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Mother Nature sided with her sisters at George Washington University last Sunday, when storm winds toppled the controversial “shoe tree” in front of the Delta Tau Delta (DTD) fraternity house. In 1996, a group of female students assailed frat members’ alleged tradition of hanging a pair of old shoes on the tree every time two brothers knocked boots with the same woman (“Footloose and Fancy Tree,” 2/7/97). They also labeled the tree a health hazard; the city removed the shoes and slapped DTD with a $400 fine. Former DTD President Jeff Butler, who denies the allegations about the shoes’ symbolism, says members returned the footwear to the tree within 12 hours of the city’s action. After Sunday’s storm, frat members transferred their shoes to another tree and, using a chain saw, broke down the original. Butler says they now plan to turn the wood into “ritual equipment.” He couldn’t, however, specify exactly what purpose that equipment would serve. “It’s part of the secret initiation.” —Laura Lang
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