Fraternityand sorority members unfortunately been stereotyped in today’s societyespecially with how a hazing scandal can effect his or her reputation. Hazing canbe considered any action taken or any situation created intentionally thatcauses embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule and risks emotional and/or physicalharm to members of a group, whether this person might be new to the group ornot, and regardless of the person’s willingness to participate.
This act hasbeen somewhat of a major part of history, which can be seen, still practicedtoday most infamously represented by members of the Greek life organization atmany colleges and universities. More and more tragic incidents have beenbrought up recently as a result of the media covering such crimes and thepopularity gained on social media. Even though some individuals might thinkthat this would bring the participants closer and bond because of what he orshe been through, such hazing acts will make the victims lives never the sameafter this potential harmful experience.When goingthrough the steps of joining Greek life at a certain school there comes acontrast between pledging a fraternity or sorority and being a part of whatthese members consider a sisterhood or brotherhood. In Merriam-Webster’sdictionary pledging is defined by putting in a lot of effort and a lot of timein promising to join said fraternity or sorority. Sisterhood is a society, orcommunity of sisters with shared conditions and experiences. Brotherhood isvery similar to being a part of a sisterhood but of course with men.
Thebenefits of being a part of a fraternity or sorority for example, thefriendships that they build with the fellow members, the academic supportnetwork, a professional network after graduating, and a wide range ofleadership opportunities. Students who abuse their title can and give a bad repfor all involved. The members of fraternities and sororities pride themselveson being considered brothers and sisters, but with hazing they do not act asthough they are. The members need to act as a family and protect each other,not cause harm to each other. Hazing is something that has been going on forover a 100 years on college campuses although it has been said that the originsof hazing can be traced as far back as 387 B.C. to the founding of Plato’sacademy (Nuwer).
By the young men who were students played practical jokes onnewcomers this is something that is not so different on what is consideredpresent day hazing. Laws have been made in majority of the states stating thathazing is against the law, it is hard to give a specific number because manyarticles have given different information especially in the time frame it hasbeen written. The main issue is why in the year 2017 hazing is not outlawed inall 50 states. But why are there still fraternities and sororities still practicesuch outdated rituals because this is an issue that should have been completelydealt with years ago but we are still hearing of such tragic incidentshappening today. Hazing can be expressed in manydifferent forms.
Some examples that occur can be seen as forced activities fornew recruits to prove if he or she is worthy to join, forced or required consumptionof alcohol, requirement to endure hardships being staying awake, menial tasks,physical labor, running while blindfolded, humiliation of new or potentialmembers, illegal activities like a requirement to steal local items as part ofa scavenger hunt, etc. Hazing practices vary in how severe it feels from oneperson to another it could be playful but other forms of hazing can get veryviolent and brutal. Some other ways that would also be considered hazing varybut have the same common idea, which is having difference in power betweenthose in a group and those who want to join a group when a intentionalinitiation rite, practice or ‘tradition’ is involved. Even if either partywillingly participates, someone always holds responsibility if something goeswrong in a situation even when it could be considered harmless. There can be moreways that fraternity and sorority members could get to bond with each other andget to know the new members such as all members participating in campus andcommunity activities, or participating in a community service project.Hazingoccurs in more places than just members of a Greek life organization it is alsopresent in sports teams, clubs, honor societies and more. In often situationhazing consist of someone having all the power and control.
Hazing does notbuild unity but in some occasions the individuals experiencing the hazing knowthe end result is not worth it to continue having to go through this physicaland mental torment. There are many people trying to fight this battleespecially represented by those involved in making the websitehazingprevention.org. This website wants to spread the message to preventhazing all across America and they do this by sharing statistics about hazing.For example, more than half of students in colleges and universities involvedin clubs, sports teams and organizations have experienced hazing.
A significantnumber of hazing incidents and deaths involve alcohol consumption. Studentsseem to be more likely of getting hazed if they knew an adult who was hazed, 2in 5 students say they are aware of hazing taking place on their campus. Hazingoccurs in middle schools, high schools and colleges. Both male and femalestudents report a high level of hazing. Hazing in college and universitiesGreek life is something that is being extremely focused on in today’s mediawith the current lawsuits against the students participating. Hazing is not somethingthat has only been affiliated with fraternities and sororities.
This act thathas been present all throughout history for example some “incidences of hazinghave been documented in such varying organization as Native American tribes,military groups, university sports” (Parks).Most deathsthat occurred because of hazing usually involved alcohol or drugs. The mostcommon intention that anyone group involved in hazing says it is usually meantto be used like a team building activity or to make sure everyone is up forwhat is to come. These acts can and do go too far, and get carried away in a veryshort time period. It is hard to then determine who could be liable for hazingothers but no one ends up saying anything because he or she does not want tofeel left out, they rather be a part of something even if he or she is involvedin such torturous activities. With time passing hazing becomes more violent anddangerous for the new recipients with all the current individuals that performthe hazing currently try to outdo the hazing that what was done to them. Thisis just an abuse of power and should be a violation of human dignity. Ifindividuals could be educated these inhumane acts of bullying would beforbidden in all places that hazing is present.
