No matter the size of the school or the type of environment, every student wants to find her place: lifelong friends, fun activities, and a sense of belonging in a brand new setting away from protective parents and high school stereotypes. But is such a prize worth the price?
…is there a price?
For some, it could be drinking excessively to prove you can keep up with your pledge class. Or maybe it is participating in embarrassing or humiliating acts around campus, to show your dedication to a new group. Kidnappings and road trips? Sure. Taking nude pictures? Alright, if you say so.
It’s true. This semester, new sorority girls at schools across the Southeast found themselves targeted on Facebook by a Lexie Hillbrenner, an alum of their chapter who handpicked them as potential future leaders of their sororities – what great news for any new pledge!
After hours of chatting about majors and backgrounds, Lexie felt as welcoming and friendly as any other sister…so when she asked girls to complete random tasks ranging from reporting the distance between their dorm and the sorority house to what color underwear they were wearing, it didn’t hit too far from home. It’s college and they probably thought, “we’re Greek, and this is just part of getting into the house!”
When Lexie started asking for nude pictures and replying to any objections with threats, some girls went to campus police. But according to university policies, hazing of any kind is illegal, and people say it doesn’t happen at all. So why didn’t the girls come forward earlier? It’s as if hazing occurs so often that undergraduates can barely recognize it anymore.
“We want to be a part of something and we’re not fully accepted yet – perfect target,” said one of the victims who contacted police at Lexie’s forward request after mentioning it to her mother. But how many new and impressionable freshmen didn’t call home those days and hosted photo shoots with their webcams instead, for the sake of some promise of belonging? With Facebook, there’s no way to tell – even Lexie is “virtually untraceable” according to police officials at Florida State University.
Hazing happens, more often then not – even outside the sorority house and on athletic teams and student clubs.
A red flag shouldn’t go up simply because these students were asked to participate in sexually explicit acts, but because they thought they were being subjected to standard forms of initiation required to “pass the test.”
For future reference, there is no test. Ever.