January 19, 2007

Two Letters

The D reports this morning that a fragmentary letter from an SA computer was leaked to them yesterday. The letter strongly criticizes the non-coed Greek organizations on campus, while praising coed houses. The letter also asserts that its author is the President of the Student Body which, as we all know, would be Tim if the letter is genuine and not spurious.

Following the reporting of the letter, the article turns to the resignation of David N*chman from the position of SA Secretary. Citing his disappointment with Tim for reporting Adam to UJAO, N*chman promises to lead the opposition against Tim, a job that I guess he'll have to share with Adam himself.

N*chman's letter, which he sent out to all of SA, describes an atmosphere of intense conflict between Adam and Tim on the Exec Board last term, but he lays all of the blame on Tim. I am not an SA Exec, but I have talked to individuals who are, as well as a number of members of the Palaeopitus Senior Society, which Tim and Adam both sit on, and they have described Adam as extraordinarily abrasive in debate, even yelling at people and shouting them down. This characterization has been consistent throughout each separate time I have talked with these individuals. However, if any readers have contradicting experiences coming from these fora (Exec Board or Palaeop), I would invite you to comment here. (Comment too if you'd like to confirm what I've heard.)

I further distrust N*chman's read of the situation because of the following paragraph from the resignation letter.
Tim’s confrontational approach towards dealing with our campus’ problems simply does not work. Since taking office last fall, tensions on campus have noticeably worsened. His view of the world reflects this, and he pits Greeks against non-Greeks, men against women, minorities against majorities, and liberals against conservatives. Most of Tim’s solutions seem to involve discussion sessions with Greek leaders and team captains, in order to try to convince them that their presumably conservative white Greek male views are wrong. Based on the events regarding the Native American community last fall, I believe that Dartmouth is on a dangerous course regarding campus unity and cooperation. Tim has done little to ease campus tensions, and his attitude may have exasperated problems.
If Dartmouth is on a dangerous course regarding campus unity and cooperation, it is only because there has never been any course toward unity and cooperation as long as I've been here. The social dynamic has certainly shifted, but it's not because some long-standing unity has been breached or cooperation abandoned. Letting the frats unquestionably dominate the campus is neither unity nor cooperation.

If Greek presidents and team captains are pissed because they now may have to be leaders with some obligations to the broader campus and not just to their own bands of brothers, then I say tough shit.
If some white students—the "majorities" N*chman refers to—are angry because they now have to recognize that there are minorities on campus, then I say get over it.
If conservatives are enraged because liberals are starting to tell them where they can stick their Indian-Head t-shirts, then so be it.
If that is "increased tensions," then I say tensions have never been high enough. In his letter, N*chman says he stands behind many of Tim's ideas, but he shows absolutely no understanding of the meaning of anything that's happened last term.

Edit: David has since contacted me explicitly denying that he leaked the letter. I had previously suggested that the coincidence of his resignation and the link was strange, but I now withdraw any suggestion that he had a hand in it.

27 comments:

  1. Anonymous11:06 AM

    Andrew Seal will defend Tim no matter what he does. Tim has pushed for acceptance and diversity and has stood against blanket and stereotypical statements. How can our SA president make a claim like this?
    "But in my four years here, I have found same-sex Greek organizations to do little more than provide a social setting for men to sexually objectify women and for women to engage in back-stabbing."

    Sororities and fraternities do a lot of good on this campus. They not only provide a significant aspect of social life, but they also are involved in community service and shape the experience for many Dartmouth students. Tim brushes this contribution aside in his quest against all campus majorities.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Let's start with the extreme: what would happen if Tim got his apparent wish, and the Greek system just disappeared from campus? Probably the same thing that happens at most other colleges when such action is taken: the greek system goes underground, where it is completely unregulated and contributes nothing whatsoever to the campus. Not to mention that the largest gifts to Dartmouth consistently come from Greek alumni; that is a large reason why the SLI failed so spectacularly.

    More to the point, I'm willing to be skeptical on this one. Maybe somebody did plant that letter to frame Tim. Even if that were the case, wouldn't somebody in Tim's position deny it as vigorously as possible? Tim has to know he's a polarizing figure; why would he so strongly attack and alienate 60% of the campus at a time when he needs more support than ever? I didn't care before, but on this one, Tim either needs to come clean and get in touch with reality, or step down, in favor of someone who will at least fix our fucking blitz terminals.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous12:13 PM

    Dan has a good point.

