This series examines the responsibility of national fraternities and colleges for the epidemic of fraternity-related deaths, injuries, hazings and binge drinking. It reveals that national fraternities dodge liability for mayhem at their local chapters, oppose anti-hazing bills in Congress and pressure colleges to drop restrictions on recruiting freshmen as pledges. Colleges face litigation from fraternities and the withholding of donations by wealthy alumni.
On a chilly March night, Sigma Alpha Epsilon brothers ordered Justin Stuart to recite the fraternity’s creed. It wasn’t easy to get the words out. Stuart was naked, except for his underwear, and standing in a trash can filled waist-deep with ice.
As a senior at Elon University in Elon, North Carolina, Lee John Mynhardt broke his neck when he was grabbed from behind and dragged out of a keg party held by a chapter of one of the largest national fraternities, Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity Inc.
As students vie for 2014 internships on Wall Street, a network of fraternity alumni guide resumes to the tops of stacks, reveal interview questions with recommended answers, offer applicants secret mottoes and support chapters facing crackdowns.
About 40 percent of U.S. senators, and 25 percent of U.S. representatives, belonged to fraternities or sororities in college. On April 24, more than a dozen of these grateful alumni extolled Greek life at an annual $500-a-plate dinner in a Washington hotel ballroom for “FratPAC,” the industry’s political arm.
Less than two years after Dartmouth College’s new President, Philip Hanlon, graduated in 1977, the school got so fed up with fraternity hijinks it gave the groups 12 months to end all racist, sexist and alcohol-abusing antics or face banishment.
A national fraternity with chapters on more than 125 campuses must stand trial over the drinking death of a Wabash College freshman, an Indiana court said in a ruling that may force the organizations to take more responsibility for misconduct at chapter houses.