Fraternity hazing - my duty?


#1

I’m in a college fraternity that practices some mild hazing. Although it’s mild compared to other university chapters, it’s definitely seems to be immoral for a couple of reasons.

First of all, it’s against universtiy policy and the policy of the fraternities’ national constitution.

Secondly, it’s obviously degrading and is senselessly cruel.

Something has been bothering me lately. Do I, as a brother of the fraternity, have an obligation to report my group to the university for sanctions? I have tried talking to some of the guys and they are definitely not going to give in just because I want them to stop.

How do we know when we have a duty to report wrongful acts that are in obvious disobedience of a higher authority?

Now, it gets more complicated. If I do have a duty to report this, then so do the new guys that are being hazed, right?

If the above is true, then I would have to leave the fraternity. I could not, in clear conscience, recruit others to join the group.

Recruitment and education of associate members is hallmark to any fraternity. If I can’t participate in this, I need to leave the group.


#2

Put it this way - you’re not recruiting people to be hazed You’re recruiting them to join the fraternity.

Get together with like-minded people from your fraternity if necessary and make efforts to get it stopped. I think you absolutely should complain to the University and any other appropriate body if its against their rules. You may see it as mild but it’s serious enough to be prohibited, isn’t it? And purely because it is unnecessary, demeaning and cruel.

If you’re involved in recruiting perhaps you can take the opportunity to let the new recruits know they are entitled to complain about any hazing that may go on. This puts the onus on them to report anything that may go on.


#3

Well when it comes to hazing, you got some that’s pretty black and white and then you have some that really fits into a gray area. When you start talking about hazing, it can be easy to jump to conclusions that you doing something like making them drink alcohol til they end up with alcohol poising and the such. But then it seems after reading some of the rules, it’s like I’ll start scratching my head say, “huh? Is it like the only thing we can do is to ask them to come over make sure they have a coke, and we will perform a show for them?”

I am in a fraternity too, when I was an active member living in the house there was always that dilemma. I guess I’d say I would never put someone through something I wouldn’t want to be put through, also given that the pledges are always pretty anxious. Considering what I thought about what I went through and talking to others, what I’d actually like and what I’d think is powerful and really would have a deep impact on me and my character, yeah some of that stuff would actually be considered hazing by the university. I really didn’t want to have a walk through, but I wanted to think I could prove something to myself. At the same time, you don’t want to anything that is just meaningless and degrading, or have to fear for your safety.

To me, this process is always something that is going to have a lot of dialogue with the brothers, especially the ones in charge of the chapter and the pledges. Your really going to have to have control over what you are doing and know why you are doing it, and to make sure it has some meaning to the mission of the fraternity, the chapter, and each individual as a person.

One bad thing is the whole chapter is mostly made up of men from 18-23, and they don’t exactly have a lot of maturity of many years as a responsible adult. I remember a couple of people telling another brother, “But we do care for you, that’s why we make fun of you.” The sad thing is its actually true. I don’t think its that uncommon for guys to make fun of another in a group, but if another not in the group starts to do it, they’ll come down on the outsider. But those two didn’t really realize what they were doing to that brother.

I guess for your questions, if you think it is really bad and a clear violation, you probably should go to the university and the fraternity headquarters with it. If its more of a gray area, people aren’t really getting too hurt by it, but it really doesn’t seem right, really go bring it up and get it out to face it as a chapter. You know what the mission of the fraternity is, you have the Church, use those as a guides. It is always important to how you bring pledges into the fold not to go stagnant, it needs constant vigilance to make sure it is good for each individual and the chapter.


#4

Your duty is to report it to your advisor and your national fraternity headquarters. Your national level will take it very seriously and will investigate. Fraternities can be a wonderful part of the college years if all involved act according to their charter. Only if your national level refuses to handle it would you then need to report them to the university.

The problem seems to lie in your particular chapter. If it were a national policy then you wouldn’t want to be in that fraternity anyway. God bless you during these college years! They can be the hardest times to try to live according to the Truth.


#5

Agreed… :thumbsup:
Report the issue to the National Fraternity headquarters…


#6

Absolutely…and since we are talking about a violation of pledges that you all took when you joined, and not just your particular take on things, your fraternity brothers should be able to understand this.

Try to handle it discretely first, by reminding your house leaders of their duty. If they will not cooperate, you will need to do your duty by making their refusal known higher up in your organization.

Go to the executives of your house, the president and vice president, and tell them that if they don’t put a stop to hazing plans immediately, you will be forced to report them to your national chapter immediately. Tell them also that you expect that this will be presented to the members of your house as the decision of the house executives, that you will be given anonymity on calling them on what is, after all, their sworn duty, and that they must see to it that there will be no repercusions visited on you…or you will have to let national know about that, too. It should not be your problem that your house executives have refused to do their job.

Before you do this, tell a third party who can be trusted keep this confidential but who will back you up if it comes to “he said, but he said.”


