The recent hazing scandal is a story that is not perceived by most to be a unique occurrence among members of the Greek community.
Greeks and non-Greeks alike have their own ideas of actions stereotypical of hazing rituals.
We have all heard the horror stories of the hapless newcomer, eager to please and impress peers, only to wind up a victim of “good fun” gone too far.
Last week, a young man was found barely clothed, miles from campus and covered in a disturbing cocktail of coconut milk, chewing tobacco spit, eggs and dirt.
Whether or not this was an isolated incident has yet to be determined.
Because he was a member of a student-run organization, few found his condition to be odd.
Many found actions like this to be necessary evils of age-old tradition.
I find this mindset worrisome.
Prevalence of law-breaking does not make the act any less destructive.
Actions that disregard a person’s right to personal safety, such as hazing, do not occur in an insular space in which other people are not affected.
When a veteran member devalues the bodily rights of a new member, they are establishing an arbitrary hierarchy of power in which degrading action towards the person who is perceived to be “less than” or otherwise different is somehow justified on the grounds that an experienced member has the right to determine another person’s value.
By harboring an environment in which degradation and disrespect towards others is commonplace, habits to behave in such a manner are being established.
These destructive habits are then perpetuated outside the groups in which they are born and, in turn, affect nonmembers often by violent and careless violation of their bodily rights as well.
We are not strangers to the fact that sexual assault is a problem on most college campuses.
Our organizations boast the ability to mold leaders from young members, yet there are so few who choose to lead by example by calling for an end to the violent and destructive power scale whose origins are prevalent within these groups.
Violent habits could be easily circumvented if veteran members were to instead focus on instilling new members with a sense of accountability towards themselves as individuals and those who represent the organization as a whole.
Change outside the groups must also take place.
We, as individuals, have the rights and ability to start a revolution by saying “no” and letting others know that disrespecting another’s body is detrimental to personal well-being.
Six (I hesitate to call them) men left campus last week with the intention of tying another man to a tree, abusing him and abandoning him with the purpose of creating a bond between them.
Is this bond based on dominance and submission under the guise of brotherhood, or is there a more sinister motive behind these actions?