The following sample essay on Hazing In Fraternities And Sororities Essay discusses it in detail, offering basic facts and pros and cons associated with it. To read the essay’s introduction, body and conclusion, scroll down.
Initiation or Incarceration: Hazing in Fraternities and Sororities Frat boys and sorority girls, what do they do for society? They party all weekend, every weekend. None of them care about academics. They are elitist and snobby. They violate noise ordinances. They do not serve the community.
They couldn’t possibly hold any value as individuals in our society, right? Wrong.
Many people think of those who belong to the Greek system as the rich, preppy Caucasian students who get drunk and party on a day-to-day basis; these among other stereotypes have, in essence, erased even the thought of belonging to a sorority or fraternity from the minds of countless students. While in actuality, Greeks are the students who do the best in classes, the people who are always seen doing charity work, they have strict rules to follow on and off campus, and while they might be slightly selective with the people the associate with it’s only because they wouldn’t want to be involved in something dangerous or looked down upon.
Because, while people may only see the bad in Greeks, they want to be the best person they could possibly be, which is in essence why they joined a sorority or fraternity. But of course, as with every stereotype, there is some truth to the ones against Greek life.
Like social events and of course, the taboo of any college campus’ Greek Row, hazing. But, what is hazing? What does it entail? Who does it? What are the consequences? Are there laws? Let’s find out.
Hazing, by definition, is a term used to describe various ritual and other activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group. In fraternities and sororities, individuals go through a phase where they are only pledges for the organization and not fully fledged members. For fraternities, this is a time where the pledges must prove themselves to the brothers, and let them know why they would be a good addition to the brotherhood. It is during this period that the brothers tend to make life a little harder for the potential new members.
However, hazing has never been as prominent in our society as it is today. Today, active members might keep them up late at a pledge meeting, they might tell the pledges to get them a beer or bartend an event, be the designated driver at events, and of course there is the occasional drinking game. On special occasions though, some fraternities practice traditions that have been observed over decades, centuries even. These are the hazing techniques that have been portrayed on television and in movies for years and years.
And while to the outside world, and even fellow Greeks (sorority girls mostly), the events may seem harsh or stupid. To these gentlemen, they are tradition and it’s even considered a privilege to be participating in such an event. Some of them are just plain hateful, like following the pledges on a golf cart shouting insults while they run. Some of them are just really odd, like the tradition of one of our campus’ fraternities, where the pledges stand in a circle and drink alcohol (most commonly beer) out of their neighbor’s shoe.
But some traditions are painful, dangerous, and most often humiliating. Much like the ritual of another FSU’s fraternities where pledges are forced to tell a joke in front of a crowd of brothers and pledges and, depending on how amusing their joke is, they get paddled. If their joke kills, they could possibly be passed on or just a light tap, but if they don’t make anyone laugh, they get messed up. Paddles have been broken. But that isn’t hazing at its worst.
In recent years fraternities have been getting in more and more trouble, sometimes ending in the frat moving off campus (this is what Heritage Grove is in Tallahassee) and sometimes ending in the shutting down of the fraternity. This happened to the brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon (Sig Ep) when thirty one pledges were found in a crawl space in an off campus house. The young men were shivering in thirty degree weather, covered in raw eggs, catfish-stink bait, flour and vinegar, and they were covered in red welts.
When things this intense happen, people get hurt and people get in trouble. Thankfully no one got hurt in the incident at FSU, but four brothers did get arrested and charged with misdemeanor hazing charges. But it doesn’t always happen where no one gets hurt. In a case involving the Chi Tau fraternity at Chico State University in California, Matthew Carrington died after being hazed too hard by the fraternity brothers. One man, Gabriel Maestretti, was charged with Matthew’s death and convicted of felony charges.
At the present, forty four out of fifty states have laws against hazing, and even still there is at least one hazing related death on a college campus every year since 1970. Fraternities all over the country have been shut down for behavior involving the hazing of pledges. In the state of Florida, just recently, FSU’s Sig Ep chapter and the University of South Florida’s Lambda Chi Alpha chapter have been shut down completely and not just suspended or removed from campus, both for hazing.
And while the public normally only sees hazing portrayed in the media as mostly only in fraternities, there is definitely hazing going on in sororities too. Just last month (January 2010) six members of the Sigma Gamma Rho chapter at Rutgers University faced hazing charges after severely beating a pledge with a wooden paddle. While hazing is no stranger to Greek life, it seldom appears in the Panhellenic community in as harsh a way as this. For instance, Sigma Gamma Rho is a National Pan-Hellenic Conference.
Hazing in sororities is pretty much not even considered hazing to anyone else, the gentlemen in fraternities always state “We get hazed, you get praised” referring to the amount of gifts and such showered on the pledges of sororities. For example, the week leading up to initiation, for Panhellenic pledges, is called Inspiration week. For pledges of a fraternity it is called Hell week. Get the picture? However, while what is considered as “hazing” in the eyes of the Panhellenic council is basically nothing at all, everything that could be considered hazing is ground for severe punishment from the sorority’s national headquarters.
Things that used to be required of women pledging a sorority, like answering the phone and the door and giving up your seat for an older sister, is considered hazing. If nationals gets wind of any sorority treating their pledges like this they could get in trouble. Sororities, like fraternities, can have hazing practices that are humiliating, dangerous and really weird. For example, a sorority might have their pledges strip down to their underwear and have either an older sister or a fraternity boy point out imperfections on their body.
Love handles, cellulite, acne, etc. and they are then forced to get rid of it. Then there are things like being forced to lie in a coffin on initiation and then “rising again” as a fully fledged member of the sorority. But the Panhellenic executive council on campus seldom finds out about those, instead they find out about the little things that the chapter does wrong. Like making the pledges answer the door or maybe slightly worse things like making the girls act like the mascot on initiation night.
Nothing anywhere near something that deserves a serious consequence, gets a serious consequence. One chapter on FSU’s campus got reported to nationals for hazing because of a tradition preformed during the initiation ceremony. The smallest things, in the Panhellenic world, get blown so far out of proportion. The aforementioned chapter that received punishment for the ritual being considered hazing, was on social probation for half of a semester and was forced to do more community service than they already did with the whole chapter.