"DartAlum, it may be that under the influence of a few bad apples SAE strayed further and further towards the latter category since your time. The character of a house is always going to be defined by the current members, and that does shift over time."
Unfortunately the horse has left the barn on this issue. People will form camps on their opinion of greek hazing. Personally, I never saw any value in joining a house but I can see why others did. To each their own I say, but issues of credibility are a slippery-slope when it comes to initiations/hazing. If you're on the outside looking in any account can seem like heresay and unless there is video proof and enough forthcoming witnesses there will be folks taking sides. As for former/current brothers claiming that these activites don't exsist, what are we supposed to take from that? Considering they must remain mum on that behavior in order for it to continue, it's unfortunate but reality, that their testimony be taken with a bit of skepticism . . . It's tough to find the truth in situations like this and Dartmouth is going to take a hit in rep no matter where the truth lies.
gekkoman: My understanding, based on two excellent sources, is that DartAlum is correct, and that in charging 27 students with serious offenses the only "evidence" of SAE "hazing" the College had were Lohse's claims.
That campus rumor has it SAE is "well known for this sort of thing" is not good reason to disrupt the lives of 27 students by threatening them with suspension or expulsion.
And you're not right about lack of outright denials. SAE has admitted to minor violations of College rules in 2009 but has gone on record that nothing remotely close to any definition of hazing occurred in 2011:
DowneasterDad - you are absolutely right, hard to see through the bias that is involved from both sides. From the greek angle, if a former member goes out and makes a bunch of wild exaggerations of things, you want to defend yourself, but if the truth would also involve admitting to something illegal then you can't do it. The legal definition of hazing is SO wide open. Not to mention that almost all pledges are underage, so even if there was nothing close to hazing during a pledge event, if there was drinking then they can't admit to any of it.
I'll give you all a "light" hazing example that I experienced from both sides. Each term, fraternities have a formal, in which they rent out a restaurant or ballroom and have a nice dinner and dancing with dates. In the fall, during pledge period, the pledges will be split into groups of 4-6 guys and will be given a list of the dates for the upperclassmen. The pledges are required to go to those girls rooms, deliver some flowers and serenade them with some sappy, preselected song. Now some of the pledges can't sing a note, are horribly embarrassed by it and don't want to it, but are "peer pressured" into it. They will all come meet at the house beforehand, have a few drinks to loosen up their nerves and practice before they go. Then they end up having a great time. Technically, that is hazing...and underage drinking. So if some former brother came forward and said that he was forced to drink and then forced to harass women by showing up at their room and singing vulgar songs that degraded them (a lie built on a truth).....the fraternity has to choose between denying everything and admitting to serving minors and "hazing".
I just hope that those of you there who are considering Dartmouth won't be scared off by this scandal, it is not at all representative of The Dartmouth Experience.
DartAlum, excellent post in #19. I agree that the legal definition of hazing is excessive broad. Technically, being asked to wear a particular item of clothing is hazing, so that a frat that requires that their pledges wear a tie every day and if asked why, reply that "I am a gentleman of XYZ" is engaging in "hazing." Wearing a red hat is "hazing." Being asked to wear something silly, such as bunny ears, for a day is "hazing." I think that all of those things are harmless and silly, and while they may cause mild embarrassment to some, are not harming or humiliating the pledge.
DartmouthMom, I didn't ask him how he knew what he knew. I'll have the opportunity to do so over spring break.
Although I am not a fan of Joseph Asch and his unceasing, strident, what appear to be politically-motivated attacks on President Kim, there is much good information in DartBlog, including excerpts from a hazing expose at Princeton, the letter referenced by AboutTheSame, and a piece of research on the psychology of hazing. I think it remains unclear what evidence they have for charging 27 people at SAE. I certainly hope it isn't just the suspect testimony of Lohse. I wish that they had done an investigation BEFORE charging anyone. I hope it isn't an intimidation tactic, as Mahoney suggests.
I just think it is foolish to deny that dangerous hazing takes place. People have died of it recently, at Cornell, in Florida. My own H depledged a fraternity decades ago because of the perverse and dangerous activities required of pledges at a different school.
I have seen that Greek organizations can have significant value, at D and elsewhere. I think it is a huge shame when that is lessened by abusive and wholly unnecessary practices.
SAE is accused of violating the College's Standards of Conduct in both 2009 and 2011.
All 27 individuals are charged only with offenses in 2011.
SAE has fessed up to minor stuff in 2009, but is pretty firm that it worked with the Dartmouth administration to make sure the 2011 pledge process was OK with the College. So far the only person who claims there was any problem in 2011 is Lohse. And no evidence backs up what he says.
The fact that the charges reportedly all involve 2011, when SAE was working with the administration, really is bizarre. Or is Lohse alleging that they did additional stuff that the administrators didn't know about? Certainly, the SAE who wrote the piece for DartBlog said that they made a practice of hiding the more extreme activities from their alum advisor. DartmouthMom, have you read his account? What do you think of it?
Dartmouth has the reputation in the Ivy League that Goldman Sucks has on Wall Street. It is a cesspool.
Erm... no it doesn't. Thanks for your germane and insightful remarks, though.
At any rate, as an outsider looking in, I've come to the conclusion that no conclusion can be made. Facts are explicitly countering facts, and both are nothing more than hearsay. Not to discredit the arguments of either side, it's just simply that there is no way to know what truly happened. Though there may be truth in what both are saying, I can't help but feel there is a lot of sensationalizing going on... especially with Lohse.
According to my daughter, who is a '13, it is widely-known on campus that many (not all) the frats regularly violate hazing rules in disgusting ways. Whether that means that the exact things Lohse alleges actually happened cannot be known except by those who were actually there. But this wide-spread knowledge suggests that the general scope of the accusations, if not the exact details, is probably correct and thus in need of reform. Where there is smoke there is fire, and smoke has been pouring out of SAE for years now.
Which generally accounts for the tone and approach of those defending the frats. Very few have come forward and flatly denied the accusations. The defense of frats much more commonly takes one or more of these forms:
1. Lohse is a lousy guy
2. He's exaggerating. It wasn't quite that bad
3. It's unfair that 27 be blamed for the actions of a few
4. Proper administrative procedure is not being followed here
5. It's a terrible thing that Lohse has signed a contract with Rolling Stone magazine.
6. Big deal. Hazing has always been a part of frat life.
All of which are red herrings designed to try to change the subject rather than own up to the problems and solve them.
All 27 individuals charged have denied Dartmouth's allegations that they engaged in hazing in 2011.
What SAE has admitted to is, as their President put it, "to certain practices from 2009 that were in violation of College policy (though to be clear, Lohse has invented and exaggerated a large number of claims against my fraternity)." Note that the individuals charged were not full members of SAE back in 2009, and so were in no position to haze anyone.
But, in the words of SAE's President, "starting in the spring of 2011, I had numerous conversations with administrators about student safety in Greek houses. In the fall of 2011, I worked with Wes Schaub and brothers in my own house to design a better pledge program and eliminate any house traditions that we deemed at all problematic. In response to Dartmouth administration inquiries, SAE’s goal has not been to cover anything up but to provide evidence of what did and did not occur. SAE’s incoming president this spring has met with half a dozen administrators already with a goal to make fraternity pledge terms safer and more transparent. The College deviated from this constructive approach when it responded to Lohse’s new allegations by charging 27 brothers without a shred of real evidence."