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Yesuto Shaw Explains APA’s Wrist Slap

Yesuto Shaw ‘15, who reported on hazing at Alpha Phi Alpha to both readers of The D and the Dean of the College, offers an explanation in The D today of why Dartmouth’s black frat received only three terms of social probation for offenses that seemed to merit derecogntion:

When I originally talked to the Greek Letter Organizations and Societies office last October, the new, stricter policies on hazing had only recently gone into effect. As I explained my situation to the director, I originally refrained from disclosing which fraternity I was hazed by and told him that I wanted to know what the consequences for the fraternity would be if I submitted a hazing report. He explained to me that the administration had decided to give all Greek organizations a short grace period of one month after the new policies were put into effect.

During this grace period, GLOS would give lighter punishments to Greek organizations that came forward and admitted hazing or to those that were accused of hazing. The consequences of reporting hazing would primarily be focused on educating the organizations on how to make initiation procedures more positive and beneficial for new members. I was told, near the end of October, that the grace period would end and that I could choose to submit my report either during the grace period or after it had ended.

I chose the former option. I chose to report Alpha Phi Alpha with assurances that the (previously undisclosed) fraternity I reported would not be derecognized, but would have their consequences more focused on education than on punishment. I chose this route because I did not want to see Alpha Phi Alpha removed from Dartmouth’s campus.

Shaw’s description of events puts the precedential value of APA’s punishment for hazing into question. However, the skeptic in me wonders why the Dean’s Office made no mention of the relevance of a grace period in announcing APA’s sanction. Also, recall that APA’s conduct took place well after Andrew Lohe’s revelations, at a time of heightened discussions about hazing and repeated mentions concerning the College’s serious attitude towards the offense.

Addendum: Let’s hope that the incoming Director of Undergraduate Judicial Affairs has a better ability to set standards that the Dean’s Office has shown in the past. COS and the various other adjudicatory bodies have been notoriously arbitrary. The only thing more infuriating than harsh justice is unpredictable decision-making.

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