A former Dartmouth frat boy has accused his ex-frat of disgusting hazing practices involving vomit, shit, urine, and what can only be termed "butt beer." Dartmouth authorities say his allegations are false, but are these hazing practices merely par for the course?
Here's the part of former Sigma Alpha Epsilon brother Andrew Lohse's editorial in The Dartmouth that's going to get copied and pasted everywhere:
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.
Lohse adds, "As a pledge, I ceased to be a human being; instead, I became 'whale shit.' In the process, I, my fellow pledges and all pledges since, have been implicitly encouraged to treat Dartmouth women with about the same respect with which we treated each other in our social spaces: none." He also accuses the Dartmouth authorities of doing little to investigate or stop hazing, despite being aware of the problem, and concludes thus: "We can end the abuse. It is a small college, but there are those of us who feel the need to tell the truth about it."
University officials, however, tell The Dartmouth that they did investigate those claims when he first reported them, in 2010, and found no evidence of hazing. In one case, they actually "staked out" an area of campus where they'd heard pledges would be hazed, and watched with night vision goggles — they saw nothing out of the ordinary. In another case, though, they just interviewed the president of SAE, who said Lohse's accusations were false — which is neither surprising nor particularly conclusive. And Dartmouth Chief of Staff David Spalding said they weren't able to do more because Lohse insisted on remaining anonymous:
It is most beneficial for us in these situations for a student to be willing to speak on the record, speak as a witness, identify individuals and provide evidence on that basis. [Lohse] was not willing to do that.
If school officials feel they can only fully investigate hazing if a student is willing to expose himself to retaliation, they're not doing a very good job. And there is, in fact, some evidence that SAE were doing gross shit to each other — ironically, from an incident Lohse was a part of. In May 2010, Lohse and other SAE members were arrested for doing coke off of pictures of SAE alums. Lohse was also charged with witness tampering — after another frat member, Phil Aubart, reported the coke use to the police, Lohse spat on him and later poured a beer on his door. Aubart also said that frat members peed on his door, "which seeped into his old room in the fraternity and 'soiled a pair of socks that were lying on the floor,'" and that they chopped up a table he had made and grilled it. This doesn't quite rise to the level of kiddie pools full of vomit, but Lohse seems to know whereof he speaks.
It's not clear why Lohse, who certainly seemed to enjoy a bit of the ol' hazing in his day, is speaking out now. But he's been something of a shit-stirrer at Dartmouth for some time. Last year, he got some notice in national media for his column decrying the practice of Wall Street firms recruiting at Dartmouth — he wrote, "It's glaringly obvious that there is an inherent connection between the tragedy of wasted minds at Dartmouth and the proliferation of corporate, consulting and 'financial services' recruiting on our campus." Still, given reports of hazing at other schools (butt gangrene anyone?), I'd buy that similar shit is going down at Dartmouth. And Lohse, who was once a member in good standing-and-peeing-on-people's-stuff, would be pretty likely to know about it. Maybe it's time for the Dartmouth administration to pay more attention.