Police Investigation Determines Dartmouth Fraternity Pledges Branded Themselves, Hazers Everywhere Rejoice

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Four months ago, we reported that Dartmouth’s Alpha Delta chapter was under fire for branding pledges. After further investigation, it has been determined that the pledges branded themselves voluntarily, and no hazing charges will be filed against members of the chapter.

From Valley News:

The Hanover Police Department and the Grafton County Attorney’s Office have found insufficient evidence to charge Alpha Delta fraternity with hazing stemming from revelations that 11 new members at Dartmouth College had branded themselves last fall.

Police Chief Charlie Dennis said Tuesday that the investigation was closed and that the evidence indicated that the fraternity members who burned Alpha Delta’s Greek letters onto their bodies had done so of their own free will.

“Our understanding is that it was all voluntary on their part,” Dennis said.

The sad thing is the public probably reads this story and thinks, “Oh, those crafty whippersnappers! They’re going to get away with hurting those poor young men!” They don’t understand that this decision, while certainly uncommon in today’s anti-Greek legal system, is 100% correct. It’s the decision that should always be made in this situation. Just because pledges aren’t signing a release form before they pledge, it doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of accepting all the known potential hazards of joining a Greek organization as they are presented to them. And, if you don’t like it, leave it, at literally any time. If you don’t want to stay, we don’t want you to. Simple as that. Kudos to the pledges for not spilling the beans and incriminating the chapter.

To make the case even more cut-and-dry, only 11 of the fraternity’s 35 pledges were branded. That’s less than a third. Either this was voluntary, or those are the least intimidating pledge masters of all time.

We all know that this wasn’t 100% voluntary, though. The active members pressured the pledges to receive the brand in some way, be it verbal, the promise of some sort of reward, or what have you. We’ll never know. But pressure isn’t hazing. Pressure tests dedication. If a pledge isn’t fully dedicated to the cause, the pressure means nothing. It will not influence their decision – they’ll stick to their guns, and keep living their lives how they want. Twenty-four pledges did just that.

Pressure only works if you care about what the person pressuring you thinks about you. And, if you do, then it’s your prerogative to decide whether it’s worth it, for you, not anybody else, to give into the pressure. While there is certainly a power dynamic at play here, I like to believe that all of the pledges that received the brand did it of their own free will.

While Alpha Delta has already lost their recognition at Dartmouth because of the branding incident, an outcome that doesn’t appear as if it is going to change, we can all hope this sets a precedent for universities in the future to not be so quick to judge. Wishful thinking, I know.

With this news and the recent news out of the University of Nebraska, the anti-Greek pussification of America seems to have temporarily halted. Let’s hope this trend continues.

[via Valley News]

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