the D’s most egregious misstep in the writing of this editorial was that at no point was I ever consulted or asked to give my opinion on the issue.
There is no excuse for such an oversight. I can be reached by cell phone, facebook, or blitz. In fact, if any of the editors of the D had contacted me, I would have been more than willing to sit down with them for an in person chat over KAF to tell them the real truth about the Greek system.
The real problem with the D’s editorial was their refusal to listen to student voices, the most important being my own. If the D had taken the time to hear other, more nuanced opinions on the Greek system, for example mine, I am confident that they would not have taken such a brash and irrational stance. For example, as a part of my fraternity, I have made some of the best friends of my life. The bonds I have formed with my brothers are ones that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I would be shocked if this fact, and this fact alone, was not enough to convince the D’s editorial board that their position was misguided. If the D had even thought to reach out to me, even just shot me a text, they would have known that I, as a person who accurately represents most of Dartmouth, have never been the victim of racist, homophobic, or sexist remarks in a fraternity or sorority. These allegations are clearly false, propaganda propagated by a fringe group of pronoun enthusiasts. If anyone from the D had thought to do a little bit of fact checking, or at least contacted me for the facts, they would have found out that these accusations hold no weight.
Another buzzword that gets thrown around a lot during discussions of the Greek system, and that the D editorial board did not ask me about, is exclusivity. People have this idea that Greek houses are “exclusive” spaces that somehow “exclude” people. I can tell you now that this is false. This, I feel, is one of the most untrue and misguided criticisms of the Greek system that I’ve heard. I am no stranger to exclusivity in its many forms. I have found places like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton to be extremely exclusive, in addition to many campus groups, such as the Aires, the Dodecaphonics, and the Dog Day Players. However, to call the Greek system exclusive is the opposite of true. I was never excluded from my Greek house, in fact, I was offered a bid as soon as I rushed, and welcomed with open arms. As Dartmouth’s representative for all students, I can assure you that Greek Houses are nothing but welcoming spaces. Even at the most supposedly exclusive fraternity events, I have only ever felt warmly included. From tails, to formals, to meetings, I have never been excluded from any kind of event at my fraternity. Therefore, I maintain that these accusations of exclusivity, too, hold no weight, something that the Dartmouth would have learned had they had one conversation with me, even a short one in the comments section of a facebook post. What I’m saying is, there was no shortage of ways to contact me, and the responsibility for not doing so lies squarely on the D.
The bottom line is, the Dartmouth Editorial Board does not represent Dartmouth. Fringe groups like Real Talk, or the students who occupied Hanlon’s office last spring do not represent Dartmouth. The students who spoke out against the Greek system last year during the Great Debate do not represent Dartmouth. I represent Dartmouth, and so do you, provided that you agree with everything I believe. So I implore you, like-minded Dartmouth student, to be the change you wish to see in the world, and don’t be the change you don’t wish to see at Dartmouth. Because only we, the true voice of Dartmouth, can ensure that Dartmouth stays the same forever. Lest the old traditions fail.
Willy Brown ’15 is a guest columnist.