As portrayed in the 1978 hit movie Animal House, college fraternities/sororities are a hotbed of excessive drinking, casual sex, vandalism, and generally licentious behavior. But, in real life, unlike the movie, the results of such conduct are hardly laughable. Even though the nationwide membership in both fraternities and sororities are at an all time high of 350,000 members, fraternities and sororities are still receiving harsh criticism from university leaders and civic authorities. In the face of several recent incidents, fraternity and sorority behaviors can no longer be viewed as harmless school boy or school girl high jinks, but must be seen for what it truly is, a dangerous threat to the lives of innocent students.
At the center of the controversy is the problem of hazing, an initiation ritual that has been around for as long as the fraternities and sororities themselves. Hazing occurs when brothers and sisters (mostly brothers) physically or mentally abuse the pledges that are candidates for membership. When girls usually pledge, they are sometimes often commanded to drink excessively, appear in skimpy outfits and model for the big brothers as they were told that a part of their body needed work. They were also woken up to run to the grocery store on absurd late-night errands for sisters. Most people become so
disillusioned with the whole sorority and fraternity system that they may feel the need to withdraw their pledges.
Luckily, most people are not physically harmed by the hazing process, but other pledges have not been so fortunate. For Example, at Long Island University, a pledge was hospitalized with broken ribs after being beaten by brothers who acted in the name of an initiation tradition. (American Journal of Emergency Medicine, Volume 20, Issue 3, 228-233) Also, a pledge at Oklahoma State University claimed that brothers tried to build “unity through terror” by forcing him to
Cited: Wrongs of Passage by Hank Nuwer (1-140)1999 Broken Pledges by Hank Nuwer (1-40)2001 Inside Greek U: Fraternities, Sororities and the Pursuit of Pleasure, and Prestige by Alan D. Desantis 2007 National Study of Student Hazing by Professor Elizabeth Allan and Mary Madden from the University of Maine’s College of Education and Human Development, 2008 Center for the Study of College Fraternity, 2005 www.stophazing.org(1998-2005)