A $36 million improvement program of new construction may cripple the powerful fraternity system at Amherst College.
Allocations under the program include funds for building five new upperclass dormitories. The projected dorms, besides offering generally superior rooms, will be social centers with parietal privileges and other benefits now available only to fraternity members.
Many students are expected to desert the Greek-letter organizations for the new rooms opening in September, 1963. One Amherst freshman said yesterday that "The only excuse the fraternities have for existence now is the social life. After these new dormitories go up, the fraternities won't have a chance."
The college currently practices "100 per cent rushing": any freshman who wants to can gain admittance to some fraternity. Because the present social life revolves around the frats, few freshmen refuse to pledge.
In addition to dormitory construction, the program provides allotments for a library, a science center, another center for the humanities, and a hundred-per-cent increase in faculty pay by 1972.