The New Jersey kid, who was a straight-A student, revealed the depth of the hazing at the fraternity in a column in the college newspaper before talking to Rolling Stone for an in-depth article. Published by St. Martin’s Press in 2014, the book is an account of sordidness and redemption by the former Dartmouth fraternity member, whose magazine interview blew the whistle on the hazing practices of the university’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. That hazing consisted of making pledges get in a kiddie pool of human feces, urine, semen and vomit, drink cups of vinegar and eat omelets made with vomit. It also, according to Rolling Stone, made one pledge so sick he threw up blood.
The magazine article went viral, putting a spotlight on fraternity hazing at colleges across the country. The book is told from the viewpoint of a frat boy who gets caught up in the culture before blowing the whistle on hazing.
Dartmouth investigated the charges and charged 27 members with hazing violations, then later dropped all the charges when they could find no substantiation. Not surprised. A panel of students and faculty had found the frat responsible for hazing and providing alcohol to underage students but disputed the allegations made by Lohse, who later was suspended for cocaine possession, witness tampering and intoxication. The embarrassment for Dartmouth ended in a slight slap on the wrist for the fraternity for giving alcohol to minors. But anyone who thinks that hazing does not get bad only need to look at the death of Nolan Burch, Tucker Hipps and Chad Meredith, to name only a few. So sick and sad.
Amy Wagner of Abrams Artist Agency’s literary division brokered the deal with Tomorrow ITV Studios. In 2012, Steve Ross of the agency’s book division led negotiations for the book’s publishing rights, which went to St. Martin’s. Lohse is represented by both the literary and book department of Abrams Artists Agency.