What is hazing? According to the National Collaborative for Hazing Research and Prevention study at the University of Maine, hazing is defined as “any activity expected of someone joining or participating in a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses or endangers them, regardless of a person’s willingness to participate.” Although hazing is often associated with the pledging process that takes place as a prerequisite for joining a group, it can also include activities required from an established member.
One of the most controversial issues is the inclusion of alcohol as part of the pledging process. This controversy is due to underage drinking andalcohol abuse on college campuses continuing to be problems in the United States. Alcohol use is linked to certain aspects of fraternity life, adding to the growing number of underage drinkers over the years. Therefore, we must ask: should the process of hazing be completely abolished from fraternities?
Hazing continues to be a controversial subject since many parents and students are not aware of what occurs during the process of becoming part of their school’s “Greek life.”
Not only does alcohol continue to be one of the most controversial topics surrounding fraternities and hazing, but the issue of bullying and shaming has also gained increased attention. Recently, MSNBC reported that a Penn State fraternity was closed due to allegations of hazing, underage drinking, and unacceptable behavior. Shockingly, this is the second fraternity to be shut down in recent weeks due to the ongoing problem of unacceptable behavior. At the University of Mississippi, several fraternity members faced allegations of shameful behaviorviolating Federal Civil Rights. “A rope and Confederate flag were allegedly hung on a statue of James Meredith, who was the first African-American student admitted to the school,” Attorney General Holder said in a statement, emphasizing that this type of behavior was an ignorant and shameful act for all Americans.
It continues to become more and more evident that fraternity life seems to be putting the lives of young adults at risk, rather than providing them with a safe and enjoyable college experience.
Another example in the news of the alarming problem: a 19-year-old Clemson University student died last year after falling from a highway bridge during a pre-dawn fraternity run. Yahoo News reported that the family of the deceased student is suing the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and three of its members for $50 million. “The two civil suits, which seek $25 million each, allege that Hipps died as a result of a confrontation with a fraternity member over breakfast food he was told to bring that morning,” wrote Harriet McLeod.
Fraternity life is one of the most popular activities for young men in college, but it is important for them to become aware and well-informed about the types of fraternities with which they are getting involved. More importantly, it is crucial that colleges become aware of the activities that are taking place on their campuses and surrounding areas. By not paying attention to these risky actions, they are putting their reputations, students, and innocent lives in danger.