Hazing Is a Normal Pastime, but These 5 Took It to a Whole Other Level

Hazing Is a Normal Pastime, but These 5 Took It to a Whole Other Level

Every year, when the leaves begin to turn and we first start feeling the onset of a chill in the air, on college campuses all over the country,the Greek letter organizations start their pledging and rushing processes. And with these processes,pledge members often go through an initiation ritual or hazing.

Every year, when the leaves begin to turn and we first start feeling the onset of a chill in the air, on college campuses all over the country,the Greek letter organizations start their pledging and rushing processes.  And with these processes,pledge members often go through an initiation ritual or hazing.

Fraternities, more than sororities,have been known for hazing events that can be as benign as having pledges wear a sign advising onlookersthat they are initiates of the organization to dangerous and violent activities that harm and even execute the potential members.  Unfortunately, there are lots of hazing activities that are illegal and have caused many Greek letter organizations to close down on various college campuses.

We have heard about older members giving pledges enemas, force feeding them dangerous levels of alcohol, having them run barely clothed outdoors in below freezing weather, stuffing them in the trunks of cars,making them ingest spoiled or rancid food, and other harmful and diabolical deeds.  And every year, just as regularly as new pledges clamor to “rush” these organizations, we hear accounts of kids being killed by the process.

In December, 2013,Michael Dent, a Baruch College freshman went on a weekend retreat with his fraternity, Pi Delta Psi.  He was subjected to dangerous pummeling by his fraternity brothers thatresulted in head injuries so severe as to cause his death.  Even after he became unconscious, his fraternity brothers refused to call for help, which further exacerbated his injuries.  The entire fraternity is facing 3rd degree murder charges which carry jail sentences up to 20 years.

When is enough ENOUGH?  How can an entire group of responsible students become a band of vicious killers where no one has the sense or compassion to yell STOP!!!   When does a little roughhousing among fraternity members go from playful jostling and tackling to serious and hard-hitting blows that cause irreparable head trauma?  How can an entire group of responsible students become a band of vicious killers where no one has the sense or compassion to yell STOP!!!  

Although many of us have difficulty wrapping our heads around how something like this can happen, it can be explained somewhat by understanding group behavior, and especially the behavior of young men in groups.  The dynamics that exist in an all-male group where social bonding is a primary purpose of the organization can lead to encouraging all members to take part in hazing even when it goes against their own better judgment.  The power of the group surpasses the individual’s sensibility,and members will align with powerful members who are using violence as an expression of their masculinity.   Hazing is an integral part of the bonding experience, and criticizing or speaking out against the behaviors puts the objector in a position where he faces being ostracized by the group.

We are living in an era of school shootings and deadly hazings.  We live in a violent society and,unfortunately,these types of incidents are becoming more and more common.  I’m not sure what the answer is.  The Greek organizations are a powerful fixture on the college campus, and they can be very beneficial to young people needing connections as they enter the job market.  They have also been known to do some wonderful philanthropic work in communities.  We now have to figure out a better way for initiates to become members without risking their lives.

Photo : Souce