As portrayed within the 1978 hit movie Animal House, school fraternities/sororities are a hotbed of extreme drinking, informal intercourse, vandalism, and customarily licentious conduct. But, in actual life, in contrast to the movie, the results of such conduct are hardly laughable. Even although the nationwide membership in each fraternities and sororities are at an all time high of 350,000 members, fraternities and sororities are nonetheless receiving harsh criticism from college leaders and civic authorities. In the face of several recent incidents, fraternity and sorority behaviors can now not be seen as innocent school boy or school lady high jinks, however must be seen for what it actually is, a dangerous risk to the lives of harmless students.
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At the center of the controversy is the problem of hazing, an initiation ritual that has been round for so long as the fraternities and sororities themselves. Hazing occurs when brothers and sisters (mostly brothers) physically or mentally abuse the pledges which are candidates for membership. When girls normally pledge, they are generally usually commanded to drink excessively, appear in skimpy outfits and model for the massive brothers as they were told that a part of their physique needed work.
They had been also woken up to run to the grocery store on absurd late-night errands for sisters. Most individuals become so disillusioned with the whole sorority and fraternity system that they may really feel the want to withdraw their pledges.
Luckily, most individuals are not bodily harmed by the hazing process, however other pledges haven’t been so lucky.
For Example, at Long Island University, a pledge was hospitalized with damaged ribs after being crushed by brothers who acted within the name of an initiation custom. (American Journal of Emergency Medicine, Volume 20, Issue 3, 228-233) Also, a pledge at Oklahoma State University claimed that brothers tried to construct “unity by way of terror” by forcing him to endure hours of humiliating criticism, including sarcastic assaults on his intelligence, seems and persona. Furthermore, the Phi Gamma Deltas or Fijis at Arizona State, regularly forced pledges to vomit and frequently interrupted their sleep by shaking them during the night time.
At North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, an Omega Psi Phi member was convicted on seven counts of assaults with a lethal weapon after taking part in his fraternity’s “Turn Back Night.” During this notorious Omega tradition, pledges had been treated to a meal of pet food and low-cost wine, several paddling, and midnight journey to a densely wooded area, far from the campus, the place they were abandon and advised to find their way home. At Chopin State University in Baltimore, a pledge took a fraternity to courtroom after his flesh was branded with a Greek insignia. (www.stophazing.org)
As despicable as these incidents may seem, there have been others with rather more severe incidents and consequences which have occurred. For instance, in February of 2002, a Rutgers University freshman died after an induction ceremony on the Lambda Chi home. At the order and command of his quickly -to -be brothers, James Callahan, aged 18, drank so much liquor that he collapsed, according to Eileen Stevens, President of C.H.U.C.K. (Committee to Halt Useless College Killings) and the mother of eldest son Chuck Stenzel whom the committee is called; Chuck died horrifically at an Alfred University hazing, whereas pledging Klan Alpine.
His dying occurred on Tapping Night, the first day of pledging. Wrongs of Passage, (1-140). Alfred University later skilled the death of a Zeta Beta Tau member who committed suicide after his brothers beat him for revealing hazing secrets and techniques to a different Zeta Beta Tau chapter at Syracuse University. Forty-Three deaths of this nature have occurred since 2003. Broken Pledges (1-140) this could be a terrifyingly high worth to pay for the upkeep of useless macho traditions.
According to the analysis offered by Hank Nuwer (1999-2002), journalist and author of several books associated to hazing such as Wrongs of Passage, (1-140) and Broken Pledges (1-40), hazing have been related to more than 50 deaths in college fraternities and sororities and countless extra physical injuries including paralysis, to not mention the devastating emotional results that can outcome for therefore many young men and women.
Although not as dangerous as hazing, the problem of racism amongst fraternities and sororities are also a growing drawback. At the University of Southern California, in 2003, members of a rival fraternity spray painted anti-Semitic slogans on the sidewalk in entrance of a Jewish fraternity house. In one other disgraceful episode, at Oklahoma State University, Sigma Alpha Epsilon brothers were reprimanded after holding a “plantation party,” throughout which a number of members masqueraded as black slaves.(Inside Greek U: Fraternities, Sororities and the Pursuit of Pleasure, Power and Prestige 1-125). Kappa Alpha chapters, traditionally robust in the Southeast, maintain “Old South” parties annually.
