Beware of College Hazing
From the hazing death of a drummer to the indictments of nine fraternity boys for the beatings of two pledges that ended up needing to be hospitalized, the problem of hazing in college cannot be underestimated.
Ranker.com has a list of 14 of the worst hazing rituals, such as paddling, the elephant walk, being ridiculed while in undergarments, extreme consumption of alcohol or water (which has led to death in some cases), exercises in urine or feces, and other activities that not only harm the victims but can result in criminal prosecution of the participants.
Hazing isn’t exclusive to boys, ABC News reports that Joan had to stand quietly with her nose touching a cold, dirty wall, while her sorority sisters proceeded to abuse her verbally. Other sorority pledges have been abused physically by having their heads pushed against concrete bricks, among other forms of physical and psychological torture. Worst of all, this abuse can continue long after “hell week.”
Hazing among sports teams.
For parents of young athletes, it’s important to know that hazing isn’t limited to frats and sororities. In the world of college sports, athletes may be subjected to horrible abuse excused as “team building.” This doesn’t have to be, one anti-hazing website recommends more positive activities to promote team cohesion such as a ropes course, camping trips, laser tag, movie nights, and other activities that don’t result in inexcusable harm.
The lure of the Greeks.
So why do people join frats and sororities? Why put up with the possibility of abuse? Besides the obvious attraction of parties and sex for some students, others might seek opportunities for leadership, academic achievement, philanthropy, having a home away from home, and the joys of belonging to a group, not to mention lucrative career leads in the future. According to one website; “Members develop relationships with chapter alumni who can assist with resumes, job placement, marketing your Greek experience, and settling in a new location after graduation.”
Can hazing be stopped?
While anti-hazing education, punishment for frats/sororities, teams, and individuals that haze, and changing the culture that tolerates hazing can help, some argue that the biggest problem are the victims themselves. One student explained that hazing will continue because there are people willing to be hazed. Consider how many Greek hopefuls are willing to put up with anything as long as they can be in that great frat or sorority house. So as long as there are willing participants and the dropouts don’t file complaints, the abuse is unlikely to change.
What can parents and students do?
Parents need to teach their kids to stand up for themselves, to understand that belonging to a group doesn’t mean putting up with abuse and mistreatment, that it takes more courage to be a whistleblower for hazing than to tolerate abuse silently. In the meantime, students should research fraternities and sororities online and see which ones have a reputation for hazing. If an incident happens, most universities have websites that allow victims to report any hazing occurrences.