Hazing has always been seen as a secretive campus activity when it comes to fraternities and pledging. A series of many cases of injuries and deaths related to fraternity hazing activities occurred in the United States over periods of time. Young college men are being hospitalized and even worse, dying, just for a couple of friends that give them a sense of belonging. The major causes of hazing are the students’ wanting a sense of belonging in a big college campus, the college’s infrequent knowledge of what occurs in fraternities, and the unwillingness of fraternities to change tradition. Since hazing has been around for more than a century, one cannot expect the practice of hazing to stop all together. It will probably take years before hazing perishes from the fraternity scene. Nevertheless, until an end is put to hazing, solutions can be used to make hazing less common, until it no longer exists. These solutions that may be able to put an eventual stop to hazing, in the long run, are better education about fraternity hazing, stricter laws to prevent hazing from occurring, and more intervention from college administrators.
Stories of hazing incidents are all too common in the news media today. It would not be out of the ordinary, upon opening the newspaper, to read the testimony of some fraternity pledges. Even in our own paper called the Ionian, where 7 fraternity members charged in hazing death. The article stated that 18 year-old Kevin Lawless drank in excessive amount of alcohol and later passed out in a doorway of an apartment. The boys that were in the fraternity thought he would just awake the next day but he never did. As shown in the paper that a death has occurred to due to the fact of hazing. Fraternities are getting away with hazing practices, every single day.
If a stranger did this to a civilian, they would automatically be arrested and
imprisoned. The humiliations of hazing are said to build bonds between pledges and fraternity brothers. According to fraternity beliefs, the theory goes, if you and a couple of
friends go through fraternity initiations, drinking excessive amounts of beer and being
beaten by fraternity members etc., and only you and your friends go through it, then
this gives you all something in common. An example of a hazing victim is typically a
white male 19 to 20 years of age, who is experiencing some types of injuries between
the months of February and April or September and October, which is the pledging seasons. Men are experiencing injuries including those caused by beatings, cold exposure, heat exhaustion, and electrocution. These supposedly bring the fraternity
“together.” Hazing also occurs in both sororities and black fraternities, who are seen
differently from regular fraternities, but it is not as severe in sororities as it is in
One cause of hazing is that fraternity members do not want to change tradition.
Hazing has been a part of fraternity initiations ever since fraternities were founded.
Hazing was used to test the pledges that wanted to join the fraternity, to make sure
that the pledge was “fraternity material. Fraternity members have a feeling that if I went through it, you should too, so as long as there are people in the fraternity who were beaten or hazed; they feel they have a right to beat you. If fraternity members think this way then how can hazing be prevented so that innocent men do not die just for friends and a “feeling of belonging.
A second cause of hazing is that since college campuses are so big in population, men
believe that in order to make friends and “fit in,” they have to subject themselves to
ridicule and torture by joining a fraternity. Not many men would do this for a group of
friends, but it is happening every semester in college campuses today. Not only are
college men being hospitalized but many are putting their lives on the line, and even
dying, just so they can be considered a “brother” in a fraternity. Nevertheless, it is
not the pledge’s fault, in getting himself into this type of situation.
A third cause of hazing is that the fraternities know exactly what they are doing and
they know what they can get away with most of it, since college administrators are
not doing anything to prevent hazing. The events that happen in the fraternity world
are largely secretive; some even go “underground,” just so they do not get caught.
This should tell college administrators that the fraternities are trying to hide
something, and that something is illegal and wrongful. Many fraternities require their
members to take a vow of secrecy. Hazing has been a part of fraternities in the United States for many years. Although warnings about the dangers of fraternity hazing were addressed with anti-hazing laws in some states, and punishments against such activities, the practice of hazing still exists in college campuses today. The causes of hazing, a need
of wanting to fit in by the students, no interest from college administrators and the
fraternities unwillingness to break tradition, are all making incidents all too common in
campuses today. If only there was a way to join a fraternity, without giving away
your life in return. Hazing can be stopped if three major solutions are exercised by
fraternities and the colleges that they are at. These solutions are better education
about fraternity hazing, stricter laws to prevent hazing from occurring, and more
intervention from college administrators. Hazing will continue to exist if college
fraternities allow it to. One solution that will make hazing less common is better
education on hazing for both fraternities and society. Fraternities are looked upon as
groups of adolescent males, surrounded by “oceans of beer; loud music; sweating and
willing women. Although, fraternities were founded to be an organization that stresses fund-raising and community service, as well as being a social outlet for members. If fraternities are tired of being stereotyped, then they have to work hard in changing their reputation. Fraternities have to show society that they do have a beneficial purpose, and that they are not all about beer and women. There are a number of college campuses, in
which fraternities and sororities have endorsed a plan to change that would not
only abolish hazing but also remove the possibility of it ending the generation-old
tradition of pledging itself. Also, if college men are educated enough and discover
what occurs during fraternity initiation ceremonies and what is done to them, if they
join the fraternity, then they will probably think twice about joining or demanding
some types of changes, on the fraternity’s part. Already initiated fraternity members
have to consider that they did not enjoy what was done to them during pledging, so
why would future members enjoy hazing.
Another solution that would restrict hazing, and eventually put a stop to it, is
intervention by college administration. Fraternities are, literally, getting away with
murder, which is seen by the “reported forty-five to fifty deaths between 1978 and
1990″ which include hazing, accidental and suicide deaths (Nuwer). For example, in
a well-publicized hazing death of Kevin Lawless on the night of December 10, the gentlemen who were involved faced up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine (Malecki). The college expressed that although they deeply regretted the tragedy, etc., they could accept no responsibility for what had happened because the fraternity was banned from Ionas campus in the mid-1980.If the college is not responsible, then who is? The victim?
College administrators must take full responsibility of what happens with their
students. If something happens to their students, especially when something is done
by college-approved organizations fraternities, then college administrators are
responsible. Even though administrators do not want the responsibility that is asked of
One final solution that could restrict hazing, and eventually put a stop to it, is stricter laws that prevent hazing from occurring. Some states have anti-hazing laws, which are considered constitutional. Still, this does not mean that they are preventing hazing altogether. While anti-hazing laws were passed in some states, college administrators were not the ones who fought to get these laws passed. Parents of children who died in hazing incidents are the ones responsible for getting the laws passed.
Fraternities are liable to pay large sums of money in hazing related dead.All fifty states have to pass anti-hazing laws so that hazing can be put to an end, without having more pledges die as result. Without the help of college administrators, anti-hazing laws are useless in preventing hazing incidents from happening. Certainly, each of these solutions, individually, can prevent hazing from occurring, but if all three solutions are used at the same time, hazing can be put to an end, faster. If fraternities are giving the education about hazing, they should see that hazing has evolved into a big problem. Together, these three solutions are able to prevent hazing now, end hazing in the long run.