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Susan McGaw, "Only Action Brings Changes," Hanover College Triangle, 22 Nov. 1964.

During Perspectives there was a lot of talk about change, about righting all the wrongs of the world. People communicated with each other openly and honestly. Many reassessed their views. Others substantiated those ideals already held. After the guests had left students were faced with the question "What can we do?" They looked around and found the nearest thing to them to attack and to righteously change.

What they found was the Greek system. They decided to change it. A meeting was called between representatives of the four sororities, who were charged with having racial clauses in their constitutions, and some independents. What could have been a constructive meeting, resulted in an emotional, name-calling, finger-pointing session. The representatives were accused of being members of racial organizations. They defended themselves by saying that the racial clauses in their constitutions had been deleted several years ago. They went on to add that each house had been working for the past three years within their own organizations writing resolutions and pressuring their nationals to change their antiquated values. Maybe in the "conflicting" atmosphere no one understood what the other was saying. One segment labelled the other "racists." The other segment denied the accusation. This seemed to be the result of the confrontation-a lack of communication and a greater barrier raised between the Greeks and Independents-two groups which could do a lot for each other.

A meeting, such as the above, is illustrative of what happens when people grasp for change, more for the sake of change, than for progress. More often than not, the outcome becomes the division of people, who in this instance, are working for the same goal. This fact might have been realized if the accusers had stopped for a moment and examined the Greek system as a whole. They would have found that two of Hanover's national fraternities were the first chapters to take Negroes into their membership; that one of the fraternities has three-fifths of Hanover's male Negro population in its house. These are factors to consider, especially when some of the supposedly progressive Big Ten schools can not cite similar statistics.

Yes, change would be fabulous. But it won't evolve from verbal arraignments or by advocating boycotting the "System," Greek or whatever. Change, effective change, is wrought by a rational attack of the problems by both sides. Then through practical solutions both may work to amend the prejudices and injustices of society. A divided group vocalizing a need for change, won't accomplish anything.


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Caroline Brunner (HC 2018) selected this article for Learning in Black and White, a study of African Americans at Hanover College from 1832 to 1980.
This is a faithful transcription of the text as it appears in the print version of the Triangle, available at the Hanover College Archives.



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