America’s fraternities have a problem. Since 2005, 59 students have died in incidents involving frats, about half of which were alcohol-related (six other students were paralyzed). Ten were killed in 2012, the most fatalities in at least a decade. Still, membership is surging – participation is up 25 percent from 2007 according to the North-American Interfraternity Conference. To the millions of students returning to campuses this fall, here are the 10 worst houses in America, places where sexism, racist acts and automatic weapons are alarmingly commonplace. (Disclosure: the author belonged to a fraternity).
10. Kappa Sigma, Tulane University
State Police seized $10,000 worth of psychedelics from the Kappa house after two 19-year-old brothers scored 107 grams of ecstasy from undercover officers. The bounty included 57 tabs of LSD, 69 grams of mushrooms, 48 grams of opium, 22 grams of marijuana, .80 grams of cocaine and .91 grams of DMT.
9. Pi Kappa Phi, University of Arizona
A sampling of the Pi Kapps’ 14 citations since 2010: On at least three occasions, brothers (or their guests) ended up in the hospital for excessive alcohol consumption. And despite being fined $250 for hazing in January 2012 (they deprived pledges of food and sleep) they were caught again in January 2013.
8. Phi Delta Theta, Emory University
Recent infractions at this Atlanta house run the gamut from force-feeding pledges “unusual amounts” of items “not typical for eating” to having them sleep on a basement floor in just their boxers. But it’s the requirement that new members participate in a Chuck Palahniuk-style “fight club” that clocks this brotherhood in at number eight.
7. Pi Kappa Alpha, Florida International University
Pike’s Kappa Gamma chapter used Facebook and another message board to sell drugs (Vyvanse 60mg $10 text me), share hazing techniques (lets get ready to commit some pledgicide) and trade naked photos their classmates. One picture – there were nearly 70 – included the comment: “i think she was 17 at the time of the titi pics LOL.”
6. Alpha Gamma Rho, Arkansas State University
Seventeen minors were cited this June after police responded to shots fired from an AK-47 at their Jonesboro, Arkansas, residence, and charged with possession of alcohol, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
5. Sigma Chi, Willamette University
When posts from Sigma’s private Facebook group were posted online this May, it opened the curtains on an ugly culture that reigned in the Salem, Oregon-based brotherhood. The leak included descriptions of hazing techniques (“Fuck em up Mike”), rants directed at classmates (“tell her she don’t know how to do shit but eat dick’s”), and seriously sexist comments, including “just cunt punt her” in reference to a female faculty member and “woman’s rights are the biggest joke in the U.S.”
4. Beta Theta Pi, Carnegie Mellon University
Beta Theta Pi is one of the oldest fraternities in America, and their Gamma Iota chapter is arguably their worst. This March, university officials discovered them trading sexually explicit pictures (and videos) of men and women, all of which were captured inside their house on campus. The brothers are currently under police investigation.
3. Sigma Alpha Epsilon, University of New Mexico
Over the past five years, the SAE brothers have been repeatedly cited for hazing and damaged property. But rapes have plagued this Albuquerque house since 2007. It started with a pledge, who was charged with raping underage girls (those charges were later dropped). Then, on April 2, another sexual assault was reported; the girl in question “doesn’t remember a lot.”
2. Alpha Delta, Dartmouth College
Dartmouth, which provided the real-life inspiration for Animal House, has long had a reputation for bad greek behavior. But this July, according to the NAACP, over 200 students “dressed as bloods or crips [and] using racialized language” attended a gang-themed blowout. This isn’t the first time a Darmouth frat has thrown a breathtakingly racist party. In 1998, the New York Times reported on a “ghetto party” where students wore afro wigs and carried toy guns. And just last year, Rolling Stone published “Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy,” an expose of hazing practices on campus.
1. Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Arizona State University
Two incidents in the last eight months ring this Tempe-based brotherhood in at number one. In December of last year, a prospective member drowned after a night of binge drinking at a fraternity event, and this May, brothers dumped one of their own in front of a local ER with a Post-It note on his body. According to reports, the young man, 20, had consumed 30 ounces of tequila, and his blood alcohol level was five times the legal limit.