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. Read the rest of this entry »

Tales from the Inbox: An Email Argument with a Dartmouth Frat Bro About Hazing, Hypocrisy, and the Politics of Gossip

Sit down and gather ’round, kids. Tonight we’re trying something a little different.

That Valley News article gave us a reason (not that we were asking for one) to ponder the first three months of 2012, during which time Dartmouth appeared to spin out of control on several occasions.

The central drama of that period—Andrew Lohse’s allegations of hazing—was unusually fertile with gossip, a lot of which we eagerly pounced on.

It struck us as strange that Lohse never named the individual in charge of his pledging period—the SAE brother, that is, who organized Lohse’s regiment of hazing. So we did. (The same individual is referred to—but never named—throughout Rolling Stone’s investigation.)

A few weeks later, we reported that Joe Asch—Dartmouth’s Matthew Drudge—published, then deleted, the photo of a Dartmouth editor holding a plastic cup, to intimidate said editor. (He later apologized, sort of.)

We soon received an email from an active SAE brother at Dartmouth (whose name we’ve redacted), who criticized us for what he perceived to be our hypocritical stance toward publishing unflattering personal details of Ivy Leaguers’ lives.

The ensuing email exchange is copied in full below. Read the rest of this entry »

Dartmouth Whistleblower Andrew Lohse Has A Book Deal That Promises “Sex, Drugs, Alcohol”

Andrew Lohse, the recent Dartmouth graduate who gained attention for detailing his fraternity hazing experiences, has always been open about himself. There was the column in The Dartmouth earlier this year that described his time as a pledge in Dartmouth’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Then there was the article in Rolling Stone a few months later. Now, it seems that Lohse finally got that book deal he wanted so badly.

According to Dartblog, both Lohse’s Twitter and LinkedIn account have been recently changed to include information about his upcoming book with St. Martin’s Press, which is, like, real. (Dartblog calls it “a reputable imprint,” but we’re just surprised someone will publish this thing). The book is titled Party at the End of the World and is due out sometime in 2013.

After first mentioning his literary aspirations in January, Lohse discussed his memoir-in-progress with Janet Reitman for her Rolling Stone piece on him and Dartmouth:

“He’s writing a memoir: a ‘generational tale’ that he hopes will be part Bright Lights, Big City, part The Sun Also Rises and part This Side of Paradise, and describes as ‘a one-way ticket to the secret violence at the heart of the baptismal rites of the new elite.’” Read the rest of this entry »

After Former Pledges Acquitted, Cornell SAE Found Guilty of Hazing in George Desdunes’ Death

After ruling three former Cornell Sigma Alpha Epsilon pledges not guilty in the death of Cornell student and SAE brother George Desdunes, a Tompkins County Court judge found Cornell’s SAE chapter guilty of hazing in Desdunes’ death, The Ithaca Journal reports. While the three former pledges were acquitted, the judge used details from their trial in the decision to find SAE guilty, as the fraternity chose to “disregard or ignore the proceedings in Criminal Court.”

Details from the trial seem to describe the fraternity as … well, a fraternity. According to The Journal:

“Witnesses testified about a beer pong tournament held at 122 McGraw Place the night that Desdunes died, and described a house where alcohol was readily available to pledges and members regardless of age. In her decision, Rossiter wrote that ritual line-ups at the fraternity constituted hazing under New York law. During the weekly line-ups fraternity members subjected assembled pledges to taunts, punishments and directives.”

However, what could have been the most damning piece against the fraternity is this: “Witnesses testified that at a line-up two days before Desdunes died, fraternity members berated pledges for not conducting more of the ritualistic mock-kidnappings that were a fraternity tradition.” Unfortunately, they seemed to have listened. Read the rest of this entry »

BREAKING: Cornell SAE Pledges Acquitted In George Desdunes’s Death

Close to a year and a half after the hazing related death of George Desdunes, the Cornell student and Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity brother, a Tompkins County Court judge acquitted all three former SAE pledges of all charges Tuesday afternoon, The Ithaca Journal reports. Desdunes had been found unresponsive on a couch in the SAE house in February 2011, following a kidnapping ritual in which he was tied up and fed alcohol by pledges in the fraternity.

According to The Journal,

“Max Haskin, Ben Mann and Edward “EJ” Williams — the three former Cornell freshmen and pledges to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity — were cleared of all criminal wrongdoing in a case that put a spotlight on binge drinking in college fraternity culture.”

Haskin, Mann, and Williams are no longer enrolled at Cornell.

The defense’s successful argument seems to have relied on depicting Desdunes as someone who routinely consumed large amounts of alcohol. “Fraternity members brought to the stand testified that Desdunes was known to be a heavy drinker, with defense attorneys trying to establish that he had been voluntarily consuming large amounts of liquor for hours prior to his encounter with the pledges,” according to The Journal.