#7

But the problem comes in with this: after a person reports these events to a higher authority, he might as well leave the group, because everyone in the group will hate him and think he’s a traitor.

If I have a duty to report it, then so do they. So why would I recruit guys to join a group that they’re just going to have to get in trouble. It’s like “hey, come join this group just so you can fix a problem in our chapter and then be hated by them for it.”

I just don’t see how I can recruit with a clear conscience as long as the hazing is going on. Any further thoughts?..


#8

Sorry for your dilemma. I was in a sorority in college, but the “hazing” we did mostly involved scavenger hunts for prizes (technically hazing by national standards, but it wasn’t really). Had things gone past that point, I probably would have said something to the president, or whoever I was closest to in the exec board. Then I probably would have contacted our house mom or resident advisor or local alumni president. I am not a fan of taking things to the “outside” unless someone is in danger.

You could also suggest “good for you” hazing. My DH’s fraternity had what they called “hell week” which consisted of all the pledges having to live at the house for the week, do all their homework, read ahead 4 chapters in their books, and get a sheet signed by all their professors that they went to class every day that week. It was really funny and embarassing, but encouraging and helped the guys bond over their studies. Maybe suggest something like “community service hazing” or something. I know it sounds hokey, but they are still working hard to get into the fraternity, just in a way that doesn’t cause anyone harm.


#9

Hey! I like your way of thinking. That’s a great idea. Unfortunately, they would laugh at me for suggesting this.

In fact, I don’t know if our fraternity philosophy would even fit this. The idea behind Lambda Chi’s association period (we don’t call them “pledges”) is that they come into the group almost equal to regular members but are still outside the bond of brotherhood. They have voting rights and everything. They are not supposed to be subservient to us. I definitely don’t think their’s anything wrong with your suggestion though.

However, I am a huge fan of making people better academic students as well as fraternal students. Hopefully, I can find a way to straighten these guys out and they can implement a more beneficial education program for the associates.

Thanks for your advice.


#10

Your really going to have to use your judgement here. Your going to have to judge how bad these infractions are, and what you think the proper actions are. When you say that some actions are degrading and/or senselessly cruel, I have no clue as to the graveness of the degree. A response could range from telling a person to stop acting like a jerk, to filing a grievance charge, to talking to the officers, to calling HQ & university, to calling the police.

Your going to have to use your judgement as to if you think that this can get worked out in the chapter. If you have to go to HQ you have to go to HQ. If it means people are going to hate you, so be it. If it means you’ll have to leave the house so be it. Would you rather stay in the house with grave violations, that you cannot do much to change? If you think you can help the problem and they aren’t too grave and bring the problem to the table and shift the process to the better place, maybe you should work it out as a chapter. If you think that this isn’t something you want recruits coming in to, then you shouldn’t bring them in. If you think they can get passed and can help out, and seem like the right type of person then recruit them.


#11

Thanks man. I appreciate your help.


#12

This is excellent advice. College administrators and national fraternities do not take these things lightly. Hazing, after all, was discontinued because a) it was beneath the dignity of human beings to act in that manner and b) Greek organizations had no future in high education if the problem was not addressed, and in no uncertain terms. If the problems are grave enough to violate hazing rules on on your campus, they could get your fraternity shut down. You’d be out of a house in that case, too.


#13

Honestly, I didn’t have time to read all the postings. But here are my humble thoughts and opinions.

You went through pledging, so I’m assuming you went through this same hazing, yes? Did you hate it? Did you think it was wrong? Would you EVER have considered turning in the chapter for hazing?

I pledged a sorority on a tiny campus where even the specifics of hazing were known by all, though it was supposed to be a secret part of pledging. In my sorority we were yelled at, “kidnapped”, dressed up in weird clothes, and one time “abandoned” 20 miles from campus with no money to try to find a way back. We were humiliated in public, and deprived of sleep. Our pledging only went on for four weeks, but it was stupid, senseless, and made us all really angry. It wasn’t until one of the other sororities lost an entire pledge class due to hazing that things became a tiny bit better.

Here’s a thought: Is there an alum you know of who could report this for you? Our alumni all knew about the hazing - some of them even came back to take part in it! But there were others who wouldn’t come near the hazing because they knew it was wrong.

So, who do you know who could run some interference for you? If you are the ONLY one who thinks the hazing is wrong, then you absolutely have no place there.

Your sister in Christ, and an old sorority sister as well.


#14

Thanks for your advice. I like the idea about finding an alumni to report it, but I can’t think of who would do that. Most of the alumni that come around, participate in the hazing.

So you and everyone else can know, I have proceeded by contacting Headquarters. They are really interested and say they are going to bring a change to my chapter. Stopping hazing (and not just in their own chapters) is one of Lambda Chi Alpha’s top priorities.

I had already reported it to the university before I posted this, but in order for the university to effectively do anything, I may have to become unanonymous. *However, I think that headquarters is going to be able to stop it without involving the university.
*

Thanks very much to all of you for your advice and support.

God bless,
Bry


#15

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