Hazing is dangerous, and there are other means to initiate group members

Jennifer Dettwiller

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Movies and television shows depict a stereotypical hazing to include dim, candlelit chanting ceremonies, boys or girls being hooded and taken to a mysterious destination, massive amounts of alcohol consumption or all three. The thing is these may be exaggerations but hazing is still dangerous and widely practiced throughout colleges even though it may be banned. 

Hazing can be a scary and terrible thing because it can escalate quickly when things like alcohol are involved. However, there are other options like practical jokes that can be used to “initiate” someone.

Hazing is an initiation process involving harassment.

Hazing, in my opinion, is the premise in which large amounts of alcohol are consumed, physical abuse is done and/or peer pressure is involved, and it can become extremely dangerous faster than a blink of an eye.

Hazing can happen in both sororities and fraternities. In 2016, 19-year-old pledge of Towson University’s Tau Kappa Epsilon in Maryland was hospitalized because of severe burns along his digestive tract due to having been made to drink a “red, oily substance” from a spray bottle. However, this is not at all how debilitating and scary hazing can become.

Recently, a pledge from Louisiana State University’s Phi Delta Theta fraternity was pronounced dead after a possible hazing on Thursday, Sept. 14. Louisiana State University police are trying to determine whether a fraternity hazing an incoming freshman led to the death of the student.

 With this in the process of being investigated, it is the utmost responsibility to all whom perform these initiations that they understand the damage they can inflict to the pledges.

From what I see in movies, television and actual news, hazing is still something that happens but often is kept hidden from the public eye so well, it is hard to know who to punish. Only 40 percent of college students will admit to hazing incidents, according to an article from the Health Research Funding website. I feel students might not complain about this process because they may fear it will make them look weak in front of their leaders, showing how much peer pressure is present without being verbally attributed.

There is the stigma of the unwritten hush-hush rule people feel is correlated with hazing. I think if someone wanted to be accepted so much into a certain society they would change their morals.

The popularity of a university may also lead to hazing being swept under the rug because colleges do not want hazing to give the entire school a bad name. The problem may have only came to light in LSU’s case because of the death that occurred.

According to LSU President F. King Alexander in a news conference, when incidents like a death happen during what seems like hazing at a university, drastic measures have to be made. In LSU’s recent circumstance, their entire Greek life activities have been suspended indefinitely as policies are being reviewed. Hazing has such a negative connotation, even though there can be mild cases of it, but young adults tend to take it too far by becoming impaired from alcohol abuse and playing what they think are jokes on their fraternity brothers or sorority sisters. 

Honestly in my opinion, most would agree hazing is completely uncalled for and irresponsible. If you want to bring new members into a society, do nice things. In a sorority or fraternity outlook, you can be that sister or brother-figure for them if they are not from around that area and can’t go home. I mean, you call each other sisters and brothers of your chapter for a reason.

Additionally, practical jokes can be harmless and an alternate route for initiation purposes; just don’t let them get out of hand. In this, I mean everyone enjoys a laugh about Saran wrap on the toilet, or putting whipped cream in someone’s hand then tickling his or her nose with a feather while asleep. Those things can still be entertaining and good video-worthy stuff. The key to it though is that these things won’t cause bodily harm or bad, severe trauma to the extent of needing counseling.

There are some sororities and fraternities that have taken preventative measures against hazing rituals in the United States.

In 2015, Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority from Marshall University “participated in National Hazing Prevention Week by trying to educating students on hazing prevention” according to the Parthenon, Marshall University’s school paper. The paper continued to say, “Tri-Sigma was the first sorority in the nation to sign an anti-hazing contract and since then, the sorority has set out to educate people on the dangers of hazing.”

I think this should be enforced by all universities for Greek life participants. Hazing deaths are deaths that are highly, if not completely, preventable. Students should not die nor be hospitalized for joining a specific group on a campus that is supposed to be their home away from home.

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