Colby is one of many elite Northeastern colleges to have eliminated frats on campus. Thirty years after Greek life drew to a close, former dean Earl Smith, Professor of Government Cal Mackenzie, and Vice President for Administration Douglas Terp ’84 reflect on the transition.

Mackenzie began teaching at the College in 1978, a year before the war on frats began with the arrival of President William R. Cotter. Cotter organized a commission—including alumni, students, and faculty, as well as Earl Smith as its secretary—to hold hearings, and in 1984 the commission voted unanimously to do away with the system.

“If you have roughly a third of the campus in all-male housing that can self-select, you’ve already set up a little bit of a conflict on gender,” Terp, a member of both the commission and a fraternity, said. “Not having that seems to be an improvement from the start.”