Rowdy Dartmouth Frat Returns, Forcing Sorority’s Eviction; Animal House Not Even Cited Once in This Post
Enraged estrogen came to a boil yesterday when 200 angry Dartmouth ladies took to the streets of Hanover to protest sorority Alpha Xi Delta’s eviction at the hands of rowdy frat Beta Theta Pi. Following decampment in 1996 for racist, homophobic, and criminally violent behavior, the Betas’ history gets complicated and all, you know, Greek to me, so here’s Dartmouth correspondent Ben O’Donnell with all the tawdry deets.
As any red-blooded administration-hater at Dartmouth will tell you, nine years ago the authority figures tried to take away that which is most precious to us students: our Greek houses. The plan was jettisoned after students and alumni brought to the administration’s attention how lame ice cream socials and movie nights are, but many still harbored suspicions of an anti-Greek conspiracy.
The administration’s news a few days ago took those suspicions, poisoned them, shot them repeatedly, beat them with clubs as they attempted to stagger away in escape, and threw them into the ice-covered Neva River. The headline in The D might have read “Awesome Frat to Return to Campus,” and, indeed, some may have received the news of Beta Theta Pi’s impending reinstatement that way.
Many students, however, have been tripping over their retro-’80s sneakers with the neon laces in their rush to condemn the administration’s decision, and I’m not just talking about the half with the two X chromosomes and sometimes questionable interpretations of the concept of “fun.” Because, of course, there’s much more to this story, which has a “permanently” derecognized jock frat moving back into the house its alumni still own and kicking out the sorority that leases the house in the process.
After the jump, the Dick and Jane version of the story, in which Dick is a network of twelve hundred well-connected and deep-pocketed ex-frat boys who passed their time at Dartmouth beating up other dudes and shouting at gays, and Jane is a beleaguered sorority widely viewed on campus as pretty OK.
Beta Theta Pi was expelled from campus in 1996 after a decade of disorderly conduct on an institutional level, and the following year, a new sorority, Alpha Xi Delta, began to lease the Beta house from Beta’s trustees.
Now, after a series of proceedings that made the November to March sky over Hanover look transparent, the administration announced a) that-surprise!-Beta would be returning to Dartmouth and b) that AZD would have to vacate the house by June. The official stance is the powers-that-be had no choice, that Beta’s return as a college organization was a reaction to its threats of returning in an unofficial, uncontrollable, renegade capacity. A D article noted that the Deputy Director of the Dartmouth College Fund is a Beta alum, and an extremely unsubstantiated rumor has been going around that six of Dartmouth’s top ten donors are Beta boys.
Meanwhile AZD’s recompense from the College has been the promise of a way-the-fuck-out-there house that could hold a third of the number of girls that its current Frat Row digs can. Because of the by-laws of national sororities, only
two three of Dartmouth’s seven sororities (the local ones) can have parties. Once Beta and also-being-rerecognized Zeta Psi return to campus, there will be fifteen fraternities that can.
I’ll leave you with the most divisive (and occasionally hilarious) document to come out of this fracas, a “Beta Theta Pi at Dartmouth” timeline circulated to women around campus:
BETA THETA PI AT Dartmouth
A History of Sexism, Assault, Hazing, Racism, Homophobia, Theft, and Destruction
Beta Theta Pi was derecognized for making sexist remarks about Sigma Kappa (now Sigma Delta) members, and despite a resolution of the conflict between the two houses, the College extended Beta’s derecognition to two years.
The College derecognizes Beta for three terms after 10 Beta brothers kidnapped, tied up, and tormented a Chi Gamma Epsilon fraternity brother. According to a letter from then?Dean of Residential Life Mary Turco, the members of Beta bound the Chi Gam member “with rope and tape, placed him in an automobile against his will, and transported him to 6 Webster Avenue where he was verbally abused and various fluids were repeatedly poured over him.”
Two Beta members went to the room of a then?Beta pledge. After playing a drinking game in which the pledge had to take a whisky shot when he answered questions incorrectly, the brothers took him over to the house, where the pledge was shirtless and had his hands duct-taped to a trash can, which he was to bring
to anyone who needed to vomit.
Beta’s Board of Trustees places 11 penalties on the house. Beta Theta Pi National suspends the Alpha Omega chapter’s charter. The College suspends Beta Theta Pi’s recognition for one year and hands down 10 penalties to the house after a judicial hearing. Beta is found guilty of violating the College alcohol policy, disorderly conduct, failing to meet minimum standards, and violating Beta’s statement of purpose, code of ethics, and general conduct policy.
Beta was condemned (but not sanctioned) by the College after the discovery of a racist and sexist poem that was allegedly read aloud at one of the fraternity’s weekly meetings.
Beta Theta Pi members chase two Sigma Nu brothers out of the Beta basement. A Beta brother tackles a Sigma Nu brother on the lawn of The Tabard co?ed fraternity. A Tabard member then steps outside in response to the noise, and several Betas shout at him vulgar, racist, and homophobic epithets and threats. Beta is prohibited from participating in fall rush this year and is not allowed to have any alcohol in its house.
Beta is placed under “suspended recognition,” which means full social suspension, as well as the denial of several privileges.
Beta’s trustees discipline Beta for an incident in which Beta brothers attempted to take Chi Heorot fraternity’s “presidential throne.”
Beta Theta Pi Fraternity is derecognized by the College.
Beta brothers vandalize the house at 6 Webster Avenue in response to Beta’s derecognition, causing thousands of dollars of damages. Damage to the house included more than 30 broken windows, holes in the walls, painted graffiti, doors ripped off the hinges, a broken basement sewer pipe, overflowed toilets, discharged fire extinguishers, trash thrown about, and vomit on the floor, according to Hanover Police Chief Nick Giaccone. Vandalism causing damage in excess of $500 is a felony charge, according to Hanover Police Supervisor Richard Paulsen.
The Beta Trustees agree to lease the house at 6 Webster Avenue to the sisters of the newly-formed sorority Alpha Xi Delta.
Dean of Residential Life Marty Redman tells The Dartmouth that “the College’s revocation of recognition [of Beta Theta Pi] was deemed permanent at the time, akin to expelling a student.”
A group of men break into the house at 6 Webster Avenue during reunion weekend and throw a party in the basement. They break a window to gain entrance to the house, vomit in multiple places, and paint Beta’s letters on the walls. When summoned to the scene, Safety and Security officers dismiss the vandals without taking down names. Beta advisor Jeff Sassorossi ’75 claims that the men were simply impersonating Betas.
December 20, 2007
The College comes to an agreement with the Beta Board of Trustees to allow Beta to return to campus and participate in rush during Fall term 2008.
January 9, 2008
Members of the Beta Board of Trustees and ORL meet with executives from Alpha Xi Delta, informing them that Beta will be returning and that the sorority must vacate the house at the end of Spring term 2008.