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Media’s Attempt To Embarrass A Dartmouth Fraternity Falls Short

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The biggest difference between we here at Total Frat Move and other popular media outlets is that we not only understand that we’re a caricature, but aim to be one.

The latest example of farfetched journalistic overreach comes from Gawker.

The fact that Gawker ran what was intended to be a closed door conversation isn’t what is at issue here. The documents were readily available online, because apparently while an Ivy League education hands you a key to life, it doesn’t teach you to always lock up your own internal affairs.

In fact, the content of the Google Group page isn’t all that shocking. Article writer J.K. Trotter even concedes as such.

There are thirteen documents in all.







It’s human nature to want to know what happens behind closed doors. Often times, however, the only thing residing behind those doors is empty space.

A recent pledge questionnaire nicely demonstrates the house’s attitude toward women. In addition to their height and weight, Beta pledges are asked to report their “chill-to-pull” ratio, which indicates the precise proportion between hanging out with fellow brothers and having sex with various “slams.” They’re also asked to indicate their preferred porn genre.

This is what happens when pop culture-based inside jokes are picked up by an overzealous, outside crowd that doesn’t understand the reference.

The concern (albeit for the house’s reputation, rather than the victim’s safety) is understandable: The fraternity was kicked off campus in 1996 after a series of violent/homophobic/sexist incidents involving pledges and other fraternities and is rumored to have installed hidden cameras throughout the house for the purpose of watching other brothers copulate with sorority sisters.

Typed word is different than spoken, especially with leaving an impression on an audience, and Trotter knows that.

Trotter wraps up his investigation with more quote dropping, followed by doubt dropping, without any shred of evidence to support the implications.

While the Sink Night agenda includes a handful of precautions (“Never force a pledge to drink. Ask them if they’re drinking, if yes—drink when need be. If not, make someone else drink for them.”) it makes clear that Beta brothers coerce binge drinking by challenging each others’ masculinity:

Never allow a pledge to take more than one shot at your station. It is not worth the risk. If they get two things wrong, make someone else drink and say that it’s because “you’ve heard Pledge X is a pussy who can’t handle it” (or something to that effect).

It’s unlikely that Dartmouth administrators are privy to such rituals. But the school is hardly a stranger to their kind: Just last week, The New York Times detailed a string of prior alcohol-soaked incidents involving the school’s ubiquitous Greek system.

And, to be sure, Beta plans to be more careful at their next party: In the same email warning brothers about Saturday’s rager, the fraternity’s president reiterates a few basic party rules to be executed by pledges: “CHECK EVERYONE’S ID”; “Non-Dartmouth students are never allowed in the house unless they have a brother/pledge who is personally responsible for them.”

But enforcing such rules requires a modicum of sobriety: A difficult feat in a house practically submerged in alcohol.

Clean it up, Gawker. For all of your Fox News-bashing, this is Glenn Beck journalism run amok. They don’t actually have the conviction to say the naughty thing. They don’t have the stones to put pen to paper regarding how you really feel. Rather, just paint the implications, even though the words demanding responsibility by the brothers are right there. I’M JUST ASKING QUESTIONS!!!!!

And unlike the words actually written in the Betas’ Google Group page, it’s downright irresponsible.

[via Gawker]


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J Parks Caldwell

J. Parks Caldwell is a senior contributing writer for Total Frat Move, Rowdy Gentleman, and Post Grad Problems. He frequently blesses the rains down in Africa.

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