At these events, females dress as southern belles whereas the K. A.s don Confederate Army uniforms in a satirical reenactment of the times when slavery prevailed. A Fiji Island get together at the University of Wisconsin was halted after college officials deemed the tropical garb and black makeup worn by the brothers as racially offensive. Similarly, the Delta Kappa Epsilon at Louisiana’s Tulane University blackened their faces through the 30 annual “Debut Tramp” Parade. Then, at a party following this event, brothers carrying torches allegedly assault a number of black girls and tore apart their clothes while yelling racist epithets.
In 2002, at the University of Alabama, I witnessed a campus wide furor over a racist incident that involved the fraternities. When a black sorority was allowed to occupy a house on the beforehand all white sorority row, some students reacted by burning crosses on the lawn of that home. The identity of the culprits has by no means been disclosed, however their behavior is indicative of the racist attitudes of the vast majority of brothers in Tuscaloosa. This level is underscored by the disparity in the measurement of the houses of white and black fraternities and sororities. Whereas white fraternity brothers and sisters dwell in centrally located columned houses with manicured lawns, blacks are relegated to tiny, decrepit buildings out within the woods.
Although refined racist attitudes inside fraternities and sororities could additionally be exhausting to manage, blatantly legal actions must be eradicated. All civilized Americans should rally to shut any fraternity and sororities exhibiting the slightest tendency towards cruelty, racism, or some other barbaric habits. We should insist on a strict code of decency in fraternity and sorority actions. In 2002, luckily the Alpha Tau Omega at the University of Georgia was expelled from the campus, after a young girl was sexually abused in their fraternity house. This younger woman awakened bare, in the basement of the fraternity house after an all night celebration with fraternity equipped booze.
Her family sued the college for damages and received. Also, at the University of Illinois, residence of the nation’s most lively fraternity system-with 52 homes and three,500 members-two brothers were accused of sexually assaulting a 15 year old girl who happened to be at a pre-football game party on the Lambda Chi Alpha house. Furthermore, the college well being center has reported that over half of the 25 raped victims they counsel each semester are raped by fraternity members.( Center for the Study of College Fraternity, 2005). The incontrovertible fact that these circumstances are being taken to court docket is an efficient sign, indicating that some persons are so outraged that they are not prepared to cover up for the arrogant criminality of certain fraternities. Concern citizens are not wanting for fraternities to turn out to be the breeding floor for individual, racist, or sexual violence.
Lest the Greek letters on fraternity T-shirts be replaced by prison numbers, fraternities simply should clean up their act. To their credit, some are presently doing so by replacing fraternity pranks with charity advantages, similar to dance contests and marathon sporting events. Other are visiting nursing properties and renovating dilapidated houses for the poor. The national management of eight black fraternities, which had particular critical issues with hazing and resultant lawsuits, lately went a step additional by banning the whole pledge system.
How fraternities will choose new members just isn’t recognized, however Georgia State’s Omega Psi Phi chapter presents a potential mannequin. This chapter chooses prospective brothers based on the standards of high tutorial achievement and altruistic group service. (National Study of Student Hazing by Professor Elizabeth Allan and Mary Madden from the University of Maine’s College of Education and Human Development, 2008). Pressure for fraternity reform is coming from state legislatures, as nicely. Twenty-Eight states together with Georgia have enacted anti-hazing laws. In order to keep management of the fraternities, authorities now should strictly enforce these laws.
The best responsibility lies with the schools themselves. Some are responding to it; others are fleeing from it. Nevertheless, statistics kind a hopeful image. Whereas in 1985, based on the Center for the Study of College Fraternity, solely 15 p.c of the college and universities claimed duty for their fraternities, in 1986 that determine climbed to 32 percent and in 2004 that figure has climbed to forty two p.c. In 2006, virtually 45 % of the faculties had a laissez-faire coverage toward their “Greeks.” Today increasingly universities are imposing strict requirements on their fraternities.
I am not arguing for the dismantling of fraternities/sororities, as a result of these organizations can provide an important function-that of bringing collectively faculty freshman and giving them a support group and some lifelong friendships. The fraternities and sororities as a positive and productive organization is one thing; but, being a social organization that sponsors violent and lurid acts is quite another. At this time more strictly enforced regulations by all concerned parties is required to guarantee that no extra innocent individuals are hurt by the careless “Greek” lifestyle.
Wrongs of Passage by Hank Nuwer (1-140)1999
Broken Pledges by Hank Nuwer (1-40)2001
Inside Greek U: Fraternities, Sororities and the Pursuit of Pleasure, and Prestige by Alan D. Desantis 2007
National Study of Student Hazing by Professor Elizabeth Allan and Mary Madden from the University of Maine’s College of Education and Human Development, 2008
Center for the Study of College Fraternity, 2005