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'Animal House' Fraternity Party Is Over

By William Vogeler, Esq. on April 19, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It took almost 40 years, but the Animal House fraternity finally got kicked out for real.

A New Hampshire court upheld a ruling to ban the fraternity from the house that inspired the raunchy 1978 movie. In "National Lampoon's Animal House," John Belushi leads a cast of unruly frat brothers who seek revenge against the dean who kicked them out.

The movie immortalized the Alpha Delta fraternity, which had been affiliated with Dartmouth College since the 1840's. But the college revoked the fraternity's status as a student organization for violating the school's code of conduct in 2015, and the town then sought to terminate its use of the house.

Out House

The Town of Hanover had designated the Alpha Delta property as part of an education district, which permitted housing for educational or dormitory use. A "student residence" was defined as residence used "in conjunction with" an educational institution.

Because the college revoked the fraternity's status, however, it was no longer associated with the college. As a result, the court said, the student residence violated the zoning code.

"Accordingly, we affirm the trial court's determination that the use of Alpha Delta's property as a student residence violates the Town's zoning ordinance," the Supreme Court of New Hampshire said in Dartmouth Corporation of Alpha Delta v. Town of Hanover.

The real-life drama is noteworthy, but the movie version is more more entertaining. It made Belushi famous, and Toga party even more famous.

Laugh Now

The movie wind-up begins after the dean shows up at the fraternity house, where the frat boys are lounging. Dean Vernon Wormer announces that their status is about to be revoked, prompting a snicker from one of the boys.

"Laugh now, because you clowns have been on double-secret probation since the beginning of this semester," he says with a wry smile. "And that means one more slip-up, one more mistake, and this fraternity of yours has had it."

After the dean leaves, the fraternity brothers discuss their options. "We gotta do something," one says. "You know what we gotta do?"

"Toga party!" they chime.

Party's Over

In the case decided by the New Hampshire court, the violations were not so funny. The college de-recognized the fraternity for initiating new members by literally branding them.

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