Faculty members at Dartmouth College voted, 116-13, Monday to ban the college's fraternities and sororities and to abolish the Greek system.
Similar votes have taken place before and had no effect, but the past year has been marked by increasing anti-Greek sentiment on campus. Responding to a poll in August, hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and alumni said they would like to see the college's Greek system abolished. Last week, more than 230 of Dartmouth's 588 faculty members signed an open letter urging the college to do away with the Greek system. Earlier this month, the college's student newspaper devoted an entire front page to an editorial calling for abolition. At the same time, joining fraternities and sororities is still a popular choice for many Dartmouth students. More than half of eligible Dartmouth students are involved in the Greek system.
While the college has solicited campus opinions on how to change the campus social scene and Phil Hanlon, Dartmouth's president, has spoken publicly about attempts to clean up Dartmouth's hard-partying and rowdy reputation, the administration has remained quiet about whether abolishing the Greek system would be part of a potential solution. Hanlon was silent during the faculty meeting Monday, wrote Joseph Asch, a Dartmouth graduate who once ran for a seat on the college's board of trustees.
"Not a word to counterbalance the cant and ire of an angry mob that had little time for debate yesterday, that called out angrily for an immediate vote on its motion to abolish Greek institutions that have been in place for generations," Asch wrote on his website the Dartblog. "Perhaps Phil is keeping his powder dry? Perhaps he is working behind the scenes to encourage moderation before the social engineers conduct surgery on a central aspect of Dartmouth?"
The college declined to comment Tuesday.