Dartmouth Administrators Finally Respond to “Freedom Budget”

mmmmm

Here’s hoping it saves money for freedom fries.

After weeks of often extremely heated debate amongst students, Dartmouth College administrators finally released a statement responding to demands set out by the “Freedom Budget.”

“Diversity is one of the cornerstones of our academic community,” the statement, written by President Philip J. Hanlon and Interim Provost Martin Wybourne, (and as generic and vague as you can expect from college administrators) read. “We, as the administration, must engage in campus more effectively in current and future actions to achieve our shared vision for Dartmouth.”

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DARTMOUTH: Targeting Begets Targeting

Amanda Childress, coordinator of Dartmouth’s Sexual Assault Awareness Program, is facing backlash over comments made earlier in the month where she argued that a sexual assault allegation should be enough to see a student expelled.

Speaking as part of panel on sexual misconduct at the University of Virginia on February 11th, Childress is quoted as asking, “Why could we not expel a student based on an allegation?”

“If we know that a person is reasonably a threat to our community,” Childress said, “why are we not removing them and protecting the safety of our students?”

Read the rest of this entry »

Zete Test: “As a pledge, you have no rights as a person”

55.5 is bad enough, but the redaction job merits no credit at all

Sometimes you anonymously post something online. And sometimes you don’t do such a good job at the anonymity. See: this poorly-redacted Zeta Psi pledge test that was posted multiple times to bored@baker.

Lots is worth reading; we just want to draw your attention to one wacky essay question:

During homecoming, you are playing against an alum (’12) who looks blacked out, and his partner, who is a ’17 girl, who seems creeped out by the whole situation. Based on the conversations you had with the alum while playing pong, he is extremely against the administration and claims he took down Jim Kim. The game comes down to half cup versus half cup. The alum comes up to you, says that if he wins this game, he can hook up with this girl, completing his Dartmouth X. He says if he loses, your black book will be destroyed, and he will take Zeta Psi down. The girl clearly looks uncomfortable and wants to leave, but seems too intimidated to speak out. What should you do? Explain why.

Wow! And here’s the pledge’s answer, which was pretty much the only thing he got near-full credit for:

Tell the two players to wait a bit and for your partner to watch them. Then grab an exec and tell him to come down and handle the situation. As a pledge, you have no rights as a person nor do you have authority over anything. This ’17 needs to get carded by an upper. The alum should be dealt w/ by someone who knows him. [emphasis ours]

[N.B. Eric Siu, the Dartmouth sophomore whose name is on the test, ignored a great number of emails for comment. As did Zeta Psi. But the test was explicitly mentioned in the Beta listserv that Gawker published, and all the names in the test refer to real Dartmouth students or fraternity brothers.]

“lol @ him being #11.”: KKG’s Cougar Party Guest List

Anons doin’ work

“Seems as though Dartmouth has yet to learn the lessons of the Beta info leak,” writes a tipster. Kappa Kappa Gamma, “Dartmouth’s flagship sorority,” left a Google Doc guestlist for a party open for editing and viewing. That spreadsheet found its way onto b@b (see above). It was taken down, but not before some b@b anons got into it (and not before our tipster saved it.)

KKG seems to have invited the entire hockey, lacrosse, soccer, rugby, and squash teams by looking up the members on the Dartmouth Athletics website. (But no juniors or seniors, hence the name of the party: “Cougar Tails.”)

Read the invite list for yourself, and see which ’16s and ’17s pass Kappa muster. (The sisters’ comments are included, for instance: “lol @ him being #11.”)

And: right after they took down the Google Doc, they switched to a public Google Form…which has now also been closed.

Update: As a commenter correctly noted, other sorority Sigma Delta co-created the list (and will co-host the party).

Update: According to the D, one invitee, Parker Gilbert, was indicted by a grand jury for seven counts of aggravated sexual assault that he allegedly committed last semester.

Dartmouth Drops $30,000 on Frat Breadsticks Annually

Artist’s rendition of a Fratpack

In what one anonymous commenter has called “[a]nother outrage,” Dartmouth College will no longer supply frat parties with breadsticks.

Party packs, those “ubiquitous bundles of bottled water, garlic bread, and marinara sauce found in the front rooms of fraternities and sororities hosting parties” were costing the College “around $30,000 a year.”

Party packs were intended mitigate risks associated with binge-drinking, if, say, you weren’t responsible enough to drink some water and put something in your stomach while getting hammered.

Said one commenter: “As an alum, I can tell you that there were many nights where a snack and some water from a party pack did me a LOT of good and helped keep me out of trouble.”

Dartmouth administration said the too-expensive party packs cost weren’t doing much for harm reduction, but students and Greeks alike will miss them.

Ben Hawley ’16 expressed disappointment over the packs’ imminent disappearance.

“It’s really too bad,” he said. “I used to enjoy eating the party packs a lot.”

Eating Lunch Is Too Stressful For Dartmouth Students

Perhaps worried about being the Ivy League school that had to increase their acceptance rate this year, some Dartmouth students are trying to make their school a nicer, more inviting place. The Dartmouth reports that a group of students have recently introduced $100 worth of red cups to the college’s eating halls in some bizarre social experiment to actually have students talk to each other. If a student uses a red cup during a meal, it is now known to all that they are lonely and willing to eat with total strangers. According to The Dartmouth, “The project, launched Tuesday, is a reaction to the dining hall’s propensity to give students unnecessary stress.”

In order to alleviate the paralyzing stress of eating a meal, some students have introduced “friendship competitions” to the program. As this cheery anecdote describes it:

“Today at lunch, some of the men’s heavyweight rowing team will sit alone at opposite ends of the Class of 1953 Commons. Each solely armed with his meal and a red cup, the team members will compete to attract the most dining companions. Whoever ends his meal with the most new friends will be declared the winner of the team’s unofficial ‘popularity contest.’”

Despite it’s good intentions, this daring new initiative does not seem to be working. In fact, it’s actually causing more stress for Dartmouth’s seemingly self-conscious student body:

“Nobody said ‘hi’ to me all evening,” Jon Vandermause ’16 said. “I don’t know if I’m ugly or if the cups aren’t working.”

Jon, it’s not you, it’s them. We promise. They just don’t understand the power of the red cups yet.

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.

“CLEAN UP TIME”,

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 »