Dartmouth Fraternity Hazing Scandal: Time for a Fresh Look at Greek Pledge Process

A column by a Dartmouth University student outlining the many degrading acts he endured while pledging a fraternity in 2010 has earned national attention for its extremely candid glimpse at hazing.

As senior Andrew Lohse wrote at one point in the piece, headlined “Telling the Truth”: “I was a member of a fraternity that asked pledges, in order to become a brother, to: swim in a kiddie pool full of vomit, urine, fecal matter, semen and rotten food products; eat omelets made of vomit; chug cups of vinegar, which in one case caused a pledge to vomit blood; drink beers poured down fellow pledges’ ass cracks; and vomit on other pledges, among other abuses. Certainly, pledges could have refused these orders. However, under extreme peer pressure and the desire to ‘be a brother,’ most acquiesced.”

He also makes a rather startling claim— one backed up the university– that his complaint to the university at the time failed to trigger much action because he wanted to remain anonymous.  My first reaction: Of course he wanted to maintain anonymity!  Why should that negate a proper investigation?  He has now lent his name to a piece offering a staggering array of charges against the school and the frat.

Bottom line: The column should absolutely serve as a trigger for a renewed look at hazing practices and reporting procedures.

Questions for a Related Report

Is hazing happening in any form among student groups on your campus, including within Greek orgs or athletic teams?  Depending, what exactly is going on?  How much of it is public?  How much of it is considered off-limits by the school or by law?  Who is being affected?  Any new trends or, nowadays, digital elements?  What are the reactions of those who have been through it, including alumni?  What is your school’s official policy and who is the point-person on handling complaints and investigations?  What are the related investigation procedures?  How are the parent organizations/national chapters involved?  How does oversight and enforcement work with groups operating from off-campus housing or ‘underground’?

Multimedia Options

1) A photo slideshow or video report following a single fraternity or sorority pledge class as they endure the process of becoming a full-blown brother or sister.  2) A photo rundown of the funnier, more public, and more lighthearted hazing stunts, such as the odd clothes, props or facial hairs some pledges and new student-athletes must wear, carry with them or grow.  3) A narrative slideshow displaying undercover video of hazing incidents or simply photos of Greek houses or other relevant B-roll while an anonymous student voice brings us behind the scenes of this behavior.

Offbeat Option

A first-person report in which an intrepid staffer goes through the more public or offbeat hazing rituals laid out each year by campus clubs or teams.

2 Responses to “Dartmouth Fraternity Hazing Scandal: Time for a Fresh Look at Greek Pledge Process”
  1. These practices are appalling. It’s a crime, I should say.

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