In aspecific article when researching this topic starts off discussing how peoplewere protesting to end fraternity hazing, because of how the death of peopledying in fraternity-related incidents has risen. The author Friedman, then asksthe question of should colleges abolish fraternities and sororities whilegiving options to the reader on how to make Greek life more safe andresponsible for the students involved along with their families. Surveyshave been done asking males and females in different age groups on their views andhis or her opinion of hazing in fraternities in the United States, 2014 and howthose situations should be handled. The first question that the subjects wereasked was if a fraternity gets caught hazing his or her members should it be suspendedfrom the campus. Of all participants 43% responded yes, permanently, 40%responded with yes, temporarily, 7% said no, while 10% of participant said thatthey were not sure. When the respondents of this question was separated by sexand age the answer still came back with similar results that the fraternityshould be either suspended permanently or suspended temporarily.An exampleof an extreme situation led to officials of AlphaPhi Alpha, the nation’s largest and oldest black fraternity, recently sued sixof their own members, alleging that he or she had damaged the reputation of thenational organization by allegedly carrying out violent acts of hazing whileusing the fraternity’s name and letters.
Of course, such practices are notrestricted to historically black fraternities and sororities this can happen inany fraternity or sorority no matter if they are predominantly black or white.There have been many statistics that are brought to hand and according to oneestimate, at least 65 students have died since 1978 as a result of beatings andstress inflicted during fraternity initiation rites (Stanglin).Collegeadministrator’s say, ” While sorority hazing is more likely to involveemotional or psychological abuse than physical violence, it is becoming a moreserious problem on some campuses” (Geraghty). Although hazing is not as common ina sorority than in a fraternity it still can happen in another shape or form.There has been hazing allegations brought up against different sororities andjust because he or she does not get physically being affected does not meanthat the members experiencing the hazing are not affected at all.
Being abusedmentally can be just as affective and can lead to drastic conclusions. Whilehandling all the struggles of being a college student this shouldn’t be a worrythat being part of family of your peers would come with the catch that yoursafety could be affected.Eventhough these practices have been present for more than a 100 years it stillseems to be on the back burner meaning everyone knows it is still happening butthey are not willing to act until something tragic happens. Why wait until itgets that far? Something should be done now.
Students should be protected.There are many organizations to prevent hazing but this issue is still at handit should take a more involved approach. Hazing should be outlawed in all 50states and should not expected with a slap on this wrist if these acts do playout. The individuals that had the right intentions to be founders of theirGreek chapters did not in vision this as the outcome and future of how Greeklife should be represented. To be a part of a fraternity and sorority is morethan throwing parties and hanging out with your friends they had pride forsomething that would and should be beneficial for all members involved.With hazingincidents involving fraternities and sororities, from the very beginningcertain people especially so-called grown-ups hated and do not support studentsparticipating in Greek life might use these wrongful acts as a reason to banishtheir organization.
With the threat of possibly being shut down students couldbe sent down the right pathway to stop future-hazing incidents by being betterinformed. Then there can also be the risk that if Greek life was shut down atcertain colleges or universities this could put the thought of rebelling morein their heads to get what they want. That is something that should not beallowed to happen especially on those campuses where Greek life plays animportant role that they can control everything. Thereare people that do not even know what hazing is, making for unexpected andvulnerable victims; everyone should be educated on how dangerous this could be,because no one deserves to experience this. No two people are exactly the same,so just because someone is thought to be experiencing so light playful hazingsuch as just embarrassing themselves, it might be experienced in a completelydifferent way, effected in a different way, or just pushed too far.Iffraternities and sororities are at that point where they as a whole are tiredof being stereotyped, then they have to work hard in changing their reputation.Fraternities have to show society on many occasions that they do have abeneficial purpose, and that they are not all about partying. (There arefraternities and sororities currently on a number of college campuses, thathave plans set to change how Greek life is represented by the means of not onlyabolishing hazing but additionally dispose of the generation-old tradition ofpledging itself.
Some fraternity contributors that were hazed in the past mightin all likelihood ask, how could they accept somebody into their sacred groupwho doesn’t pass tests whatever they may be. Nevertheless, performing physicaland pretty much torture tests are not the only types of tests that can be givento initiate pledges and should not even be considered an option especiallyanymore.)(Thereare fraternities that are, literally, getting away with murder, which is seenby the “reported forty-five to fifty deaths between 1978 and 1990 “which include hazing, accidental and suicide deaths (Nuwer).
For instance, in awell-publicized hazing death of Charles Stenzel, Author Hank Nuwer states that,”the thenpresident of Alfred University, M. Richard Rose, spoke at thememorial service and said that no individual student could be blamed for thedeath in which Chuck’s mother has called a senseless hazing incident”(Preface). Chuck died in a hazing incident from “acute alcohol poisoningcombined with exposure to cold, and severe pulmonary edema.
.. ” (Stevens).
The college expressed that “although they deeply regretted the tragedy,they could accept no responsibility for what had happened (Nuwer). If thecollege is not responsible, then who is? )(Thevictim? College administrators must take full responsibility of what happenswith their students. If something happens to their students, especially whensomething is done by college-approved organizations (fraternities), thencollege administrators are responsible.
Even though administrators do not wantthe responsibility that is asked of them. Even author Hank Nuwer states that,unless media and public pressure is brought to bear on colleges and othergroups in which hazing is common, administrators will continue to call hazingby any other name. )One finalsolution that could restrict hazing, and eventually put a stop to it, isstricter laws that prevent hazing from occurring in all 50 states. Onlyoutlawing in a majority of the states this still does not mean that they arepreventing hazing altogether but this could be a start. All students need thesame protection not just a few. If this could possibly be played out, the waythat fraternities and sororities are portrayed and stereotyped would becompletely different. These members should learn from all past and constantmistakes made that resulted from hazing.
In order to try and prevent hazingfrom continuing the act must be noticed, it should be identified that this isact is not okay and should be seen as a problem, and something needs to be doneabout it and soon. The most important step in preventing hazing involveseducating the public on what hazing is.