Pledging, and Hazing, and Drinking, Oh My!
While some fraternities and sororities have moved away from the traditional “pledge” system, many still use it. A pledge is a new member that has not been initiated yet and goes through hazing, forced drinking, and public humiliation to prove their worth to their house. “A 19-year-old sophomore died in a fraternity house while participating in a hazing episode that included mock kidnapping, ritualized humiliation, and coerced drinking,” David J. Skorton wrote in his New York Times article. Because of this, many people believe all fraternities and sororities on campus should be shut down. The article talks about different ways to deal with this problem. Cornell has brought in people from fraternities and sororities respective national headquarters to talk about the issue. Their Interfraternity Council and the Women’s Panhellenic Association, organizations that are made up of leaders of the Greek system and oversee issues that come up with the houses on campus, have held conferences with the Presidents of each house to come up with a solution. The last possible solution was to go to a system similar to the “Balanced Man Program” Sigma Phi Epsilon uses nationally. This system goes away from the traditional pledge system and as soon as a member signs their commitment to the house, they have just as much say as the President or any other member.
While the author makes some good points, he is also missing quite a bit about Greek organizations and hazing. First of all, hazing goes on throughout their whole time as a pledge. Where the most hazing occurs is during “hell week.” During this week members are required to stay at their house doing whatever the older members tell them to do. This can include drinking, doing dangerous and risky tasks, and forcing public humiliation upon them to prove their worth to the fraternity or sorority. He also could have written about houses that...
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