Sydney Morning Herald: American Frats and the “blizzard of sexual assault and racism allegations”

This is a piece on the Lohse story (I’ll write a full post and background)

SAE at Dartmouth:

And that is how in a moment of triumph after a year of networking he found himself covered with regurgitated booze in a private room in the basement of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon frat house. He was an initiate – a pledge – and the young men who he hoped would accept him as a “brother” were standing around him chanting, “Boot on his head! Boot on his head! Boot on his head!”.

The vomit flowed through his hair and down the side of his face and some slid down his back to gather in his underwear.

“Boot” is a Dartmouth term for vomit, and once the drunken pledge that was spewing over him had emptied his gut, Lohse would be a step closer to admittance to the inner sanctum.

Later he would be baptised in a wading pool filled with a cocktail of vomitus, semen, piss and shit. Later again he would conceive of and prosecute new torments for later pledges. He’d thrill at the thought that the rolled banknotes the brothers used as cocaine straws bore the signature of the United States Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Paulson, a Dartmouth SAE alumni.

But now, with the vomit warm on his head and back, he was just glad to be a little closer. If he could just hold out for a few more weeks of his pledge initiation, he’d be part of the elite.

Something to think about

Editorial

Fraternities have their historical roots in exclusivity and privilege, as Matthew W. Hughey, a professor at the University of Connecticut who studies Greek organizations , told McClatchy News Service for an article that appeared in the Sunday Valley News last week. They were created in the 18th- and 19th centuries to protect and foster white power, wealth and status. Some still do serve that purpose.

The question today is whether young men who bond with like-minded brothers in a closed society whose origins lie in the fact of exclusion are more likely to offend against common decency than they would as individuals. Unless all that charitable work and fundraising by fraternity members for good causes is undertaken by a completely different cohort of fraternity members from those whose depredations are featured in the news just about every day, we’re inclined to think so. And that’s a strong argument for just disbanding them.

Bill Maher rips into frats

Bill Maher went off on fraternity culture in his show this week, saying that before President Obama leaves office he “must send in the national guard to desegregate America’s last bastion of societal-approved racism.” And for those who complain? “Sorry brah, from now on if you’re going to want to live with 40 dudes and hold secret homoerotic ceremonies you’re going to have to join the seminary.”

Maher says that it’s always seemed strange that while everyone seems to value political correctness on campus, “smack in the middle are frat houses, these little Vatican cities of depravity that seem to enjoy diplomatic immunity from civilization.”

And while fraternities do plenty of bad things, there’s likely nothing worse than the way “they take young people at the exact moment when they should be learning to be individuals and turn them into shit-eating orders-following group thinkers,” says Maher.

LINK

John Chandler: former Duke COB and President of AACU on frats

The racist video from Sigma Alpha Epsilon at the University of Oklahoma. Brothers at Kappa Delta Rho at Penn State posting photos of naked, unconscious women. A Pi Kappa Phi pledge notebook at N.C. State with racist and sexist language.

John Chandler, the former president of Williams College in Massachusetts, isn’t surprised. “I don’t think there’s any college or university that’s immune,” he told me this week. “But I think without fraternities the risk is considerably lower for episodes of that kind.”

Chandler, 91, is a North Carolina native who graduated from Wake Forest College in 1945 and received his doctorate from Duke. He taught religion at Williams in the early 1960s when the all-male college decided to phase out fraternities. He served as president of Hamilton College in central New York from 1968 to 1973, then returned to Williams as president for 12 years.

Later he was president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and chairman of the board at Duke. He’s one of the most distinguished figures in American higher education.

PSU: It may be that more than one frat has pulled this assault off

A sorority woman says this issue is more widespread than just at Kappa Delta Rho. She knows this because a few years ago, a different Penn State fraternity shared an explicit photo of her she didn’t even know was taken.

Are you surprised.

I was hoping for no felonies today but frat bros always deliver.

Disgusting. Nauseating and they continue saying “its only a few bad apples”