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 »

Is It Really That Surprising There Was Such A Drop In Dartmouth Applications?

Dartmouth is not having the greatest year. They were they subjects of a none too flattering feature in Rolling Stone on their campus culture. Two students have written opinion pieces in The Dartmouth about being hazed (one has an upcoming book about it). Their Board of Directors was investigated for mishandling the school’s endowment. Oh, and their president left the school in the middle of all of this to head the World Bank.

In the first batch of application numbers released by Dartmouth since all this hoopla, the college saw a severe drop in the number of people who voluntarily want to be in Hanover. The Dartmouth reports that just 1,526 students applied early to be a part of the Dartmouth Class of 2017, down 12.5 percent from last year’s pool of 1,744.

12.5 percent is a serious drop, especially considering — as The Dartmouth points out — that early application numbers had been rising fairly steadily the past several years. And, although only two other Ivies have reported their early application numbers — Brown and Penn — both showed increases. While Andrew Lohse may be the most public case of Dartmouth’s bad reputation, he’s certainly not the only example.

“An elaborate experiment in collective insanity”: Andrew Lohse’s Unpublished Essay About Hazing at Dartmouth

The shadowy entity known as Goldman Snacks, previously responsible for publishing hazing whistleblower Andrew Lohse’s book proposal, has leaked a series of Lohse’s private emails, which we’re sifting through right now. (Know more? Get in touch.)

In the time being, here is a column Lohse wrote under the pseudonym “Phineas Ridley.” It was never published.


By: Phineas Ridley ’12

[Column removed at request of Andrew Lohse.]

Institutional Ethics: Dartmouth’s (Not-So-Secret) Hazing Problem

A few nights ago, as I was waiting out the worst of Hurricane Sandy’s temper in the relative safety of my dorm room, I thought about my family—specifically my younger brother, who’s currently living and working in the Big Apple.

As I ruminated on the chances of his survival in his Midtown apartment (my fears weren’t allayed at all by Twitter’s grim prognostications), I had two important realizations: First, that he had—thankfully—made a pilgrimage to Dartmouth (where he’s a student) for Homecoming weekend; second, that he had probably weathered storms much worse than Sandy when he was hazed as a fraternity pledge.

Dartmouth is notorious among the Ivies for its pervasive Greek-letter culture. According to U.S. News & World Report, approximately 60% of the undergraduate population is affiliated with one of 26 fraternities or sororities. (Not-so-surprisingly, the fratty majority of the student body has a specific term for the unaffiliated that reflects the contempt they feel: GDI.)

As one might expect from a school with such a pervasive fraternity system, hazing is part of life at Dartmouth to an insane degree—it’s institutional, it’s expected, and absolutely everybody does it. It’s also been in the news: Andrew Lohse is currently America’s most famous frat brother for the dramatic reveal of his fraternity’s hazing and his own role in perpetuating it.

Hazing, as defined by the National Collaborative for Hazing Research and Prevention, is

“any activity expected of someone joining or participating in a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses, or endangers them regardless of a person’s willingness to participate.”

I’ve asked my brother on occasion what he thinks of frat life in general—I, for my own part, chose to remain unaffiliated and curious—and the answers I get from him are uniformly positive. It seems to me that the fraternity life suits him (it has certainly increased his already-impressive ability to chug), and that he’s done well for himself in the organization.

That said: he’s never spoken to me about his experience of being hazed, even when I’ve pressed him for details.

And therein, I think, lies the real ethical issue. There’s not much doubt that fraternity life can enrich its members, but the process involved in gaining admission is particularly despicable. (Not to mention the contempt that its exclusivity engenders.) Should the fraternity system be maintained if it necessarily involves—and even congratulates—harming undergraduates?

To put it simply: it’s complicated.  Read the rest of this entry »

The Impeccable Weirdness of Andrew Lohse’s Book Proposal

When we sat down to write this post, we felt like we knew what to say: that Andrew Lohse’s recently-leaked proposal for his 2014 memoir A Party at the End of the World is yet another artifact of the author’s well-intentioned but often preposterous campaign to reform Dartmouth’s Greek system while building his own media career.