    Opponents of the greek system act as if it is something that can be abolished at will. Guess what? These are private organizations with very strong financial backing independent of the college and most own their own house. If derecognized, they will continue to exist and recruit - but without any regulation from the college.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Believe me, I think abolishing the Greek system is impossible and even if it were possible, inadvisable. One can be anti-Greek (I'd say I am) without being an abolitionist.

    My point is that this idea that the campus was united before Tim was president is just plain wrong. Unity is not built on silence and to suggest otherwise, as Nachman does, means you have no real clue what's been going on at this college at least for the past 35 years.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous1:33 PM

    The Greek system, as a structure, does not determine how its members will act. Instead of abolishing the Greek system, or being "anti-Greek," perhaps one should focus more on people than on institutions.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous1:39 PM

    I think it's interesting that Mr. Seal moves through the discussion of Tim's letter in a couple of sentences, failing to even quote a passage, before speding paragraphs (and a long block quote) on Mr. Nachman's letter.
    Seems to me that the SA President calling for the end of the greek system on campus is bigger news than the resignation of one SA member.
    But wait, could it be that Mr. Seal has no way defend Mr. Andreadis' actions, so therefore is trying to deflect the debate towards Mr. Nachman's letter?
    It's nice to see that the commenters see the real issue at stake here.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You can read the only available parts of the 'Greeks must go' on the D website. Nachman's letter was not quoted from in the story.

    Besides, I have nothing to say about a letter with a questionable provenance.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous2:01 PM

    A pox on all their houses. Irrelevant Douchebag A reports Irrelevant Douchebag B to authorities, so not Irrelevant Douchebag B is out to ruin Irrelevant Douchebag A by turning his irrelevant organization against him and sharing his irrelevant writings with the rest of the campus.

    None of these problems would have arisen if the College would just do away with the Student Assembly. Let these people pad their resumes some other way.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Can we stop with this "Greek orgs do a lot of community service" argument? LUL does a lot of community service. Theta Delt doesn't do a lot of community service. There are definitely some decent, service-minded dudes in Theta Delt (and in every frat for that matter) but let's stop pretending that social organizations are service organizations.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous3:41 PM

    The poor greek system. . . why does it always have to get drawn into these arguments?!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Max Schwartz4:10 PM

    I'm surprised that people are questioning the validity of this letter. First of all, in the D article, Tim admits to finding the letter on SA computers, stating "I was not sure which letter you showed me, but I was able to locate what I think you showed me on one of the SA computers...I can neither confirm nor deny having written that letter." Boy, that sure sounds like the outraged denial of someone who is being targeted by malicious falsehoods.
    Second, the language in the letter is not fundamentally different than the language in Tim's Op-Ed from Thursday. In the Op-Ed he describes "the sexist and homophobic climate that many on campus feel is endemic to the fraternity system." In this document he writes, "I have found same-sex Greek organizations to do little more than provide a social setting for men to sexually objectify women and for women to engage in back-stabbing." The only real difference here is tone (and the fact that he omits his criticism of soroities from the public letter). Clearly, an Op-Ed written during the heat of a crisis in which Tim is fighting for his political life is going to be more moderate than something he wrote when he was more secure in his power. The fact that Andrew Seal keeps referring to the letter's "questionable provenance" only shows how blinkered and biased his voice has become in this debate.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Max Schwartz4:17 PM

    Another point: I thought it was cute how Mr. Seal and some of the commenters have tried to paint this picture of an unholy alliance between the Review (the campus boogeymen) Chi Gam (angry because Tim's sexual assualt crusade will destroy their sketchy way of life) and Adam Shpeen's brainless cronies in order to impeach a noble leader like Tim Andreadis. Now, as more information comes out, it sure looks like there's a lot more going on here, right? Almost as if opposition is as broad based to Tim as we were always claiming?
    It seems to me like the real biases here are the ones held by bomb-throwing anti-fraternity types like Andrew and Tim--though I hate to use a term like bomb-throwing, because clearly Andrew wears it like a badge of pride. I wish there was something that could better encompass his true irrelevance.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Max, you were at the first SA meeting of the term, right? And you normally don't attend SA meetings, is that correct? And you're a member of Chi Gam? And, if you're actually honest, you'll admit that at that meeting, there were a lot of people there that, like you, normally don't go to SA meetings. And, again like you, many of these SA newbies were Chi Gams. You should be able to pick them out--they're your brothers.
    And then there were the Reviewers--nine of them, in fact. And those two groups made up the overwhelming majority of the people that Adam convinced to come to the meeting.

