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Thursday, Jun 20, 2024

Editorial Taking Responsibility

Author: [no author name found]

Taking Responsibility

The events following Alpha Delta Phi's (ADP) Homecoming football game half time show in which a pledge exposed himself to spectators, including students, faculty, administrators, alumni and citizens of the town of Middlebury, called into question who is ultimately responsible for the incident that caused the pledge process for all social houses to be shut down for two days.

Donald Anselmi '04 acted irresponsibly and without regard for the appearance of his pledge class and social house when he revealed parts of his body to the crowd. Following the incident, however, he has taken steps to remedy the situation by writing a letter printed in The Middlebury Campus apologizing for his behavior. Anselmi does bear much of the responsibility for his actions and is aware of how his behavior was perceived as offensive to many in the crowd.

While Anselmi has taken responsibility for his actions, there was concern among members of The Campus editorial board that ADP must also step up and recognize that the house is implicated in the situation as well. The incident occurred during a public pledge event, in a venue more public than most. As with all other pledge events, it was organized and overseen by ADP's leadership. It is up to those leading any pledge process to make sure that the pledges are aware of their actions and how others will perceive those actions.

ADP has in fact claimed full responsibility for Anselmi's actions and declared that its leadership will also issue full apologies to the administration and those offended by Anselmi's actions. In addition, ADP members will be carrying out community service projects to rebuild their house's image. These steps are both proper and necessary and show that ADP is willing to step up and take the consequences of its pledge's actions.

In looking at the social house system as a whole, an Inter-House Council (IHC) proposal that went into effect last year placed greater responsibility and accountability on the houses collectively. One of its tenets states that if deviations from the education process of pledge occurs in a certain house, events for all houses will be postponed and members of the IHC will meet with members of the administration to address the specific issues and to remedy any infractions of pledge guidelines as a group. One such case is the suspicion of alcohol use in pledge activities, which was called into question after the half time show.

This time, the two-day suspension of the entire pledge process was successful and allowed all of the houses to evaluate their performance thus far, showing that the greater accountability of the social houses as a whole is a legitimate and effective measure. We suggest, however, that the IHC clarify the respective roles of individuals and the social houses that they belong to if such cases of individual actions arise in the future. By creating a uniform policy for dealing with infractions of College pledge policy or disciplinary actions, the efficacy of the IHC's leadership can be strengthened. We commend ADP for taking action and assuming responsibility for its pledge, and we issue a call to other social houses to take collective action should such incidences occur in the future.