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The chapter of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity at ivy-league university, Dartmouth, found fame (or some would say infamy) for serving as a direct influence for the 1970’s comedy film, National Lampoon’s Animal House. Already believed by many to be nothing more than a rowdy and hedonistic affair, the fraternity has drawn new notoriety for itself when university officials extended an already pre-existing suspension due to accusations of frat brothers branding new members. Already a magnet for controversy, this is the latest in a three-year string of hazing allegations which have plagued the Dartmouth College fraternity house.
In Fall of last year, the fraternity was hit with suspension due to hosting an unregistered party which involved serving alcohol to minors. During their suspension period, an Alpha Delta pledge, who has chosen to remain anonymous, endured being branded during one of their pledge rituals. Officials at Dartmouth learned of the incident through a staff member at a nearby hospital after the pledge sought medical help for infected tissue in the burn area.
After several years of hazing controversies involving the fraternity, Dartmouth College officials are not only extending their suspension, but they are also putting serious thought into having the fraternity removed entirely. With shenanigans including, but not limited to, people falling off the roof of their house, numerous incidents involving alcohol being served to minors and “Bloods and Crips” themed party in 2013, with apologies and even punishments such as community service being dished out afterward only for the house to go and take part in even more unsavory activities, many people at the school are just fed up.
“AD demonstrates a lot of what is wrong with the Greek system,” said an anonymous user on the chat service provided to Dartmouth students. Many students using the service echoed similar sentiments, some going so far as to call the frat brothers “idiots” or saying they had it coming. Dartmouth College president, Philip Hanlon, who was also a member of the fraternity in the 1970’s, announced some reforms to the school shortly prior to the current hazing controversy. In particular, he claimed that he sought to end pledge and probationary periods for all school groups in order to reduce the chance of hazing. Some were already cynical about his promise, believing that he had turned a blind and biased eye to the shenanigans of Alpha Delta for years.
As of the moment, the incident remains under investigation. The hazing controversy faced by the Alpha Delta chapter at Dartmouth comes in the midst of controversies being faced by fraternities at colleges and universities across the nation. An investigation has recently opened up at Penn State over allegations of the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity operating a Facebook page where members post photos of drunken, asleep or passed out girls at their parties with their clothes removed. At the University of Oklahoma, an SAE video involving a racist chant in addition to other allegations of racist antics led to the fraternity being shut down. In a time of increased scrutiny and weariness of fraternities, some believe that the best option Dartmouth has is to just shut down Alpha Delta altogether.
By Philip Cunningham
Photo by: rmelgares – Flickr License