    Tell me if I've just said anything that's incorrect.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anonymous4:44 PM

    The absense of a clear denial from Tim in the interview or another form of communication today is surely proof that the letter was written by Timmy the "Straight-White-Male-Greek-Slayer" Andreadis himself. The points outlined are in line with Timmy's normal anti-majority rhetoric. I find it ironic that those who claim to be for elimination of stereotypes are so quick to deem the "white-greek" organizations as sexist, homophobic, and, as of late, racist.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Max Schwartz4:47 PM

    I don't deny the fact that there are both Reviewers and Chi Gams involved in what the D has dubbed the "reform movement." I merely resent your implication that we in no way represent a larger feeling on campus merely because you and your "cronies" don't respect the organizations we belong to. Don't build a straw man to prop up your weak arguments.

    Looking beyond Chi Gam and the Review, I can point to the other dozen or so new names on the list, all of whom are involved with the "reform movement" none of whom are affiliated with Chi Gam or the Review, who joined us because they believe the current leadership climate at SA needs to be changed.
    Using an organizational boogeyman such as Chi Gam insults your presumable intelligence.

    I'd also like to point out that you've decided to pull comments that slander people, but not comments that slander organizations (I'm thinking here of the "roofie truck" comment). If you feel the need to stoke anti-fraternity bias, at least be honest about it.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous4:50 PM

    You think you have this figured out don't you Seal? 9 reviewers and some Chi Gams. You repeatedly reference this group, yet you have no idea who is on Shpeen's side. There were over 80 present at the first meeting and normally 30-40 attend a SA meeting. Do the math Seal.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anonymous5:03 PM

    This shouldn't even be an issue. The fact is, while there may be some good things that have come out of fraternities, there is no reason to believe that the gender-segregated Greek system today needs to continue like this. The bigger issue is the inability of frat brothers to relate to women, which is largely because of the sexist culture that exist in frats. If they could relate to women better, frat bothers wouldn't have a problem letting women in. Why is segregation based on race any worse than segregation based on sex, in this case?

    And knowing Tim personally, I doubt his problem with sororities would merely have been that they're "backstabbing" organizations.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Max,
    I apologize--I missed the truck comment. i have now deleted the comment and reposted it without the truck line.

    Secondly, I have never implied that this coup was exclusively the work of Chi Gams and members of The Review nor have I ever denied the possibility that people brought different reasons for being there to the meeting. What I have asserted, and what I challenge you to deny outright, is that Adam organized the block rush tactic and that he initiated it for personal reasons. I am not asserting that this personal reason of Adam's precludes anyone from having their own reasons for disliking Tim or his job performance.

    But seriously, say Noah Riner's SA prez, and last term he reported me for something or other. Now, I walk into the first meeting of this term with a boatload of C&Gs and DFPers, and then a number of friends--people like Connor. Do you think you wouldn't view it as a) personally motivated and b) extremely evident that I've cobbled together a coalition that represents very little of the campus, even though most of the campus identifies as liberal and C&G is about 400 times more internally diverse than Chi Gam.
    Now, while a lot of these people in my little junta might have their own opinions about Noah, and a lot more outside of my cabal might also have negative opinions about him, I've clearly drawn people from my own bases and used personal connections to start a coup. No?

    ReplyDelete
  19. "The bigger issue is the inability of frat brothers to relate to women, which is largely because of the sexist culture that exist in frats. If they could relate to women better, frat bothers wouldn't have a problem letting women in. Why is segregation based on race any worse than segregation based on sex, in this case?"

    For one, the minuscule biological differences between races are entirely irrelevant. The biological differences between sexes are comparatively vast. Men and women undergo different changes and transitions, some of which are based upon gender constructs, other which are more likely based upon biology. There's no doubt that men and women today view each other as "other"; men have always portrayed women as such, and women, historically dominated, have portrayed men and perhaps each other as such, as well. Whether or not the mutual "otherness" of the two sexes is tenable is a difficult philosophical and biological question to tackle. I tend to see the merit in both sides of the argument, which makes it difficult to take a position.

    Perhaps most importantly, the vast majority of people consider themselves mostly or entirely heterosexual, and people our age are notoriously sexual. Sex and romance make relationships much more complex. Regardless of what sex you are, things like love, jealousy, attachment, and such usually come into play. These kinds of things make living in a tight-knit community a bit more difficult.

    If we were older adults, these differences might not matter. But I have the feeling that our transitional, highly sexual, turbulent stage in development makes same-sex organizations into a positive option. Clearly, the point of the Greek system is not to segregate the sexes; it's not a large part of most people's lives (although it does play a dominant role in the social scene).

