Surprise, Surprise – More Beta Fun

Andy already linked to the barrage of Beta-centric articles in the D; both of the comic strips in today’s issue also mine the situation for laughs (I’m using “laughs” in the loosest sense possible here; the cartoons in The Daily Dartmouth hardly represent the pinnacle of visual humor.)

I thought Victoria Fener 08’s editorial in the D today was great. She touched on all the main grievances that AZD sisters (together with, it seems, much of campus) have with the College’s unsatisfactory management of the Beta situation without coming off as shrill:

– First, the obvious: Beta does have “every right” to return. They own the house, and they could have come back at any time to operate as an unofficial frat; at least they have been aiming for official re-recognition by working through the administration. The outcry against the manner of their return faults the administration (for bending the rules of re-recognition, not finding appropriate housing alternatives for AZD, etc.), not Beta alums who (obviously) want to see their old house back.
– However, a house twenty-five minutes away from campus in which, at most, seven girls can reside is not an appropriate physical plant for a sorority that has, in the past, actively contributed to campus social life.
– Alpha Xi Delta should have been given more notice regarding the re-recognition of Beta.
– Money may have played a significant role in the reinstatement.
This point I’m iffy about; much of the outcry about the influence of wealthy Beta alums (at this point) seems to be mere conjecture. Plus, it’s a bit naive to think that the College simply shouldn’t ever take finances into consideration when making decisions. However, this would be something worth looking into.
– The College is breaking its own rules banning any new (or restored) local single-sex Greek organizations.
I think most people at Dartmouth, Victoria included, don’t support the ban on local sororities or fraternities – after all, local sororities are a great example of “female-controlled social spaces” that are open to campus. Beta returning as a local would not be a problem, except for the fact that the rules seem to have been bent especially for them.

Anyway, we’ll see how this all pans out. It’s unrealistic at this point to expect Beta to “back down” and not return after their negotiations with the College, but hopefully a better alternative can be found for the new AZD house.

[I should mention that I’m an active member of Alpha Xi Delta (as is Lauren, our graphics editor); I feel that I speak for a lot of women on campus in not faulting Beta wanting to return to their physical plant — 6 Webster Avenue is their property, after all — but in objecting to the way in which the College has handled the situation.]

Edited to add: Dave Nachman gives his two cents on the issue over at SuperDartmouth. He makes several good points, especially when noting that Alpha Phi, the new sorority, was not granted the same exception that Beta has been given. Some of the comments on the post are pretty apt, too.