National Hazing Prevention Week (NHPW) is September 22-26, 2014! NHPW is an opportunity for campuses, schools, communities, organizations and individuals to raise awareness about the problem of hazing, education others about hazing, and promote the prevention of hazing. In honor of NHPW, we asked several Brothers to tell us a bit about their experiences with and without hazing. These testimonials prove that not only is hazing not needed to create a worthwhile fraternity experience, but it is a detriment to the respect, loyalty and brotherhood we strive to create.
My views on hazing have been formed through three distinct lenses: as an undergraduate member, a university fraternity/sorority advisor, and an Alpha Advisor.
As a college freshman, I was skeptical of fraternities. I’d seen the stories, heard the stereotypes and wanted nothing to do with stupid antics. So when I found Chi Psi, I was surprised. It was full of campus leaders, good students, and personable, genuine men. My one real fear was hazing; I did not want to join an organization that was going to demean me, hurt me, or force me to conform. So I did the one thing I thought would prevent hazing: I chose the #1 as my big brother, and announced that if the Fraternity hazed, I was out and would talk to university officials. Fortunately, I never had to exercise that ‘nuclear option;’ Alpha Epsilon Delta was concerned with what a new member contributed to the Fraternity, not what the Fraternity forced onto him. I bought into Chi Psi not because I was tested or challenged by hazing, but because my Brothers cared about me and invested in me.
As a university fraternity/sorority advisor, I saw chapters with years of hazing tradition. A knowledgeable observer can identify a hazing fraternity from telltale signs: unity problems, emphasizing Pledge Class Unity over organizational unity, retention problems across classes, frequently mentioning and revering ‘tradition,’ bonds built on conformity. Many of those groups are established pillars on their campuses, but they lack fraternal spirit and soul. They’ve sold out; the organization’s purpose is lost amid its ‘frat-star’ image.
When I became involved with the refounding of Alpha Rho and later as an Alpha Advisor, I was determined to support a non-hazing Alpha. Chi Psi seeks men of substance – members with a strong sense of confidence, independence and honor. A Chi Psi speaks the truth, stands up for what is right, and makes those around him better. Our Fraternity is a Brotherhood – not a collection of random guys having a good time – a Brotherhood, and Brothers support each other, celebrate each other’s successes, and push each other to achieve. Building Brotherhood is a tall order, but it’s done in small steps, in simple acts.
True Brotherhood is a gift freely given and accepted; it cannot be demanded or earned.