A Dartmouth College fraternity not unfamiliar with making headlines is under investigation for hazing, officials said.
The Hanover Police Department is investigating reports that Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity hazed its new members, Diana Lawrence, director of media relations for Dartmouth College said Tuesday to INSIDE EDITION.
“The College is cooperating with the organization and also with the Hanover Police, who are obligated to investigate any reports of alleged hazing,” Lawrence said. “We cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.”
The national SAE organization said it notified college administrators of the allegations and ordered the Dartmouth chapter to suspend all activities.
“We view our relationship with Dartmouth College as a partnership,” SAE spokesman Brandon Weghorst said in a statement to IE.
“Sigma Alpha Epsilon maintains stringent guidelines and expectations though our health & safety program, and members who do not comply with them are sanctioned accordingly.
“Furthermore, we have a zero-tolerance policy for any actions or behaviors that deviate from our policies, mission and creed — because that type of conduct is unacceptable,” Weghorst continued.
No details surrounding the hazing allegations were released.
Dartmouth’s chapter SAE was put on probation three years ago when former member Andrew Lohse wrote in a column for the school newspaper that the fraternity had its pledges engage in “dehumanizing” experiences.
In April 2012, a Dartmouth judicial panel found the fraternity guilty of hazing, finding that members of the frat in 2009 drove blindfolded pledges off-campus, expected pledges to drink shots of saltwater or alcohol as well as enter a kiddie pool filled with condiment.
The panel said there was not enough evidence to support the more egregious claims made by Lohse, who wrote that pledges were made to eat omelets made of vomit and chug cups of vinegar.
Lohse also wrote that pledges were pressured to swim in a kiddie pool filled with “vomit, urine, fecal matter, semen and rotten food products.”
Based on his claims, Dartmouth charged the fraternity and 27 students, including Lohse, with hazing but later dropped the individual charges.
The fraternity was put on probation for three terms and members were made to participate in educational programs, the Associated Press wrote.
The fraternity, which is one of the Nation’s largest, said it has offered an anti-hazing hotline for many years, and earlier this year created an anonymous hotline anyone can use to report inappropriate or illegal activity.
“Our goal is to provide a meaningful, safe and beneficial experience for all of our members and the communities in which they live. If they cannot do so, our leadership will not hesitate to take swift actions or measures, as they have demonstrated in the past, in order to make our organization better,” Weghorst said.
The fraternity, which was founded in 1956 and was once labeled by Bloomberg as America’s “deadliest frat,” is no stranger to controversy.
Reports show the national fraternity was linked to nine deaths involving drinking, drugs and hazing since 2006, more than any other Greek organization at the time.
Earlier this month the frat’s Yale chapter faced allegations of racism when a white brother was accused of telling prospective party goers “white girls only,” according to reports.
“Sigma Alpha Epsilon believes racial intolerance should never be accepted,” the national organization said in a press release on its site. “The facts in the case indicate that no ‘white-girls only’ party took place during Halloween weekend.”
The fraternity was only adhering to law enforcement authorities’ order to stop letting people into the party because it was crowded, the statement said.
“We hold our members accountable, but we absolutely will support them when any accusation is false or misleading,” the fraternity’s national president, Steve Churchill, said in a statement.
Its University of Oklahoma chapter was shuttered after video surfaced earlier this year that showed SAE members singing a racist song that made references to lynching and used the N-word.
And in 1988, the fraternity’s founding chapter at the University of Alabama was suspended for two years after four members were arrested for selling cocaine.