    A lot of what I say is nothing more than speculation, but I think that it is more convincing than the notion that the Greek system is somehow inherently abusive or produces a male-dominated community. The male-dominated community is already there. It might be that, in a male-dominated community, exclusively-male organizations come to have a negative impact; however, I think that it's better to focus on the source of the problem, which is patriarchy, than things that the problem tends to corrupt, like the Greek system.

    I might be wrong about everything, but I think that I'm right in considering that this is not a black or white issue.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Anonymous3:10 PM

    "Can we stop with this "Greek orgs do a lot of community service" argument? LUL does a lot of community service. Theta Delt doesn't do a lot of community service. There are definitely some decent, service-minded dudes in Theta Delt (and in every frat for that matter) but let's stop pretending that social organizations are service organizations."

    I don't understand why these discussions always degenerate into community service hours debates. Yes, these houses are social organizations. I don't see anyone denying that. What do I see is plenty of people writing off any attempt by the Greeks to round out themselves and become more community minded. Every house on campus does a lot of community service. LUL may do more, but that doesn't negate the efforts of Theta Delt.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anonymous3:20 PM

    "Opponents of the greek system act as if it is something that can be abolished at will. Guess what? These are private organizations with very strong financial backing independent of the college and most own their own house. If derecognized, they will continue to exist and recruit - but without any regulation from the college."


    Good point for the frats. But the sororities would be in a different boat. Their houses are all owned by Dartmouth, except for Alpha Xi (they rent from Beta. And given a scenario where the Greeks are existing without regulation from the college, they would likely try to recolonize).

    So abolishing the Greek system would probably only succeed in abolishing the sororities - leaving women with no social space of their own.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous4:57 PM

    Nachman did not leak the letter. Tim wrote it, everyone on SA knows it, and the leaker was someone else. Nachman has denied leaking the letter and to claim he did is an injustice. He deserves a formal apology and a correction should be written.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anonymous5:00 PM

    hi!

    ReplyDelete
  24. 457: Don't be daft. I'm not going to apologize for pointing out a coincidence of events which seemed intensely suspicious. I don't have anything to correct.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Anonymous5:15 PM

    Andrew Seal: though it might seem suspicious, Nachman has been quoted as saying he did not leak the letter. To continue to claim that he did, and slander his name on a public forum, is unfair to him. The least you could do is let the readers of your blog know that Nachman has denied the leaking (or writing of the letter), which Tim has "neither confirmed nor denied" writing. Tim wrote it. Don't blame Nachman.

    ReplyDelete
  26. 515: I'm not trying to split hairs here, but I really have not seen any quote by Nachman that states that he did not leak that letter. I just did a search on The Dartmouth's website, and nothing that he has said asserts his non-involvement with the leak. I am not going to change something already written without that type of assertion. If you can provide it, however, I will be glad to.

    ReplyDelete
  27. [This was posted earlier by an anonymous commenter. I have been asked to redact David's full name and am doing so. The rest of the comment remains the same.]

    Let me begin by saying that I have my doubts about whether this letter was written by Tim Andreadis. It just seems too convenient that David N*chman "saw it open on a computer screen" and then was there to be interviewed by the D about it and his story really doesn't cut it for me. Let's think about this, disgruntle ex-exec leaves in a huff and writes a letter to all of the SA members expressing his disappointment in SA and Tim and then says that he saw this letter on the computer, a letter which will clearly cause Tim Andreadis to become even more unpopular. It's to convenient that someone leaked it to the D from an SA computer. I think this is just more of an attempt to stir shit and cause even more drama than before.

    Speaking of drama, I want to say that I am really disappointed with the amount of drama going on. Maybe its because I'm involved with SA and I'm watching it all first hand, but it is quite upsetting to see so many people in the Dartmouth community fighting and snarling at each other. When I came to this school I was under the impression that despite understandable tensions between groups the school's atmosphere was generally peaceful, This impression was clearly wrong. I am not saying that it is only this year that everything seems to have gone to shit, but that it has been years in the works which has resulted in this explosion of drama and frustration.

    As a student I am now questioning whether or not this is the type of school I want to be at. Where students run around bickering and polarizing themselves instead of trying to bridge gaps. moreover when people try to appease groups by offering suggestions like having a new mascot people dismiss the idea, say its stupid and don't even appreciate the fact that some groups are trying to offer solutions. It makes me sick and extremely pissed off that so many of as are so petulant and unappreciative. And so i'm suggesting that we try our best to suck up our pride, because yes a lot of us dartmouth students (including myself) are very proud, and we try and make amends instead of tearing down everything positive this school has to offer.

    ReplyDelete