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Hazing at the Forefront of Dartmouth Community
A couple of weeks ago, a former fraternity brother decided to go public with allegations of hazing involving swallowing and swimming in vomit at Dartmouth College. The student, senior Andrew Lohse, discussed the problem back in January when he decided to write an article about it that was published in the school newspaper. The article discussed ‘dehumanizing’ incidents that he saw at Sigma Alpha Epsilon, according to CBS News.
Pledges to the fraternity were told to swim in a children’s pool filled with rotten food, vomit and other fluids from the body, according to the article. The pledges were also told to eat omelets of vomit and drink cups of vinegar. He made anonymous complaints last year and chided the administration for not doing anything to stop the hazing. The president of the fraternity, Brendan Mahoney, claims that all of the 27 accused students will be charged again because of hazing that occurred in the fall of 2011. Mahoney said that by the fall of 2011, the fraternity stopped doing anything that would be called problematic by the administration. He also said that there are no members left in the fraternity that would have been members back in 2009 when Lohse was pledging.
“None of these practices, and nothing remotely close to hazing, occurred at our pledge events in 2011,” Mahoney said in regards to the allegations from Lohse.
Lohse has been charged with threatening physical harm to new members, putting students in fear for their safety and engaging in hazing in the fall of 2011. Lohse has also been accused of giving alcohol to underage students. The charges filed against Lohse were identical to the ones filed against others involved in the fraternity, “even though Lohse’s tale does not describe them as engaged in the same activities,” Mahoney said.
“We do know that Dartmouth has come in for a lot of bad publicity because of Lohse’s allegations. We hope Dartmouth’s administration will focus on the evidence rather than on a public relations strategy,” Mahoney said.
The Dean of the school, Charlotte Johnson, said, “When we get detailed, specific information regarding hazing or any other violation of our code, we act. This isn’t a witch hunt, nor are we sitting on our hands.”
The college recently hired a new director of Greek organizations, one who changed the Greek system at another college, along with two new sexual assault coordinators. The college is working to hire another drug and alcohol abuse counselor.
“Clearly we put our resources where our mouth is,” Johnson said. “This idea that we have somehow thrown up our hands, said there’s nothing we can do about hazing or other high risk behavior going on on college campuses is a complete mischaracterization.”
Nicholas Giaccone, the police chief for Hanover, said that they investigated the anonymous claims of hazing as well but could find nothing too extreme. The department setup a stakeout in a wooded area back in December of 2010 but saw nothing close to hazing between SAE members and pledges. The department began investigating hazing again following the publication of Lohse’s column but Giaccone says criminal charges are unlikely to be filed because Lohse has not been cooperating with the investigation.
“We also realized that based on his past history with us, that he may be a witness that would have credibility issues, and it may hard to rehabilitate him in the eyes of judge or jury if we ended up going that route,” Giaccone said.Hazing at the Forefront of Dartmouth Community by Jim Vassallo