Greek Speak: What’s With All The Negativity?

Hazing. It’s a touchy subject, and by “touchy” I mean one that we never want to touch on… or ever be a part of. I happen to come from a very anti-hazing chapter and university, both of which take ample precautions to eliminate hazing. Yet at colleges across the country, hazing still exists (and goes too far). And it exists in student groups and organizations that don’t have Greek letters in their names.

Why, then, are sorority and fraternity incidents the ones that are always making national news?

Most recently, two fraternities and one sorority at George Washington University were stripped of their houses on campus for hazing and underage drinking incidents. And of course, the story made it into the Washington Post. And this wasn’t the first time that’s happened.

In fact, it seems to me that the only time hazing stories get any media attention, they involve the Greek community. (It also seems that the only time the Greek community gets any media attention it’s for hazing, but that’s a whole different issue.) Should those who break the rules (and the law!) be punished for their actions? Absolutely. Should those who stand by and let it happen be punished too? Yes. But we all know that it’s not just the frat boys and sorority girls who partake in hazing rituals.

I’m not a finger-pointer, but I can’t ignore the severe hazing incidents that have nothing to do with fraternities and sororities. Why don’t we ever hear anything about high school and college sports teams that haze? And what are their punishments? Are entire teams getting suspended for entire seasons? Does the team get removed from the athletic roster like a fraternity or sorority gets kicked off campus?

And what about the other student groups? Oftentimes they too have strict rituals new students must partake in if they want to be a part of the group. But does anyone notice?

No and no.

I am not sitting here saying that many fraternities and sororities don’t haze. They do, as awful as that is, and that’s why there are strict no-hazing policies in place on most campuses. But the fact is, they’re not the only ones who do so and it’s unfair that we get all the negative (national) attention and repercussions when everyone else out there merely gets a slap on the wrist.

If hazing is such a big issue – and it is – then it’s time we treat everyone who does it the same whether they are a Greek house or a sports team that brings in millions of dollars for a university each year. Hazing is serious, it’s damaging and it needs to be stopped… no matter who is doing it.

And while we’re speaking Greek, maybe it’s time we start giving fraternities and sororities attention for the things they’re doing right; highlighting the chapters that don’t haze, the money Greek communities raise for charity, and all the other great things this large group of college students does every year.

Or is that just wishful thinking?

What do YOU think about the negative stigmas that are associated with Greeks? Do you think they’re treated unfairly? Sound off!

[Got a question for our sorority girl? Email her at submissions [at] collegecandy [dot] com. In the meantime, get the DL on Greek Life from the women who are living it right here.]

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