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Catherine Thompson

Catherine Thompson is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. Before joining TPM, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She is a graduate of New York University, where she served as the deputy managing editor of NYU's student newspaper, the Washington Square News. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Catherine

A recent string of high-profile scandals has reopened the debate over whether college fraternities are positive forces for building community on campus or breeding grounds for dangerous attitudes and behavior towards minorities and women.

It's common knowledge that members of fraternities, and sororities as well, often stumble into trouble when their pledging rituals cross the line into hazing territory or when someone underage gets injured at a booze-fueled house party. Those incidents seldom make a big splash in national news outlets, and as a lengthy piece on fraternities published last year in The Atlantic explained, the fraternities are very adept at ducking liability for what happens under their roofs in those cases.

However, several fraternities have gotten their 15 minutes of infamy this month after being suspended by their respective universities for more disturbing offenses. From chants about lynching to marking new pledges with a hot brand, here are some examples of the most egregious behavior that landed fraternity members in hot water.

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It sounds like the kind of abuse anonymous Internet trolls hurl at women on Twitter: "Whiny little self-righteous bitch."

But as BuzzFeed reported Wednesday, a spokeswoman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) found herself on the receiving end of that insult and several others that were sexual in nature after she reached out to Daily Caller editor-in-chief Tucker Carlson and wound up with an unsolicited response from his brother, Buckley.

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