SAE was also a defendant on hazing charges. However, according to The Journal, their verdict has not yet been announced. SAE and 20 members of the fraternity were also named in a $25 million wrongful death civil lawsuit by Desdunes’ mother, Marie Lourdes Andre, which has yet to be resolved.

Apparently the Police Are Involved in Dartmouth Hazing Scandal, Too

On Friday The Boston Globe reported that Dartmouth is charging Sigma Alpha Epsilon with violating the college anti-hazing rules. Noticeably absent from the Globe’s report was any mention of the Hanover Police Department, which is sorta weird: this wasn’t your everyday hazing buffet.

Over the weekend, however, a representative of SAE’s national office informed IvyGate (during a media inquiry we were making) that the police are investigating the Dartmouth chapter, too:

Since there is an ongoing investigation by the police and university, we have no comment at this time.

Dartblog-style addendum: Today’s report in The Dartmouth makes no mention of police, either.

Whistleblower on Dartmouth Hazing “Conspiracy” Also Thought 9/11 Was an Inside Job, and Wants a Book Deal, Too

According to Andrew Lohse ’12, the amateur polemicist of hazing scandal fame, Dartmouth’s administrators are lying through their teeth about Dartmouth’s hazing problem. Also according to Lohse, Dartmouth’s Chief of Staff colluded with Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Lohse’s former fraternity, in order to hide hazing from the Hanover Police Department. Also according to Lohse, the same Chief of Staff—David Spalding—and April Thompson are lying about the images Lohse showed them as evidence of the hazing he reported to them. Also according to Lohse, Dartmouth’s president Jim Yong Kim routinely ignores Dartmouth’s hazing problem.

So much lying, and collusion, and conscious ignorance has drawn others to Lohse’s story—especially Joseph Asch ‘79,  who accuses basically everyone at Dartmouth of lying, character assassination, and so forth, claiming that the Chairman of Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees seeks “to cast doubt on the hazing allegations by pointing to both Lohse’s troubled background.” (E.g., Lohse’s arrests for cocaine possession, witness tampering, and disorderly conduct.)

Lohse’s tale has also summoned a contributing editor to Rolling Stone, who (we imagine) can’t be having too much luck getting fraternity brothers to speak. And it looks like the publishing industry is next: on the same day he published his hazing column, Lohse admitted to Business Insider that he was already seeking a book deal.

In fewer words, Lohse is selling (quite literally) an elaborate ploy perpetuated by powerful yet dishonest individuals. This isn’t the first time the English major has attempted to do so, though. Before he began spinning (and spinning) his hazing experience at SAE into a shadowy plot of intrigue, Lohse was touting another conspiracy—the one about George W. Bush ordering the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11.

Yeah, we’re serious: Read the rest of this entry »

Vomlettes, Vinegar, and Kiddie Pools: An Exclusive Look at What Happened in Dartmouth’s Most Notorious Fraternity

Shortly after Andrew Lohse ’12 published his now-famous hazing column on the pledging practices of Dartmouth’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, IvyGate began investigating the events of Lohse’s actual pledging period—something which Lohse’s biggest advocate, Joseph Asch ‘79, has more or less shied away from. For example: In a recent blog post, Asch casts blame on the Chairman of the College’s Board of Trustees; Dartmouth’s President; the Dean of the College; the school’s Office of Public Affairs; and, um, The Dartmouth—an independent newspaper—but not, for whatever reason, anyone actually associated with Sigma Alpha Epsilon, the fraternity whose members allegedly hazed Lohse.

Asch’s reluctance (or inability) is somewhat understandable. SAE runs a tight ship. During IvyGate’s investigation, nearly every individual familiar with SAE declined to provide specifics about the sort of hazing that happened at the fraternity, particularly the activities of Lohse’s pledging term. Brothers had numerous reasons: fears of being outed or ostracized; anxieties of being misrepresented; and, as it was in most cases, a simple desire not to say anything. The majority of brothers IvyGate attempted to contact did not respond to our inquiries.

A tipster, who asked not to be identified, provided a believable explanation for SAE’s organized silence: in 2010, in the course of its very public cocaine scandal, the Hanover Police subpoenaed the chapter’s emails. Thenceforth, SAE has been reluctant to discuss internal matters electronically. Meanwhile, the chapter’s “eminent archon”,  J. Brendan Mahoney ‘12, has objected to Lohse’s claims without really saying anything else. For good reason, perhaps: the reaction to Lohse’s column has been hysterical. It’s bad business to talk about hazing in terms other than outrage, denial, or silence. IvyGate, of all publications, knows this well.

This article is different, however. Over the past three weeks, on the condition of anonymity, we spoke with several extremely reliable sources who were willing to discuss the dirty details of Andrew Lohse’s pledging term.

