One might imagine that joining a college frat or sorority is an all-access pass to kick-ass parties, meaningful friendships that last a lifetime, and a rolodex full of alumni connections. Just note that, to grab that all-access pass, you might have to swim through a kiddie pool filled with vomit, semen, and excrement.
So says the latest in a string of damaging accounts of college hazing at Dartmouth by Andrew Lohse '12, a student at the New Hampshire Ivy League school, in a soon-to-be-published op-ed in Dartmouth's The D.
But what Lohse documents here (if in-fact this is his op-ed, and if there's some truth to it), is simply shocking.
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.
Seems like, if true, the architects of Dartmouth's Greek pledging system have been hitting the school library and brushing up on their Marquis de Sade. Submerging some poor soul in a pool of filth or making him eat a vomit omelet is in line with the kind of behavior that helped Abu Ghraib make international headlines, and not the kind of behavior you'd expect to see at one of the nation's highest-rated schools. But hazing/bullying in college keeps cropping up in the news, and it is causing concern across the country about our college culture and its values, and the safety (and sanity) of students.
Lohse's op-ed continues:
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. [Jim Yong] Kim, [Dartmouth president], 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.
Such shocking accusations will need to be supported by Lohse with exactly the pictures, text, video, dates and times he's claimed to have provided Dartmouth's administration for his claims to have any true heft or merit. And caution should be urged in taking Lohse's account for absolute truth until something a bit more damning than an op-ed surfaces. But, if true, Lohse's account could have a sweeping effect on the way college administrations view their Greek systems.
Have you had a horrendous hazing experience? Let's hear it in the comments below. How did the experience affect you? Would you have bathed in a kiddie pool of urine, vomit, semen, fecal matter and who knows what else if your prospective frat or sorority demanded you do so in order to join?