HANOVER, N.H. (AP) - A spike in reports of hazing at Dartmouth College prompted the Ivy League school to hire an external investigator to look at over a dozen organizations including fraternities and sororities.
College officials told The Dartmouth student newspaper the investigation was sparked by an increase in incident reports during the current fall term, including reports of forced alcohol consumption and inappropriate sexual behavior. The organizations include five fraternities, three sororities and co-ed Greek houses, three athletic teams, a student organization and a program that performs songs and dances for prospective students each spring, the newspaper reported.
An email sent to the Greek Leadership Council, which works with all Greek organizations, wasn't immediately returned Friday.
"The college is taking these allegations seriously and has retained an external investigator to conduct interviews and engage in a fact-finding process. The information has been shared with the Hanover Police Department per our protocol," college spokeswoman Diana Lawrence said in a statement. "Reporting activity that may be harmful or dangerous is the responsibility of every member of our community and we are heartened by those who have come forward. The information gathered through this process will inform the college's next steps including any interim measures and/or disciplinary processes."
The school is several years into a series of reforms aimed at addressing high-risk drinking, sexual assault and a lack of inclusion. The changes, dubbed the "Moving Dartmouth Forward" plan, include a ban on hard liquor, the development of a mandatory four-year sexual violence prevention curriculum and the creation of new residential communities.
In 2015, the college revoked the student organization status of the Alpha Delta fraternity after a string of disciplinary violations involving alcohol, hazing and burning brands into the skin of new members. More recently, the national board of directors of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, which adopted a plan to ban alcohol from its houses by 2020, pulled the charter of its Dartmouth chapter and closed the fraternity due to alcohol-related violations.
In July 2017, the women's swimming and diving team was put on probation for a year for telling first-year members to give sexualized PowerPoint presentations to teammates.