CONCORD, N.H. — Dartmouth College students can’t live in the fraternity house that partially inspired the 1976 movie “Animal House” because the building lost its zoning classification when Alpha Delta was banned from campus two years ago, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
The college revoked the fraternity’s status as a student organization in 2015, after a string of disciplinary violations involving alcohol, hazing and burning brands into the skin of new members. At the time, an attorney for the fraternity said a small group of members voluntarily chose to get branded, which he compared to forms of self-expression such as piercings or tattoos.
The town of Hanover later ruled that the fraternity’s $1.4 million house was no longer a student residence because zoning rules require that such buildings operate “in conjunction with” an institution, such as the college. Alpha Delta argued that it should not be subject to that requirement because it used the property as a student residence before that zoning rule took effect, but the court on Tuesday rejected that argument.
“We are pleased that the Supreme Court has upheld the town’s decision regarding the interpretation of its zoning ordinances,” college spokeswoman Diana Lawrence said.
Alpha Delta had been a fraternity at Dartmouth since the 1840s. The building dates to 1920 and typically housed 18 to 22 students. None have lived there since June 2015, Lawrence said.
Shortly after it de-recognized Alpha Delta, Dartmouth reinstated a policy that bars students from living in houses owned by unrecognized Greek organizations.