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‘Animal House’ Fraternity to Appeal Dartmouth Branding Sanction

CONCORD, N.H. ― A Dartmouth College fraternity that partly inspired the 1978 movie Animal House and was recently accused of branding new members is appealing a decision to withdraw its recognition as a student organization.

George Ostler, an attorney for Alpha Delta, said Wednesday that the fraternity disagrees with the college’s Organizational Adjudication Committee, which found it responsible for causing harm to members and failing to comply with the terms of its suspension for alcohol violations. He said the proposed punishment is disproportionate to the alleged violation and that the fraternity will appeal the findings and the sanction.

Alpha Delta has a significant record of disciplinary violations, including hazing, serving alcohol to minors and hosting unregistered parties. The branding allegations involve incidents that happened last fall, when the fraternity was under suspension for previous alcohol violations.

College officials declined to provide details of the allegations when they extended the suspension last month. Ostler has described the branding as a voluntary form of self-expression like body piercing or tattooing. He said the practice was never a condition of membership and has since stopped.

Regardless of the outcome of an appeal, the college’s interim dean, Inge-Lise Ameer, has the authority to withdraw recognition of Alpha Delta. She’s taken evidence from the committee under advisement.

The allegations at Dartmouth come amid increased scrutiny of fraternities as colleges nationwide grapple with issues of high-risk drinking and sexual assault.

At the University of Oklahoma, fraternity members were caught on video singing a racist song. At Penn State, investigators have been looking into allegations that a fraternity had a private Facebook group with pictures of nude and partially nude women, some of them asleep or unconscious.

Two organizations at North Carolina State have been shut down, one over a sexist and racist book, another over sexual assault allegations.

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