Editorial: Hazing must stop

There is no good in hazing, only the bad and the ugly.

The bad: hazing has become a problem within the Greek Life system all across the country. The ugly: hazing not only causes death and or injuries, but chapters get ugly reputations. Hazing should not be tolerated for the negative impacts it inflicts on people.

According to the website hazingprevention.org, hazing is described as any action taken or situation created intentionally that causes embarrassment, harassment or ridicule that risks emotional and/or physical harm to members of a group or a team.

Three types of hazing have been reported on the website, stophazing.org:

  • Subtle hazing are behaviors that emphasize a power imbalance between people such as assigning demerits and name calling
  • Harassment hazing causes emotional anguish or physical discomfort to people such as verbal abuse and sexual simulations
  • Violent hazing are behaviors that have the potential to cause physical, emotional or psychological harm such as physical beating and forced consumption of alcohol or drugs

Knowing things like this occur on college campuses within Greek life is sickening. Hazing needs to be prevented and restricted.

Some people believe that hazing is just silly acts and harmless pranks; but imagine these things happening to the people you care about most in this world.

According to the hazing prevention website, Eileen Stevens lost her son, Chuck Stenzel, to a hazing incident at Alfred University in New York. Stenzel, a member of Klan Alpine Fraternity, died from alcohol poisoning at a party. He and two other pledges were in the trunk of a car and had to drink a pint of Jack Daniels, a six-pack of beer and a quart of wine before they were allowed out of the car. Once out of the car, they were forced to drink more at the fraternity house. Stenzel passed out and was left on a mattress where he stopped breathing soon after.

Stenzel is one of many examples as to why hazing should be prohibited and not tolerated. The hazing prevention website states that, “As of February 12, 2010, the number of recorded hazing/pledging/rushing-related deaths in fraternities and sororities stands at 96—90 males and 6 females.”

While some people agree hazing is harmful, others argue that hazing is a part of their traditions and rituals with their chapter.

Although chapters all across the nation participate in different rituals, hazing rituals should not be allowed. If hazing is considered a ritual in order to join a chapter, that is not an activity that should be encouraged or tolerated.

Greek life on a college campus is meant to be a fun, growing experience. It is not meant to be a miserable experience, although for some people, it still continues to be.

Why is it OK to inflict pain and unwanted behavior on those who would be better off without it? Why is it OK to intentionally harm others for people’s personal satisfaction? Personally, I think these questions can only be answered with the response of , “It’s not OK”.

If hazing is “not OK”, then why is it still an ongoing problem?

The stop hazing prevention website says that most people are unaware of what the hazing will entail because the information is in the secrecy of the brotherhood.

Missouri has passed legislation that prohibits hazing from occurring. The hazing prevention website states: “Hazing is a class A misdemeanor, unless the act creates a substantial risk to the life of the student or prospective member, in which case it is a class C felony.”

Although many states have passed legislation to prohibit hazing that are similar to Missouri’s legislation, hazing is still occurring. In fact, the only difference is hazing is more often done in secrecy.

According to the hazing prevention website, two in five students say they are aware of hazing taking place on their campus, and more than one in five report that they have witnessed hazing personally.

This means 40 percent of the students on college campuses know that hazing is occurring and 20 percent have witnessed it.

Over the years, we as a country have made a conscious effort to crack down on bullying. The government website against bullying, stopbullying.gov, states that schools have created mission statements, codes of conduct and school-wide rules against bullying to attempt to prevent it from occurring.

The hazing prevention website states that the only difference between bullying and hazing is that bullying can happen to anyone, while hazing is used as a way to join a group.

If bullying and hazing are like brother and sister, why do we crack down on bullying but not hazing?

If we all take a step back and look at the big picture, we realize how incredibly wrong hazing is. Creating a code of conduct and school wide rules against hazing would help prevent it.

While finding the root of hazing may be difficult, participating in events like National Hazing Prevention Week, which PHA at Mizzou participated in this past September, can help.

It’s time to stop forcing people to drink. It’s time to stop making new members do unnecessary things. It’s time to stop hazing.

Allison Wepler

About the Author Allison Wepler

Allison Wepler is from Liberty, Mo., which is north of Kansas City. She is very excited about the possibilities agriculture and Mizzou have to offer her. Attending Mizzou runs in the family for Wepler. Her father played football for the Mizzou Tigers when he was a college student. In high school, Wepler was active in FCCLA, Broadcasting, Student Council, dance and cheer. Wepler does not have an agricultural background, so being a student in CAFNR has opened up a huge amount of opportunities for succeeding in the adult world and finding a satisfying career in agriculture. She decided to major in science and agricultural journalism because she wanted to be a part of the business or journalism world. “It is an important thing that we are going to need in the world for a long time,” Wepler said concerning her choice to focus on agriculture within the journalism world.