Dartmouth fraternity faces charges over offensive newsletters

Wednesday, May 2nd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

HANOVER, N.H. (AP) _ A Dartmouth College fraternity has been placed on probation by its national executive committee for publishing newsletters that degraded women and indicated the frat had tips on how to commit date rape.

College officials will hold hearings this weekend to decide if the 48-member Zeta Psi fraternity should be punished for printing and distributing at least two newsletters in early April.

Richard Breeswine, the national executive director, said probation is one step removed from suspending a chapter's charter, and that he will wait for the results of the hearings before taking further action.

The fraternity could receive a warning from the college or be shut down, dean of students James Larimore said Tuesday.

The newsletters came to light during sexual awareness week at the Ivy League school that inspired the movie ``Animal House.''

One of the newsletters showed a bare-breasted woman under the headline ``More gratuitous Cancun porn.'' It describes fraternity members' sexual escapades.

A second newsletter, which discusses two fraternity members' sexual encounters, notes that a future issue will give one member's ``patented date rape techniques.''

Campus police investigated the date rape notation, but no criminal charges have been filed, Larimore said. For now, the fraternity faces only college charges for breaching Dartmouth's conduct standards, he said.

Former member Alex Nazaryan said similar newsletters were distributed regularly at fraternity meetings as part of a ``tradition held in the greatest esteem.''

Nazaryan, a 21-year-old junior, said the fraternity was put on probation in the 1980s for a similar newsletter.

Frat members said they were concerned about the investigation, but refused to discuss the newsletters.

``Everybody is talking about what is going on. We all like the house and we don't want to lose it,'' said junior Austin Wheeler, 20.

Fraternity president Gene Boyle did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Breeswine said the fraternity, chartered at Dartmouth in 1853, ``does not in any way condone physical or psychological hazing or sexual, alcohol or substance abuse.''