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A Faculty Response to Hazing at Dartmouth

Feb. 2nd, 2012

As Dartmouth faculty, it is our ethical and institutional duty to actively engage in the community dialogue on hazing and fraternities that was sparked by Andrew Lohses op-ed piece in The Dartmouth. These are serious issues that aect our lives, our teaching, our community, and the guiding principles set out in Dartmouths Mission and Principle of Community. Hazing is physically, emotionally, and psychologically damaging. It infantilizes and brutalizes students. It degrades their ability to learn and our ability to teach. It breaks down their understanding of right and wrong, of decency and indecency, and the lines between healthy sexuality and sexual assault. Left unchallenged, it inures and habituates all of us to moral thuggery. Hazing at Dartmouth is nothing new: it has been an open secret for decades. Many of us have heard about hazing from our students, noticed absences during pledge periods and seen humiliating paraphernalia that mark students as pledges. Its not uncommon to see students in class during pledge periods hung over and unable to participate. How does this square with our mission, our core values, and our principle of community? These Greek organizations operate and in some cases are constituted directly in opposition to the values the College holds dear: Dartmouth prepares students for responsible leadership; hazing is leadership by intimidation. Dartmouth encourages independence of thought; hazing enforces conformity. Dartmouth embraces the principle of non-discrimination; many of these houses are constituted on the basis of sex and gender discrimination. Dartmouth values a community marked by mutual respect; hazing humiliates students, degrading and victimizing aggressors and victims alike. This culture of violence is, to a large degree although not exclusively, based in the Greek system. It contributes to the verbal and physical harassment of women, LGBT people, and people of color on this campus. It is responsible for many instances of sexual assault and rape. Students maintain a code of silence and culture of complicity about this violenceoften to protect their Greek houses, but also because they fear ostracism. Indeed, they sometimes fear they will be attacked if they speak out. While the Kim administration has tried to address some of these serious problems, it has not insisted these organizations accept Dartmouths core values of mutual respect, non-discrimination, inclusivity, and openness. We challenge the Kim administration to require these organizations and others on campus to adopt Dartmouths core values, and hold them accountable as every other group and member of this institution is held accountable every day. We urge the administration to work closely with the faculty to set up an independent commission composed of professionals in violence prevention, public health, harm reduction and education to bring compliance. This can be done. Colleges and universities, some similar to Dartmouth, have dramatically reduced hazing while improving the quality of student social life. The College must seize the opportunity to confront these issues forthrightly and courageously, not only to improve Dartmouths reputation, but fundamentally to insure the emotional, psychological, and physical well being of its students. Act now! These guiding principles animate Dartmouths social compact: http://www.dartmouth.edu/home/about/mission.html http://www.dartmouth.edu/upperde/principles

Sincerely,

The following 105 members of the Dartmouth faculty:


Brian Greenhill, Government Peter Hackett, Theater Robert Hawley, Earth Sciences Pati Hernandez, WGST Susannah Heschel, Religion Jeremy Horowitz, Government James Horton, Theater Alexis Jetter, English Keala Jewell, French and Italian Irene Kacandes, German Studies Nelson Kasr, Government (Emer.) Phyllis B. Katz, MALS Program Tristan Kay, French and Italian Barbara S. Kreiger, MALS Program Lawrence Kritzman, French & Italian Jon Kull, Chemistry John Kulvicki, Philosophy John Lamperti, Mathematics Ned Lebow, Government Nancy G. Lin, Religion Thomas H. Luxon, English Christopher MacEvitt, Religion Jonna Mackin, IWR Frank Magilligan, Geography Annabel Martin, Span. & Portuguese Irma Mayorga, Theater Mark A. McPeek, Biological Sciences Brian Miller, Studio Arts Carlos Minchillo, Span. & Portuguese Sharlene Mollett, Geography Jim Moor, Philosophy Lourdes Gutirrez Njera, Anthropol. e a Joseph B. Nelson, History (Emeritus) William W. Nichols, IWR Annelise Orleck, History Terry Osborne, Environmental Stud. Tanalis Padilla, History Soo Sunny Park, Studio Art Misagh Parsa, Sociology Scott Pauls, Mathematics Elizabeth Polli, Span. & Portuguese Courtney Quaintance, French & Ital. Julia Rabig, WGST Israel Reyes, Spanish and Portuguese Russell Rickford, History Peter J. Robbie, Engineering Melissa Yang Rock, Geography Adina Roskies, Philosophy Naaborko Sackeyo, History Irasema Saucedo, Span. & Portuguese Ivy Schweitzer, English Je Sharlet, English Walter P. Simons, History Roger Sloboda, Biological Sciences Chris Sneddon, Geography Silvia Spitta, Spanish and Portuguese Leo Spitzer, Jewish Stud. (Emeritus) Richard Stamelman, Comp. Lit. Soyoung Suh, AMES John Thorstensen, Physics Peter Travis, English Catherine Tudish, English Roger Ulrich, Classics Kenneth Walden, Philosophy Michelle Warren, Comp. Lit. D.G. Webster, Environmental Studies Barbara Will, English Margaret Williamson, Classics Lee A. Witters, Medicine & Biochem. Melissa Zeiger, English

Francine Aness, WGST Txetxu Aguado, Span. & Portuguese Claudia Anguiano, IRW James Aronson, Earth Sciences Alexander Barnett, Mathematics Renee Bergland, WGST Miles P. Blencowe, Physics Carol Bohmer, Government Susan Brison, Philosophy Michael Bronski, WGST Ann Bumpus, Philosophy Leslie Butler, History Colin Calloway, Native Am. Studies Woon-Ping Chin, English Mary Coey, Art History Ada Cohen, Art History Katharine Conley, French & Italian Thomas H. Cormen, Computer Sci. Helen Damon-Moore, WGST Mona Domosh, Geography Scot Drysdale, Computer Science N. Bruce Duthu, Native Am. Studies Laura Edmondson, Theater Ford Evans, Theater Jennifer Fluri, Geography Linda Fowler, Government Nancy Frankenberry, Religion Susanne Freidberg, Geography Elsa Garmire, Engineering Alysia Garrison, English Andrew Garrod, Education Amy Gladfelter, Biological Sciences Carolyn Gordon, Mathematics Ronald M. Green, Religion Udi Greenberg, History