Phasing out Hazing

I am not unbiased when it comes to Greek life on college campuses, as I think it’s far more harmful than beneficial. So take from that what you will – I know people close to me who have had wonderful Greek experiences.

Recent hazing injuries and deaths has prompted impassioned responses, as chronicled in the Times recently.

There has been at least one school-related hazing death each year in the United States since 1961, according to Hank Nuwer, a Franklin College journalism professor and the author of multiple books on hazing. Most, but not all, have occurred during fraternity initiation events.

But in 2017, four students, including Mr. Gruver at L.S.U., Tim Piazza, a 19-year-old at Pennsylvania State University and Andrew Coffey, a 20-year-old at Florida State University, lost their lives in hazing-relating incidents. Mr. Coffey died on a fraternity house couch after drinking an entire bottle of bourbon during Big Brother Night. In each case, multiple students were charged.

Almost all of this unchecked aggression and excess descends from a misguided need to prove one’s worth as a growing male, and it’s long past time for us to learn that risking the safety of oneself and others is not required for membership in the club of masculinity.

There’s also this:

“If we were going to create a higher education system from scratch, would we have organizations that year after year kill a student? Probably not,” he said at the conference. “But they are very ensconced in higher education, and if you try to do some kind of ban, which is often what people are asking, you run the risk of underground behavior.”

“Don’t tell me what I can’t do, even if what I do is killing people,” basically. It’s a fair point, though, and see the Netflix film “Burning Sands” for a bleak example of what happens when hazing goes underground.