Archive for the 'Hazing' Category

Roadblocks to Effective Greek Systems

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

How’s your Greek system doing?

I recently went to the University library and started to browse through some dusty books on fraternities and sororities. One book, “Fraternities and Sororities on the Contemporary College Campus,” outlined four roadblocks to effective Greek systems. I’ll summarize them for you – and add some extra commentary.


1) Lack of an Adequate Institutional Infrastructure.

Back in the day, many of the top University officials on campus – the men and women who ran the campus – were Greek alumni. This created a close-knit relationship between the University and the Greek system. Many of these University officials mentored the Greek leaders on campus and served as Greek advisors.

The Greek advisor role over the years has been pushed down the totem pole. Now, on many campuses, you’ll find that the Greek Advisor position is an entry-level type of position with weak pay. Some Greek advisors now aren’t even Greek!

2) Conflict and Competition

Greek award banquets provide good competition, but sometimes at a cost. When the goal becomes building up the chapter resume, it is sometimes hard to work with other chapters on things such as community service, raising money, and so on.

Sadly, when Greek chapters finally do come together – it is usually for an exciting, highly competitive intramural game. Greeks have gotten used to the idea that when they see Greeks from another chapter, they have to put their game face on.

3) Problem Resolution

Ask a Greek Advisor – at times, it feels like most of their energy is spent on resolving conflicts and solving problems rather than creating positive educational activities. With big problems such as alcoholism, drugs, hazing, and rape to deal with – they are often perceived as a parent or principal rather than an encouraging mentor or coach.

4) Failure to Appreciate the Benefits of Greek Life

Because of stereotypes, most academic leaders, parents, and new freshman don’t see the benefits of going Greek. Therefore, much energy must be given during formal recruitment to undo the negative perceptions.

On national level, we can partner together to influence our society through media (blogs, YouTube, TV, etc.) and other creative means to undo the perceptions.

Most importantly, Greek advisors, student leaders, and alumni volunteers must do the hard work of giving their time and energy to seeing lives changed on a local level. We have to be honest that many of the stereotypes are true on our campuses.

If we work hard to bring about reform and change on the local level first, it will only be a matter of time before the stereotypes disappear on a national level.

University of Maryland fraternity pledges suck on pigs’ feet in hazing ritual

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

The Baltimore Examiner just put out an interesting article on a fraternity hazing incident at the University of Maryland.

After photos surfaced recently of blindfolded pledges sucking pigs’ feet, the fraternity has been disbanded by the university.

The photos were obtained by “Terp Weekly Edition,” a campus news radio show, which posted them on its Web site.

Read the rest of the article.

Supposed Benefits of Hazing—and How to Get Them without Hazing

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

Anthony Bennett

If you’re even reading this, chances are you belong to a Greek organization, one for which you have a great love and appreciation. That’s not an attitude that comes easily. It takes proper education and preparation so, at that moment where you cross the threshold from pledge to brother or sister, you can embrace the principles of your order as a unique and powerful force for good in your life and in the world at large.

Unfortunately, for some that involves senseless acts of servitude and humiliation with which Greek Life has become synonymous in the independent mind. If ever Greek Life is to shed its stereotypes and be in the minds of those who are not involved what it is to those who are, this must stop. Almost everyone in the Greek community recognizes this and are taking steps in that direction.

And yet, even as every national headquarters works to stamp out hazing, there are still some who defend their actions categorically, claiming certain benefits not achievable through more outwardly acceptable forms. This is a mindset that must be challenged from within the Greek community; we must openly examine these supposed justifications for seemingly inexcusable behavior, and discuss the alternatives.

1. Hazing weeds out the members who don’t “want it” badly enough, leaving only the best pledges.

This is probably the most common defense of hazing. If someone wants something enough, they will go through nearly anything to get it. The easiest way to determine if a pledge has a passion for the organization, therefore, is to put them through anything you can dream up, and see who stays. Alternative: Give them the passion. Promote the positives of your organization, and what your purpose as a fraternity or sorority is, with all the passion you expect of them. If they’re not into that, they’ll leave; what you’ll have left is a group wholly dedicated to your principles, including the ones who would have been turned away if you had tried to force the passion from them.

2. Hazing creates a sense of humility necessary for preserving the sanctity of your ritual.

Establishing yourself as an authority figure early and often will doubtlessly create an attitude of deference and obedience to you; when you get serious, they will. The temptation is visible: hazing will get them listening. But do you really want them listening out of fear? Alternative: Establish clear boundaries between what’s fun and serious, and expect strict observance of both the pledges and the members. If they’re serious about your organization, observance of your initiation ritual and the various pledgeship ones before it will take care of itself.

3. The sense of power created by hazing prevents apathy in the pledge process on the part of the members.

Believe it or not, I’ve actually heard this one. By forcing the pledges through a gauntlet of hazing practices, the older members get to have some fun, which will motivate them to remain in the more serious parts of the pledge process. Of course, there’s an easy and sensible alternative: Actually have fun with your pledges. If you want to call them your brothers or sisters, you should probably look into liking them; if you like them, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem finding something to do.

Anthony is a sophomore Sigma Chi formerly of Jacksonville University, currently applying to several institutions. He enjoys writing, the arts, and being a Sigma Chi. He is currently majoring in English with a focus on Film and plans to graduate in the Spring or Fall of 2009.