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SAE Trustees Rake College

Dartblog has obtained an internal memo in which the Trustees of SAE outline their case that the fraternity was targeted for derecognition by the College, and that it was not accorded its due process rights in the adjudication of the charges against it.

My sense is that we will see more aggressive behavior from the College in the coming months as the administration seeks to inflict a death by a thousand cuts on the Greek system:

From: Adam Grounds []
Sent: Monday, February 8, 2016 6:53 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: On Behalf of the Trustees of Dartmouth SAE

Dear Alumni of New Hampshire Alpha of Sigma Alpha Epsilon:

We are writing this update of recent events at Dartmouth College. A more detailed report will be forthcoming in the future.

As you might have read, last week the National Fraternity suspended New Hampshire Alpha’s charter for a period of “not less than five years.” Furthermore, the National suspended the individual memberships of every current Dartmouth student in SAE. In coordination with the National’s action, Dartmouth College revoked College recognition for the chapter as well. The purported rationale for this extraordinary action was described as “hazing” and “health and safety violations.”

The action taken against the Chapter was meticulously coordinated between Dartmouth College and the National Fraternity. We believe that this back door collaboration, conducted without our knowledge, resulted in the National acting wrongly, without regard to its organizational bylaws and in contravention of assurances made to us as Trustees. During the period this negotiation was taking place, College administrators held us in abeyance by promising a fair judicial process that we believe they never had any intention of proceeding with.

The Trustees are outraged by this outcome.

For the avoidance of doubt:

— New Hampshire Alpha of SAE has not been charged with any crime.

— New Hampshire Alpha of SAE has not been charged by the College.

— New Hampshire Alpha of SAE has not been charged by the National Fraternity.

As background, in October of 2015, the chapter was placed under a Cease and Desist order by the National Fraternity after it received notice of an anonymous report that alleged hazing. Subsequently, this report was investigated, to various extents, by the Hanover Police, Dartmouth College, and the National Fraternity. We have read the results of the investigation, we believe no individual was ever placed in risk of personal harm and have formed an opinion no hazing occurred.

Our fact-checking of Dartmouth information has given us a high degree of confidence that the College’s descriptions of activities taken by students in the house are exaggerated, omit context, mischaracterize events, and are arranged in a manner to lead a third party observer to reach improper and untrue conclusions.

In our view, a reasonable party familiar with the Dartmouth College environment would conclude that the activities that triggered the anonymous report were juvenile and vulgar. However, by all accounts, they were optional actions performed in a private setting by adults who exercised their personal prerogative to do so. They were also similar in material respects to those that are well known to occur at Dartmouth clubs, athletic teams, societies, organizations and other membership groups.

The original source of the anonymous report was quoted in a Hanover Police report as stating he “felt perfectly safe,” and a Dartmouth College report notes “… most of the men interviewed were quick to relate that they did not view any of their activities as unsafe, degrading, or hazing.”

Based upon our understanding of events, we feel an extreme and unjustified punishment was handed out by the College and the National Fraternity. Depriving our men of the dignity of even being formally accused, and removing their right to any proceeding is not just. The Trustees were asked to cooperate with the College and follow its rules and procedures, with explicit promises that the Chapter would be allowed to defend itself in a formal proceeding. We cooperated in both letter and spirit. In the end, assurances made to us were ignored. We expected more from Dartmouth and were sorely disappointed. The National’s actions are simply a disgrace.

We continue to hope that cooler heads will prevail and a constructive dialog may still be maintained with each of these parties, but we are not optimistic.

We will be consulting with counsel and advisors regarding appropriate next steps. We also appreciate any thoughts and advice you could share with us at this time. Our chapter’s active and continued presence is important to alumni, active students and future generations.

We expect to provide you more information in the near future, and may be asking for your help. In the meantime, we hope you will support our men at Dartmouth SAE.

We have created an online communication portal to allow you to send us your input.

We hope you contact us and let us know your opinion. Your views, questions, and opinions will be crucial for us in determining out next steps.

In the bonds,

Ken Holmes ‘81
Jeremy Katz ‘95
Jim Morgan ‘82


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