The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

Annual DKE gator roast causes disturbance to students on campus

Annual+DKE+gator+roast+causes+disturbance+to+students+on+campus
Emma Liu

Students who wandered through the West Village quad Sept. 9 were met with an interesting sight: An entire alligator roasting on a spit, its decapitated head displayed proudly in an Adirondack chair. 

Delta Kappa Epsilon, a fraternity on campus, hosts an annual alligator roast to meet and recruit new members. This year, the fraternity hosted the event on campus instead of their usual location on Mission Hill. The roast, which started in preparation Saturday morning and went through the afternoon, upset and disturbed students. 

The fraternity posted multiple photos from the event on their Instagram page, including images of the alligator being cooked and eaten while the head sat on display in an Adirondack chair with an orange in its mouth.

 

“We had several students that came to us and also that commented on the Delta Kappa Epsilon Instagram page and expressed their concern, saying, ‘This was highly disturbing,’” said Sydney D’Argenio, president of Cruelty-Free Northeastern, a club on campus that promotes animal conservation and veganism. 

Students who commented complaints on Delta Kappa Epsilon’s, or DKE, Instagram post reported having their comments swiftly removed and their accounts blocked, D’Argenio said. 

D’Argenio, a fourth-year environmental and sustainability sciences major, and other members of Cruelty-Free Northeastern have sent email complaints to both the Center for Student Involvement, or CSI, and the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, or OSCCR, protesting the university’s support of the gator roast. D’Argenio and the club are determined to never allow such an event to occur on campus again.

CSI and Northeastern did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“It’s a very blatant open display of violence against an animal. It’s disturbing for students. We have a lot of students as well that are vegetarian or vegan who really don’t want to see something like that,” D’Argenio said. “And so it’s almost like an unsolicited, in your face sort of image that you cannot avoid.”

This is the first time Cruelty-Free Northeastern has officially reported an on-campus event it found unacceptable, but in the past, it has complained to the university about the lack of plant-based options at dining halls, D’Argenio said.

DKE declined to comment on the event and subsequent student reactions.

The event, however, has caused students to think about the industry of alligator farming and the event’s presence on campus.

Although The News could not confirm where DKE’s alligator was shipped from, alligator farming is a fairly lucrative business in southern states such as Florida and Louisiana. 

“There was a misconception, especially with the people that I was talking to about this event, that all alligator skins and meat comes from wild alligators that are shot because of risk to people, and that’s just grossly untrue,” said Natalie Potapov, a recent Northeastern graduate and former member of Cruelty-Free Northeastern. 

“Basically combine any animal with the word farming and it becomes a really horrible thing, and alligators are no exception,” Potapov said. 

In a Reddit thread seeking opinions on the roast, many defended the fraternity’s event. 

Thought it was cool, people are actually upset about this?? Seems like a reach, pretty sure countless schools in the south do gator roasts,” Reddit user u/GlowingDream wrote. 

Many people in the thread compared the roast to cooking and eating a more socially acceptable animal, such as a pig or a chicken. However, others wrote back condemning the public roasting of any animal. 

“No animal, whether a pig, cow, chicken, sheep, etc. should have been dismembered, murdered, and roasted on campus for someone’s sensory pleasure,” Reddit user u/WhispyLittleThing wrote in the thread.

“There is definitely more of a cultural acceptance around eating cows, pigs, chickens and all the other commonly farmed animals,” Potapov said. “But it was especially the presentation of the alligator that I think was very upsetting to people.”

About the Contributors
Val O'Neill, Deputy Campus Editor
Val O’Neill is a third-year journalism major with a minor in photography, and one of the deputy campus editors. She has previously been a staff writer and staff photographer, and is excited to bring new ideas and continue her participation on The News. You can follow her on X/Twitter at @vqon717.
Emma Liu, Deputy Design Editor
Emma Liu is a second-year behavioral neuroscience and design major. She is currently working as the deputy design editor for The News. Originally from Philadelphia, Emma loves to collect sonny angels, volunteer at local orgs and find good food in her free time.
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