Dartmouth SAE Tells Pledges to Quit Talking About All Their ‘Hazing’

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.

  • Captain Jack Sperry

    Yeah, so this event was approved by the college and the college’s administrator for Greek life. Typically there is pizza or some kind of other food ordered for the pledges on the first night as congratulations, so it would probably be good to know about allergies. This is some really top notch journalism. You can make the libel check out to Harvey Silverglate.

  • Guest

    Yeah, so this event was approved by the college and the college’s administrator of Greek life. Typically, pizza or other food is ordered to congratulate the pledges on their first night as a member. This is some real top notch journalism. You can make out the libel check to Harvey Silverglate.

  • I See

    That you aspire to reach, someday, Rolling Stone’s level of journalistic inadequacy. Keep up the bad work: the world needs muckrakers’ filler now more than ever.

  • red

    What about SAE at Cornell?

    • Anon

      Off campus = out of jurisdiction = no longer newsworthy. Plus, the kind of freshmen that would rush there given their status aren’t the type to leak private stuff to Ivygate.

      • ano

        Considering there was a pledge who died, they are no longer there.

        • Anon

          Not officially. Judging by collegeacb, they still exist off-campus in some form (think APES at Penn). They just aren’t officially recognized or allowed to recruit on campus.

    • anon

      Someone died during a hazing incident last year.

  • Skeptical

    So the fact that “he never denies that hazing will take place” is worth writing about now? Are you going to write about how the frats at Columbia don’t state that there will be no drug dealing at their info sessions, or that SAE at Cornell doesn’t guarantee that none of their pledges will die at one of their dinners? Nice logical fallacy.

  • anon

    There is too much hazing at Dartmouth and the administration does everything in their power to cover it up.