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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Dartmouth hazing sets a bad example for Greek Life

    Organized fun among Greek organizations shouldn’t consist of demeaning others, but unfortunately hazing still happens. Fifty-five percent of college students involved in clubs, teams and organizations have experienced hazing according to a survey study put out by the National Collaborative for Hazing Research and Prevention (NCHRP). The same study found that 95 percent of students did not report their hazing experience to campus officials.

    Andrew Lohse, a former Sigma Alpha Epsilon member at Dartmouth College, chose to speak up about hazing on the Ivy League college campus this spring. According to Rolling Stone magazine, Lohse was a die-hard pledge that gradually developed a guilty conscience concerning the morality of his fraternity’s actions. After getting mixed up in drugs and nearing a mental breakdown, Lohse decided to speak out about the hazing practices he experienced while involved in a fraternity. Initiations such as being forced into a Kiddie Pool full of human excrement or having to eat egg and vomit, known as a “vomlet,” were described by Lohse.

    Why would someone go through such torture and stay silent? It could be due to the strong social stigma attached to whistle-blowing, or perceptions of shame associated with publicizing the inner workings of a fraternity. A second possibility is that students are subject to strong enough peer pressure and brain washing to sufficiently influence them to volunteer for hazing rituals. It’s a cycle of degradation and humiliation that trickles down to new recruits and creates what they call “brothers.”
    Dartmouth administrators used Lohse’s confession to press charges against him and 27 brothers of SAE. All members denied the claims, stopping the case proceeding, whereas the charges against Lohse were already substantiated due to his own confession. Lohse came forward with the hope of altering the tradition, but instead, he incriminated himself. This may lead to his expulsion from Dartmouth.

    Hazing is as pointless as trying to find a needle in a haystack, a task that as a former fraternity pledge, I had to perform. It was my worst hazing experience. What is the point of tasks like these? Why is this type of behavior acceptable and viewed as brotherly tradition? Why don’t more people speak up?

    The survey done by the NCHRP states that hazing is more or less accepted as a part of campus culture, with 69 percent of students saying they are aware of hazing behaviors and don’t condemn it. It’s illegal in 44 states, yet the law seems to turn the other cheek and hazing is accepted.

    There are no easy answers here, but future pledges should consider if sacrificing one’s integrity for the sake of remaining a member is really worth it.

    — Max Efrein is a journalism and history junior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .

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