The talk around Dartmouth College this week has been a reverberating mantra of the Wall Street Journal’s headline “U.S. Picks Health Expert to Head World Bank” and the Rolling Stone’s “Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy.” Within a week’s time of President Barack Obama’s nomination of current Dartmouth College president Dr. Jim Yong Kim to lead the World Bank, Rolling Stone Magazine published a recent Dartmouth student’s accusation of a significantly unenforced hazing culture within the Dartmouth College Greek system. With Dr. Jim Yong Kim already away from campus on his global World Bank tour, the question has arisen as to who will address (and what will be done about) Andrew Lohse’s hazing accusations.
The answer? The Dartmouth administration has aleady addressed these concerns, and has pledged to continue to do so.
On January 25, 2012, Dartmouth student, Andrew Lohse, released an op-ed piece in The Dartmouth newspaper entitled “Lohse: Telling the Truth.” He recounted his past experiences with the Dartmouth hazing culture as a Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity pledge. Lohse used the words, “as a pledge, I ceased to be a human being” to describe the Dartmouth fraternity pledge process. He went on to point out that President Kim’s “sterling credentials in public health are fundamentally at odds with the pervasive hazing […] culture that dominates campus social life.” Lohse begged the Dartmouth community for a response in his column, claiming that the Dartmouth administration’s initial actions to his troubled situation were weak and short-lived.
Rolling Stone’s Janet Reitman picked up Lohse’s story after his column was printed in Dartmouth’s campus newspaper. She admitted to publishing Lohse’s story in the magazine to highlight the rampant nature of substance abuse, sexual assault, and hazing practices associated with the fraternity scene and to provoke a national discussion centered on these issues. Reitman’s biggest criticism of the college is that, from her personal observation, Dartmouth appears to be more concerned with its reputation than tackling the campus’ existing problems.
But, Lohse’s opinion column was published on January 25th of this year, and just one day later, the college responded both verbally and in practice. Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson reminded the Dartmouth community of the administration’s strong condemnation of hazing practices and that Dartmouth always takes immediate action when hazing allegations are made known. Dartmouth’s Undergraduate Judicial Affairs Office went on to charge 27 members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity with hazing violations.
All 27 of those charges were dropped just yesterday because of the lack of physical evidence to back the claims.
In October of last year, Lohse was arrested under protective custody for alcohol consumption. He pled guilty to an intoxication violation involving an incident in which he threw a chair at a Dartmouth Safety and Security officer just months before publishing his opinion column in The Dartmouth. Lohse was also charged with cocaine possession in late 2010 and was suspended from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon national fraternity. Why didn’t the accusations come out before his expulsion from SAE? How credible is Andrew Lohse?
Nevertheless, Dartmouth College has responded to Lohse’s accusations with open-armed concern and the plan to set up more obstacles in the path of hazing practices. President Kim recently announced that the college would introduce a new committee comprised of students, faculty, and staff working in “consultation with national experts” to confront the issues of hazing, sexual assault, and underage drinking at Dartmouth College.