To describe the proposal that way—to pathologize its author—de-emphasizes the context from which it emerged: namely, an anonymous group, vocally angry at Lohse and fearful of damage to their reputations, somehow obtained the book proposal, heavily redacted it, then published it online. Whoever orchestrated this coup wanted to discredit Lohse without sabotaging anyone else involved—including, of course, themselves. And this context is important: the proposal reveals nearly as much as it obscures. For example:

1. Whoever redacted the proposal doesn’t understand how redactions work. “Goldman Snacks,” as the group calls itself, tried to scrub Lohse’s proposal of certain details (names, descriptions, and the like) that identify SAE brothers. That effort failed. Take a look at this passage.

[Quote removed at request of Andrew Lohse.]

That’s a real person! Indeed, the President of the Dartmouth Review in October 2009 (identified here) was, according to an archived copy of the house’s website, a brother at SAE. This is the same person who apparently said he “would bring down the Review from the inside if it meant that [he] could save SAE” and who forced Lohse (according to the proposal) to chug six beers as a requirement of pledging.

2. Lohse actually admits he was an “especially harsh hazer”. This is unambiguous. Read the rest of this entry »

Rolling Stone: Andrew Lohse Fabricated Anecdote for Book Proposal

After Rolling Stone contributor Janet Reitman profiled Andrew Lohse in March, the former SAE brother landed a book contract with St. Martin’s Press—an extension of his effort to “tell the truth” about Dartmouth’s insane hazing culture. And good for him! However, in Lohse’s book proposal, he seems to have lied about the provenance of Reitman’s Rolling Stone article. Here’s what his proposal says:

A few weeks into the media blitz over “Telling The Truth” I received a call from Janet Reitman, a contributing editor for Rolling Stone. Janet related to me that a former writer for the magazine-who had become an English professor at Dartmouth-had alerted Rolling Stone’s editor-in-chief about the potential of the hazing story, and that the editor had given Janet the assignment.

That’s not how it happened, according to Reitman, who sent this email to “Goldman Snacks” after the group published Lohse’s proposal:

Subject: this statement is untrue

Hey – so this didn’t actually happen – “Janet related to me that a former writer for the magazine-who had become an English professor at Dartmouth-had alerted Rolling Stone’s editor-in-chief about the [writer] of the hazing story, and that the editor had given Janet the assignment.” Not so. My editor, Sean Woods, read about the hazing scandal on Gawker and then called me with the assignment. RS managing editor Will Dana had no discussion about this with anyone – nor did Jann Wenner, the editor-in-chief. No one from Dartmouth faculty was contacted w/r/t to this story as far as I know. It was a Gawker item – a good one – and we went with it. End of story. Please correct. Thanks.

Janet Reitman
Contributing Editor Rolling Stone

(Reitman has confirmed the email is real.)

As the author of a truth-telling hazing exposé—one which many are predisposed to question—it’s unclear why Lohse would lie about something so mundane.

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 »

Rolling Stone’s Hit Piece on Andrew Lohse: The Top 10 Lines

Yesterday was not a good day for hazing-whistleblower Andrew Lohse. First, Dartmouth’s administration dropped charges for hazing against 24 of his former SAE brothers—not including Lohse himself (and a few others). Then, Rolling Stone’s long-awaited hazing article came out. It’s a well-written meditation on class, violence, and power in Dartmouth’s overheated campus culture. It’s also a comprehensive character assassination of its main subject—Lohse—whom editor Janet Reitman portrays as a violent, pretentious, alcoholic, mentally ill, status-anxious, back-stabbing drug addict. (Really—read it.) Following which, Joe Asch, Lohse’s main champion—his only champion, truly—declined to comment on the article for which he had built up so much anticipation. If there’s one thing Rolling Stone should be applauded/feared for, it’s getting Lohse to cooperate with such a thorough take-down of himself.

Then again, this is the guy whose pledge name was “Regina”—after Mean Girls—“in honor of his aggressive social climbing.” So maybe that was the point.

After the jump: the top 10 lines that Andrew Lohse probably can’t believe Rolling Stone published:

Read the rest of this entry »

EXCLUSIVE: This is Rolling Stone’s Dartmouth Hazing Article

A tipster just sent us scans of Rolling Stone’s hazing article, which isn’t online. We haven’t read it yet. Rolling Stone staff: email ivygate@gmail.com if you want us to take this down.

Aaaaand here it is:

Frat story
Please take the PDF down.

Sean Woods
Assistant Managing Editor
Rolling Stone Magazine
1290 Avenue of the Americas
New York, N.Y.

You can find the article on Rolling Stone’s website: “Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy”

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 »