It seems that some people never learn. Sigma Alpha Epsilon, the Dartmouth fraternity that came to symbolize hazing last year, appears to be up to the same activities that brought them national attention. An email Tuesday from SAE’s president details a “mandatory event” for this semester’s pledges, telling them to meet at Dartmouth’s Bema — an outdoor amphitheater — with a note book, pen, and a change of “fratty clothes.” Also: “Do not draw attention to yourself.”
Secrecy is emphasized throughout the email, which even goes so far as to threaten removal from the fraternity if someone releases “house secrets.” There are allusions to former SAE brother Andrew Lohse, whose tell-all column in The Dartmouth last year detailing the house’s pledging rituals led to a feature article in Rolling Stone magazine that highlighted Dartmouth’s “hazing abuses.” As the email reads:
“This house values secrecy and we have seen how quickly things get out of control when we do not keep things in the house. You will likely lose your pledgeship if you are found to have revealed house secrets. Trust is a key component to a strong brotherhood.”
However, at some point Tuesday, information about SAE’s event was posted on Bored@Baker, an anonymous Dartmouth message board. A subsequent email from the president notes “Bored@Baker reads that hazing will occur at the BEMA tonight at 9pm.” Although he continually stresses the need for secrecy about the night’s activities, he never denies that hazing will take place.
Dartmouth had initially charged SAE with hazing violations following statements submitted by Lohse in March 2012. All 27 hazing charges against SAE were dropped by Dartmouth in April, as the college found no evidence to support the most extreme charges. Later in April, SAE was placed on a three-semester probation for hazing and alcohol violations. As The Dartmouth notes in their coverage of the probation ruling, according to SAE’s current president, “SAE has undergone ‘well-documented changes’ after 2009 to eliminate all forms of hazing.”
All is not vomit tubs and fecal matter for the winter pledges of Dartmouth’s SAE. The house’s president kindly asks if anyone has any allergies or “other complications,” because that is clearly necessary information that has nothing to do with hazing. However, to his credit, he clearly states that if anyone is uncomfortable during pledging to feel free to contact him. And, you know, hopefully not post emails about the hazing online.