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The Hanover, N.H. school is proposing a major overhaul of student life in general. Dartmouth College last week released its long-awaited report on radically changing student life at the Hanover, N.H. campus, including a large-scale overhaul of the school's infamous Greek system. A committee reviewing the Greek system that inspired the movie Animal House recommended that the coed, fraternity and sorority houses be held to stricter standards. Under the proposal, Greek organizations not complying would lose their houses, even if the houses are not owned by the school. "If we are going to have a Greek system at Dartmouth, it ought to be the best in the country," Trustee and committee Co-Chairwoman Susan Dentzer said. "It's not appropriate to accept anything less than that." The recommendations included eliminating pledging and moving rush to the winter term of sophomore year so that students have a chance to experience social options outside the Greek system. Eric Etu, the a Dartmouth junior who heads the school's Greek council, said the general reaction of students has been positive. Etu added that the Greek council members plan to submit a list of proposals by the end of February. "I feel very optimistic about where we will go from here," Dean of the College James Larimore said of his ongoing talks with various Greek leaders. The committee -- made up of faculty, students, alumni and administrators -- was formed last April to examine the Greek system after Dartmouth President James Wright and the school's trustees unexpectedly announced last February that they wanted to eliminate single-sex fraternities and sororities. The announcement came in conjunction with plans to overhaul the school's residential and social systems. The report cites continuing problems within the Greek community, including an episode in which several students with bullhorns climbed onto the balconies of at least two fraternities and made sexually suggestive remarks to female students walking below. The report noted many incidents of alcohol abuse in several of the Greek houses. To combat this, the committee recommended that Greeks convert their basements for general-purpose use. The report said this change would help eliminate some of the organizations' alcohol abuse. The committee's tour of the Greek houses prior to their report "offered a first-hand view of several fetid fraternity basements in which the stench of bodily fluids was pervasive." According to Etu, a large concern is that fraternities in general are going to have a "financial pinch" if the committee's recommendations are approved. "Greeks want a guarantee that if they put hundreds of thousands of dollars into renovations that they can't be arbitrarily removed," Etu said. Dentzer said some of the smaller fraternities and sororities might not be able to afford the recommended renovations, but that a lot of the organizations would rise to the new standards. In addition to excessive alcohol consumption, the report contends that the Greek system is selective in ways that might not be in line with the spirit of community, as "some non-affiliated students told the committee that they were so fearful of rejection that they chose not to apply to [Greek] houses for membership." The committee proposed that annual reviews of all selective student social organizations be conducted beginning in June 2001 and that a five-year review be made in 2005, after which the institutions would be subject to de-recognition if their progress were deemed below expectations.

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