Alumni Petition Against Hazing and Violence
TO THE KIM ADMINISTRATION:
We, the undersigned, are Dartmouth alumni. We are disturbed, but not surprised, at the allegations made by Andrew Lohse ‘12 in his recent op-ed piece on hazing in The Dartmouth.
As alumni, we have experienced the effects of hazing first hand. Many of us have participated in brutal and degrading hazing rituals and have come to regret it. Most of us also felt the effects of hazing on our peers: we have counseled friends who suffered emotional breakdowns after a brutal week of pledge meetings; we have lost friends to the pledging process, and seen them transform into shadows of their former selves; we have watched our friends become alcoholics; we have seen them fall behind in class work and fail out of school.
All of us have witnessed how hazing has ravaged our Dartmouth community. We have seen how, at their worst, Greek pledge terms:Undermine the commitment to intellectualism and academic enthusiasm promised by a Dartmouth education. During pledge term, pledges frequently select the lightest course load possible and routinely struggle to keep up with their work.Institutionalize binge drinking. This often enables widespread alcoholism that, for too many Dartmouth students, leads to medical leaves, underage drinking arrests, and addictions that persist years after graduation.Encourage a culture of violence that directly contributes to the verbal and physical harassment of women, LGBT people, and people of color, as well as sexual assault and rape.
We have been deeply troubled with the administration’s response to this crisis. We hoped that the Kim administration – which had promised to bring a sensible health ethos to campus – would finally, and directly, address this issue. To our dismay and anger, the administration has responded with evasive PR strategies and outright lies.
We completely agree with the Dartmouth faculty who stated in their open letter to the administration that decades of unchallenged hazing on Dartmouth’s campus amounts to “moral thuggery.” We echo the faculty’s two demands:
The Dartmouth administration must insist, and take measures to ensure, that all organizations accept Dartmouth’s core values of mutual respect, non-discrimination, inclusivity, and openness.The Dartmouth administration must set up a completely independent commission, composed of professionals in violence prevention, public health, harm reduction and education, to fully investigate and openly address this issue. We believe that professionals from outside the Dartmouth community are necessary to ensure transparency and thoroughness.
We do not believe that solving this problem necessitates the end of student-run social life at Dartmouth. We urge the administration to work with students and alumni to devise creative solutions that maintain the best elements of tradition and the Dartmouth experience, without hiding from the darker sides of our culture.
Hazing, and the myriad emotional, psychological, and physical damages it inflicts on the Dartmouth community, have persisted for far too long. It is absolutely shameful that the American higher educational community now associates Dartmouth with “the vomlette.” And it is a shame that it is not undeserved.
In Dartmouth lore there exists a gross misconception that all Dartmouth alumni explicitly support the Greek system as it currently exists, and that they implicitly condone hazing, brutal pledging, and other violent and unethical practices associated with this system.
This is no longer acceptable. It is time for us and others to speak out.
We, the undersigned Dartmouth alumni, hereby refuse to financially contribute to the Dartmouth experience until the Kim administration acknowledges our voices and responds promptly to our demands. We know there are some alumni who support the status quo. We believe there are many, many more of us who do not and will be heard.