Two sides to the hazing case

Back in the day, the “pretty boys” were known for their dedication to working with patients at the Fairpark Nursing Home and having clothing drives for the Good Shepherd Mission. They mentored students at the elementary schools, offered resume workshops to university students and even started a program called “Buckle Up” in memory of Brandon Ashley. Nowwhenever you speak their name, you can’t get anything better than a look of disgust.We all read in the paper about them. They even got less than 15 minutes of fame on Channel 11 in Houston and Channel 3 in Bryan: “Kappa Alpha Psi suspended from university due to hazing charges.”And if anyone read or paid attention to the rest of the story, they realized the fraternity nearly beat someone to death.Some of us heard the news before others, and yet they were still appalled to see one of the “great eight” headline the top of the Houstonian.When I heard the news, for a minute I felt shame because I knew some of the members, but then I started doing loads of research and more research and for another minute I began to understand.Don’t get me wrong, what the fraternity did to the guys was wrong and seriously stupid. I don’t even hold the same respect for the fraternity, but I come to you today with two sides.Can I just say to both pledges and members, “What the hell were you thinking?”Bottom linepeople talk! People tell secrets, and then others tell one another. Pledges, did you not know you would be hazed?You read about it in newspapers across the country. Hazing this, hazing that. It not only happens in fraternities, but athletics and the military as well.According to a newspaper in Columbus, Ohio, The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio State University fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha was accused of the same incident a year ago. Members from the fraternity physically and verbally abused about six members during hazing that fall. One student had several thousand dollars worth of dental work that had to be redone and another student was admitted to a hospital for contusions to the stomach.Members, what in the world makes you think this occurrence is funny or something you have to do?Not only was the beating done by members but by one or more alumni. Do past members have nothing better to do with their lives than to go beat the whoopee out of someone? I guess I’ll never know, because I wasn’t there–this is just what I’m assuming.Reported by APBnews, in August 2000 a jury ordered Omega Psi Phi fraternity at the University of Louisville to pay under $1 million to a pledge who had been severely beaten while pledging. The same exact charge was filed with the same fraternity at the University of Maryland for beating a young man with a hammer, horsehair whip, a broken chair leg and a hairbrush. Damages cost the fraternity $375,000.Are students just dying to get in? The [Olean] Times Herald reported that an unexplained death of a Zeta Beta Tau fraternity member occurred two weeks ago. Benjamin Klein, treasurer for the fraternity was busy drinking when he slipped up and revealed a couple of the fraternity’s secret traditions. Members then repeatedly hit him in the face the next morning. The member ended up writing a letter of resignation and began packing to return back to his home in Vermont. Though they have not reported any connection, early Sunday morning, Klein was found dead.Not only has Kappa Alpha Psi been suspended from our campus, recently one of our prestigious sororities got kicked off for putting a girl in a confined space (a coffin) and allegedly contributing to a date rape. If the coffin incident did indeed happen, members, wouldn’t it have been easier to just cover the girl with a blanket?So what do schools have to say about hazing? Texas Tech University has a student affairs handbook that clearly spells out the consequences of hazing. Not only can charges be filed against the student organization but also against the president, the adviser, other individuals associated with the incident, and the international affiliate if there is such.Advisors don’t be so quick to shut your eyes to what really goes on. Not only do you get in trouble, but the fraternity or sorority itself gains damaged reputations, regardless of how great the organization once was. So forget about all of Kappa Alpha Psi’s great community service, awards won, and fun parties they once hadwho the hell cares now? Once you do something stupid, there’s probably a 50-50 chance that no one will remember the good in you.But wait a second. Didn’t I say before that I started to understand the situation better? I did indeed. What exactly is hazing? The definition a university administrator would probably say is that hazing is something “evil and wrong.” Texas law states the following is considered hazing. Calisthenics, such as sit-ups and push-ups; total or partial nudity; eating an unwanted substance; wearing something obscene, being pushed, shoved or paddled; consuming alcoholic beverages due to threats or peer pressure, allowing substances (oil, flour, syrup) to be thrown on or at him or her; lining up and being intimidated, interrogated or demeaned; participating in transportation and abandonment (road trips, kidnaps); being confined in an area which is uncomfortable or dangerous; acting as a servant to someone else; cleaning up a house or room that has been intentionally messed up; or being called demeaning names or screamed at, are all part of hazing.Dan Wolf from The Oracle at the University of South Florida brings up excellent points. “So does standing in line at the financial aid office in front of your friends, in the heat for hours, qualify as hazing? Or is hazing like paying premium prices for a sub-par dorm, where there is no privacy, and the AC doesn’t work? Can we qualify being hazed if we’re fined every time we park in a spot less than a quarter mile away from our dorms? Or is hazing more like making athletes run laps in the middle of the summer?” Either way, this all sounds the same to me. Really, what can someone wear that is so obscene? Have you looked at high schoolers lately? Sometimes I wonder how their parents let them outside. And I guess that new show “Hostage” on MTV is involved in something illegal too? I’d rather be put in a coffin or drink tons of alcohol than swim around with squid. Yuck!Anyways, I think the incident was wrong, no doubt about it. But every membership has its price. Whether it’s an exclusive country club or basketball team, you have to show some type of tolerance and dedication to the club before you’re allowed to have full rights to the organization. Honestly, how can anyone have an issue with hazing? These organizations are solely based upon a voluntary basis. Am I right?

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