Two years ago, Rolling Stone published a blistering indictment of Dartmouth's fraternity scene. On Wednesday, University President Phil Hanlon announced he's creating a special committee to "end harmful behavior, including sexual violence, high-risk drinking and exclusion in campus social spaces," according to The Dartmouth.
It's about time. Janet Reitman's Rolling Stone feature exposed "pervasive hazing, substance abuse and sexual assault" within the Greek system, "as well as an 'intoxicating nihilism' that dominates campus social life." One fraternity member reported that in order to pledge, he had to "swim in a kiddie pool of vomit, urine, fecal matter, semen and rotten food products; eat omelets made of vomit; chug cups of vinegar," and so on. Hanlon says the school has made some changes in recent years, but that they aren't enough:
We have taken important steps forward over the last several years, but progress does not equal success. We need to move faster. Risky and harmful behaviors stand between us and realizing Dartmouth’s amazing promise and potential. We cannot let that happen.
But it's not clear what, exactly, Hanlon plans to do, other than form this committee. At an invite-only summit with Hanlon last night, students brainstormed ways change Dartmouth's social culture while keeping it fun. Attendee Rachel Funk (class of 2015) told The Dartmouth that her breakout group discussed "the potential of trying to make student life more spontaneous, resembling the often-random social interactions of freshman year." Other suggestions were similarly vague.