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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Fraternity hazing at colleges exemplifies bigger problems

    This past week hasn’t been a great one for fraternities. Hazing allegations, even here at the UA, have created scandals for Greek organizations and their home universities. While the integrity of these allegations is questionable, the respective communities’ reactions have made one point crystal clear: Hazing will not be tolerated.

    Phi Kappa Psi’s national organization revoked its chapter recognition for the UA last week, and the University of Dayton’s chapter was suspended by the school’s administration. The UA chapter lost its recognition because a former member reported that he’d been hazed during his college years. Some current members doubt that these allegations are true and say that even if they are, the hazing was exaggerated and occurred many years ago.

    While some question the UA allegations, the University of Dayton chapter has solid proof of hazing. According to Flyer News, Dayton’s student newspaper, an underage Phi Kappa Psi pledge was forced to drink an excessive amount of alcohol in October 2011, and he had to be taken to the hospital for treatment.

    According to its website, Phi Kappa Psi’s mission is “(to engage) men of integrity, further (develop) their intellect and enhance community involvement. With a legacy built on acceptance and trust, each brother realizes his highest potential through a lifelong experience of service and excellence.” If these hazing allegations are indeed true, then these chapters are not living up to their mission.

    At Dartmouth College, a controversial op-ed in The Dartmouth, the student newspaper, has caused an uproar. In the column, which was published on Jan. 25, former fraternity member Andrew Lohse described his own gruesome hazing experiences including swimming “in a kiddie pool full of vomit, urine, fecal matter, semen and rotten food products.” He claimed that the administration is fully aware of the open secret and chooses to do nothing about it. Lohse wrote that his experiences are the norm, and that without help, ritual hazing will be a difficult habit to break. After publication, more than 100 outraged Dartmouth faculty signed a letter to the administration, asserting that everyone knows about the hazing and that it directly contradicts Dartmouth standards.

    The UA, like most colleges and universities nationwide, has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to hazing, hence Phi Kappa Psi’s lost recognition. The UA Greek Life website has extensive resources regarding hazing, and organizations are required to participate in National Hazing Prevention Week every year. However, it’s clear that not all fraternities and sororities, at the UA and nationwide, are practicing what they preach.

    For the 90 percent of UA students who aren’t involved in Greek Life, initiation and other rituals are shrouded in mystery. Since the organizations are understandably hesitant to reveal the truth about hazing, all average students have to go on are rumors or movies that show cloaked men paddling each other in basements. If any of the hazing rumors spread around campus are true, however, then their respective greek organizations are blatantly disregarding their missions.

    No one deserves to be hazed; it is psychologically damaging, and it is morally wrong to make anyone experience what Lohse claims to have experienced. Is someone’s worth in an organization really dependent on his or her tolerance of humiliation and abuse? The fraternities and sororities that treat their members with respect are the ones that truly support a brotherhood or sisterhood, which is what the new pledges are looking for.

    — Lauren Shores is a journalism sophomore. She can reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.

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