Former Dartmouth College student Andrew Lohse’s purported fraternity hazing tell-all “Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy: A Memoir” was released this week, and is getting slammed with bad reviews — including a particularly critical one in The Dartmouth, the school’s student newspaper.
The Dartmouth’s review paints “Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy” as a pointless rehash of Lohse’s college experience, wherein the former Sigma Alpha Epsilon brother repeats tales of hazing so ridiculous they almost force you not to believe them.
As The Dartmouth’s reviewer writes, “Even if his allegations are true, towing readers through this slogfest feels like an act of hazing itself … I came to resent Lohse both for his senseless participation in these heinous situations and for the way he put me through them.”
Lohse first gained notice in 2012, when a column of his in The Dartmouth chronicled the hazing he reportedly went through as an SAE pledge — and later participated in as a brother. Among the most disturbing details included “a kiddie pool full of vomit, urine, faecal matter, semen and rotten food products” that pledges were forced to swim through, and the pledges’ collected demotion to “whale sh*t” in the eyes of the SAE brothers.
In “Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy,” The Dartmouth’s review states, “Lohse expands the saga by over 300 pages, filling the gaps with redundant tales of basements, abuse and self-pity.”
In a seperate news article about the book’s release this week, The Dartmouth notes that much of the hazing detailed in Lohse’s claims was found by the college to be inaccurate and not a solid enough account to bring forth charges:
“In a campus-wide email [in 2012], then associate dean of campus life April Thompson wrote that the Organizational Adjudication Committee, a panel of students, faculty and staff, had found SAE responsible for hazing, disorderly conduct and providing alcohol to underage students. SAE admitted to driving blindfolded students off campus and having new members enter a ‘splash pool filled with food,’ acts that constitute hazing, she wrote.
However, she wrote that ‘the OAC did not find a preponderance of evidence that SAE engaged in the most egregious of the allegations detailed in the report and did not find a preponderance of evidence that SAE hazed new members in 2011.'”
Other reviews have also found problems with Lohse’s new memoir, calling into question the validity of his claims. In The Wall Street Journal, Dartmouth alum Joseph Rago writes:
“Trigger warning: These may be the worst, and least trustworthy, confessions in the 16 centuries since St. Augustine’s. As an Ivy League frat boy myself, who graduated from that Hanover, N.H., institution not long before Mr. Lohse arrived, I found his story far-fetched, and anyone ought to question the testimony of an aspiring Bret Easton Ellis.
… More to the point, some of the incidents that Mr. Lohse describes are crimes. For that reason, both the Hanover police and the college administration investigated and found no evidence or other witnesses to corroborate his allegations. None. The author claims these same authorities, whom most students and alumni regard as no fans of the Greek system, are part of a conspiracy.”
Dartmouth spokesperson Justin Anderson sent the following statement to Business Insider:
Hazing is strictly prohibited by Dartmouth College and by New Hampshire state law.
Dartmouth continues to strengthen and clarify its anti-hazing policies and expanded educational programming as part of a comprehensive effort in 2012 to create a safer social environment to support students’ academic development.
Since becoming Dartmouth College President in 2013, Phil Hanlon has made the issue of campus behaviour — and engaging the entire community in improving it — a leadership priority.
In the coming months, a Presidential Steering Committee will present recommendations to Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees for ways to improve student life across all areas where social activities take place, including fraternities, sororities and residence halls. Moreover, Dartmouth has initiated discussions with other universities and colleges to identify and implement best practices to rid our campus of all extreme behaviour.
Dartmouth provides many opportunities and strong support for learning and personal growth in and out of the classroom. It is regrettable when a student, like Mr. Lohse, makes poor choices and fails to take advantage of the experience and resources we provide.
We are committed to working continually as a community to improve campus life and also to strengthen students’ understanding of the personal responsibilities they shoulder.
In 2012, the fraternity in question was investigated and charged with violations of Dartmouth’s hazing policy, resulting in multi-term sanctions.
As President Phil Hanlon stated on April 16, 2014 at the Student Summit, “Change will not come from the top down. True and lasting change will come because of a change in ethos by every member of our community.”
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