Hazing is the first thing that comes to many parents minds when their son tells them that he wants to join a college fraternity. In fact hazing was the first thing on my mind when I was considering pledging. The media and over exaggerated tales of ridiculous hazing rituals have become common place, yet what you see and hear is not what actually goes on. When I first told my parents that I was pledging a fraternity their first concern was that I would be forced to drink in order to get in. This article will go through the common misconceptions about hazing in Greek fraternities.
In order to even pledge the student needs to receive a bid from a fraternity on campus. Getting a bit requires you to participate in rush which is a week dedicated to getting to know everyone in the organization, in order to see where you fit in. Rush is some of the most fun you will during this process; the fraternities will do something special in order to entice you to join their group. Rush can be a great experience and requires absolutely no hazing since you are not even a member of any group yet. If a fraternity likes a candidate by the end of rush they will receive a bid; a bid means that the fraternity is allowing you to pledge for them. Not everyone receives bids; it is not the end of the world if you do not, just try again next semester.
After a bid is obtained then the potential candidate will be officially pledging at the end of bid night. Pledging requires copious amounts of alcohol consumption and doing other random stupid activities to get in right? Wrong. Pledging is designed to educate the potential candidates in the Fraternities traditions and customs, as well as history. The Greek system is full of traditions which the candidates need to learn; in fact this can be a stressful process since there is a lot of history associated with most national fraternities. The extent of “hazing” is learning about the fraternity you plan on joining, which is nothing more than another class, and is not considered hazing. I would recommend learning the history and non secret traditions as soon as possible because you could be tested at any time, and a fraternity reserves the right to remove a pledge at any point during the process.
Okay so you learned the history, and you still want to continue your journey in the fraternity, what else is there to expect? As a pledge you will do community service hours, fundraising, and other activities to benefit the house or the community. As a pledge you have the right to say that you do not want to do something if it is unreasonable; in order to get de-pledged the president and pledge master have the final say. Fraternities are looking for leaders, therefore if you are asked to do something ridiculous chances are it is a test; you do not want to be a follower, so do not follow orders that make you uncomfortable. There is a respect system in fraternities, you should follow that; but do not do anything you feel uncomfortable with or that would endanger you in any way. Speak up if you feel uncomfortable about any situation; however due to recent anti hazing laws it will be rare to experience these situations.
Fraternities have changed since your parents attended college; due to recent lawsuits fraternities are not allowed to haze on campuses. A fraternity will lose their charter, house, and could face a lawsuit and even jail time if they are caught hazing! The media has taken the traditions of a fraternities pledge process and has blown them up into nothing but a mindless ritual of hazing. Before joining any fraternity on your college campus you should check out their reputation, since every organization is different. Do not let hazing be affecting your choice to join a fraternity; fraternities are under constant pressure to not haze by society and from the universities.