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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Hazing in Greek Life raises question: how far is too far?

“Fraternities are very imposing,” said Phi Lambda Pi member and UNC Chapel Hill Senior Will Hodgkins. “The whole experience of pledging is social mind f—.”

Colleges and universities across the country face the growing issues of hazing on a regular basis.

The dangerous practice of hazing affects a wide range of students, from those participating in campus Greek life to athletes on sports teams or members of various collegiate organizations.

Just last month, Young Harris College first-year Jo Hannah Burch filed a lawsuit regarding her experiences while pledging. She said she was taken to an ice-cold creek nearby, where she was forced to sit in the cold water for hours.

Also last month, four Virginia State University students were charged with  hazing after forcing two pledges to walk through the treacherous rapids of the Appomattox River. One pledge drowned, while another is still missing.

Hodgkins does not support hazing, but he says it is very prominent in the culture of campus Greek life.

He recounted a story of five pledges from one fraternity who were forced to stand in a cold shower while ice was poured on their naked bodies. For several days, they had to eat anything that the brothers of the fraternity told them to eat.

Hodgkins recalled being awoken at two in the morning and taken to a dark field, where he was instructed to drink hot beer and ran around until he vomited. Hodgkins did this until his class the next day.

Although these experiences were unpleasant at the time, Hodgkins identified some positive benefits of the hazing practices.

“Hazing has aspects of character building, and going through those things helped me to grow a strong bound with my fellow pledges,” said Hodgkins.

Appalachian State junior Nia Mckie, like her national sorority chapter Phi Mu, actively discourages hazing.

“Hazing forces people to bond through horrifying experiences instead of bonding over friendships and morals,” said Mckie

Mckie’s sorority sister, Olivia Cullither, also a junior at Appalachian State, agreed that hazing should not have any part in Greek Life or athletic teams.

Cullither recalled a fraternity being removed from campus for setting off Roman candles and bottle rockets, aimed at pledges.

Mckie has heard stories about various athletics teams at Appalachian State having some type of hazing for new recruits.

What is being done to prevent acts of hazing on college campuses?

Many hazing tactics are deemed illegal, but is that enough of a deterrent?

Hodgkins said that the responsibility for hazing should fall on both the school and the individual.

Sophomore Eli Moran believes Guilford is hazing-free because it does not have an affiliation with Greek life.

“Hazing comes with Greek life,” said Moran. “That’s why you never hear stories about it happening around Guilford.”

Hodgkins suggested forbidding first-year students from pledging in the fall semester and instead allowing them to have more time to learn about what pledging might entail. He warned that hazing will almost always be a component of the rushing experience.

“Just like the military will always have hazing, so will Greek life; we just have to be responsible enough to not take it too far,” said Hodgkins. “People need to look into what they are getting into, and if they make that decision, then they know what to expect.”

Mckie recommended reading each fraternity or sorority’s creed before deciding to pledge.

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