Here’s what happened, what didn’t happen, and how it all began in the first place:

Read the rest of this entry »

EXCLUSIVE: This is the Hilarious Police Report of Hazing Whistleblower Andrew Lohse’s Drunken Rampage at Dartmouth’s Homecoming Bonfire

(We’ve decided to commence IvyGate’s Hell Week a little early.)

In the morning hours of January 24, Joseph AschDartmouth’s official bloggerposted an unedited draft of an upcoming Dartmouth column in which Andrew Lohse ‘12 alleges that his former fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, “forced” him to wade through human excrement, chug vinegar, and vomit upon his classmates. A few days later, The Dartmouth extinguished much of Lohse’s argument by changing every instance of “forced” to “asked.” Yet The Dartmouth maintained Lohse’s assertion that he was “implicitly encouraged to treat Dartmouth women with about the same respect with which we treated each other in our social spaces: none.”

Shocked as we were by Lohse’s story, nothing could prepare IvyGate for what we were soon told. Within hours of Asch’s post, IvyGate received a tip that Lohse had been arrested for throwing a chair at a female security guard sometime during Dartmouth’s annual Homecoming bonfire. IvyGate’s initial reaction was, of course, disbelief: Lohse is Dartmouth’s moral authority, and routinely demonstrates the integrity of his character.

Juicy though the tip was, our consciences overruled our instincts. We didn’t publish it. Still, we wondered: did Lohse actually lob a chair at a female security guard? And then later condemn, yet claim to be above, his fraternity’s maltreatment of women? The hypocrisy was almost too difficult for IvyGate to imagine.

Nevertheless, we dutifully filed a records request with the Hanover Police Department. To our total surprise and horror, the tip turned out to be true! A day after IvyGate HQ received Lohse’s protective custody report, Lohse pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct—a step sideways from Lohse’s earlier occasions of cocaine possession and witness tampering—for the incident in question. Our scoop was ruined—or so we thought, until we read the baffling, hilarious account of Lohse’s alcohol-fueled bender at Dartmouth’s Homecoming bonfire. It is bonkers.

Not to worry, though: on Friday, Lohse informed The Daily that, contrary to logic, the fact that he was arrested for and pleaded guilty to cocaine possession and witness tampering (and now disorderly conduct) was “totally irrelevant” to his credibility. Whew! 

The full text of the police report, after the jump :

Read the rest of this entry »

The Fraternity Hazing Shitstorm Brewing at Dartmouth Is Going to Be Epic

Earlier this week, The Dartmouth leaked the preliminary draft of a column—published here by Dartblog’s Joseph Asch, whom Gawker linked to—in which former Dartmouth student and Sigma Alpha Epsilon brother Andrew Lohse ’12 alleges to have been brutally hazed during his pledgeship at SAE. According to Asch, Lohse’s column is now circulating among Dartmouth’s Greek community and the school’s administration, both of which are sharpening their letters in response. Here are the money quotes:

Among my many experiences as a fraternity pledge, I was: forced to swim in a kiddie pool full of vomit, urine, fecal matter, semen, and rotten food products;forced to eat an omelet made of vomit; forced to chug cups of vinegar until I was afraid that I would vomit blood like one of my fellow pledges did; forced to inhale nitrous oxide; degraded psychologically on a daily basis; forced to drink beers poured down a fellow pledge’s ass crack; vomited on regularly, and encouraged to vomit on others.

As a pledge, I ceased to be a human being; instead, I became a “whale shit”. In the process, I, my fellow pledges, and all pledges since, have been trained to treat Dartmouth women with about the same respect with which we treated ourselves: none.

Lohse also alleges that Dartmouth’s president has ignored Lohse’s complaints about Dartmouth’s “pervasive hazing, substance abuse, and sexual assault culture” despite his office’s informal acknowledgement of “the endemic physical and psychological abuse culture that occupies the heart of Dartmouth’s Greek-life community”:

The administration is fully aware of what goes in in our basements; I know this because I have had frank conversations with several high-level administrators. This column should not be a surprise to Dr. Kim, since it was with one of his Vice Presidents and one of his Deans with whom I initially met and shared the troubling, graphic story of my experience as a Dartmouth man, replete with pictures, text, video, and dates, times, and places of future acts of hazing. This Vice President vowed that the information I provided him would cross Dr. Kim’s desk, and assured me that something would be done about it. Either it did not, or the administration realized that to act would require a courage they lacked – courage that is required of all college administrations under New Hampshire state law.

It’s going to be a unmitigated clusterfuck in the Upper Valley until next week at least. Oh, but: “It goes without saying,” says Joe Asch, “that one of The D/administration’s tactics will be a direct ad hominem attack on Lohse.” What could Asch be suggesting?! Read the rest of this entry »