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Hazing

Common Excuses for hazing Continued

Some members develop a tremendous amount of pride in their organization’s hazing practices, and they will argue passionately against change. They refuse to think of other ideas or alternatives. The following excuses are often expressed when conversations about hazing are started. Below each excuse are responses that can be used to help show others that hazing must stop if fraternities and sororities are going to continue to exist.
Hazing can be stopped, but it won’t be easy.

“It builds respect”
Think about people in your life who you respect, and ask yourself why you respect them. Do you respect your parents, teachers, mentors, or advisors? Did they have to haze you to earn your respect? Think about who humiliated you, or made you feel unaccepted or different. Do you respect them?

“It creates pledge class unity”
Do new members join a pledge class, or do they join the fraternity or sorority? Pledge class unity creates divisions within the organization. Chapter unity should be the goal.

“They have to earn their letters”
So, all you have to do is earn your letters for a certain amount of time and then you can coast? Fraternity and Sorority members should be earning their letters every day.

“It’s tradition”
Some may be surprised to learn that it hasn’t been around forever. Did our founders haze each other? The ultimate traditions of a fraternity are the values, principles, and rituals. These have been passed down since the beginning of Greek Life. Hazing entered the picture much later.

“Pledging shouldn’t be easy”
Fraternity and Sorority membership in general isn’t easy – it requires commitment of both time and responsibility. Is the new member education program creating dedicated brothers and sisters, or simply creating dedicated pledges that will lose motivation immediately upon initiation?

“The new members will feel like they accomplished something”
This attitude will lead to poor chapter motivation. Hazing causes initiation to be seen as an end, and not a beginning. The new members will feel like their work is done after new member education is over.

“What about the military or sports teams? Don’t they haze?”
Maybe they do, but that is not an excuse for Greek Organizations to haze. Each of these groups is unique, and each tries to accomplish particular goals. Hazing does not help fraternities and sororities accomplish their goals of lifelong brother- and sisterhood. Sports teams and the military typically have policies against hazing as well.

“I was hazed, so should they be”
This is probably the most common excuse. It is dangerous because it is placing the bonds of fraternity into the hands of hazers. True bonds are developed through experiencing things together, and working with each other toward shared goals. The ritual binds us together, not the hazing practices.

- Adapted from materials written by Dave Westol, Executive Director of Theta Chi Fraternity

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