Crips and Bloods at Dartmouth

At Alpha Delta, when it rains it pours. Just weeks after one of their own inadvertently urinated on a passerby from a second floor balcony, the fraternity that inspired National Lampoon’s “Animal House” is once again in the national spotlight, only this time it is not ammonia, but a choice party theme that has left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.

The controversy began on July 26 when AD and Tri-Delt cohosted a small party with a “Crips and Bloods” gangland theme. Although both houses deny that there was any harm or racial stereotyping intended, the questionable selection raised many red flags amongst students and administrators alike. After the head of Dartmouth’s chapter of the NAACP circulated a memo calling for immediate action, many on campus have expressed their concern and several outside news sources have picked up on the story. In response to an early inquiry by Dartblog, AD released this collective statement:

 …Alpha Delta initially sought to deal with the problem internally. We have overhauled our internalmanagement policy in regards to parties and themes, and we now have a much more rigorous process to approve party themes and ensure that no more insensitive parties get the go-ahead. We sat down with an individual who was originally offended by the party, and personally apologized for the event’s theme and our insensitivity to its gravity. The conversation gave us a greater understanding of the pain gang violence causes and how personal it is for so many people here at Dartmouth, and in the country at large. We have gained a greater appreciation for the very real effect gang violence has on members of the Dartmouth community, and the conversation has opened our eyes to a subject which we had never before fully comprehended.

However, we also realize that our event was not just offensive to a few people who attended the party, but that the party was objectively offensive. We want to issue a public apology for our oversight, insensitivity, and thoughtlessness. Alpha Delta will be meeting with OPAL and the GLC later this week to discuss what we can do moving forward to increase education and awareness, and to make sure something like this never happens again. We will also be spearheading policy reform in the fall to add to the GLC’s new member education. AD will be hosting and sponsoring programming in the fall about stereotypes on Dartmouth’s campus as well as in our society as a whole. While our actions that night were indefensible, AD is taking every possible measure to rectify our mistake.

 This was clearly an instance of seriously bad judgment on our part, but we believe it will serve as an educational experience that will ultimately lead to better judgment in the future. As we grow and learn, we are becoming more self-critical about our actions and how they affect others around us…

  Sincerely,

  The Brothers of Alpha Delta

Representatives from Tri-Delt have also responded in kind, expressing their regret that the party took place in the first place and their willingness to work toward an improved climate of “cultural sensitivity and awareness” on the campus.

 While many have praised the efforts of both houses to make amends and own up to the error, the controversial theme continues to draw fire from many groups around the Green. Most recently, the College’s NAACP chapter sent out a strongly worded “call to action,” in which it encouraged students to report the party as a “bias incident” on a Dartmouth web form (that can be accessed here). Already, it seems that the campus is readying itself for a larger conflict over the days to come.

 

— Nicholas P. Desatnick