People enjoy the feeling of being accepted. In our society, acceptance is king. Most will do what they can to gain the respect and unity of their peers. There’s nothing wrong with it, it just happens to be in our nature.
But, when does the cost of feeling accepted become too much?
Would you put your dignity on the line? How about putting yourself through mental or physical stress, all for the gratification of acceptance?
Unfortunately in many social circles, these are the prices that generally need to be paid. The word that accompanies this payment is simple – hazing.
Looked at as a right of passage, hazing is entrenched in many aspects of our society. According to hazingprevention.org, hazing occurs in sports teams, Greek life, cheerleading, honor societies and more. This week, the same organization promotes a nationwide campaign, National Hazing Prevention Week, to help spread awareness and “empower people to prevent hazing” according to their website.
Hazing is a big time act on college campuses. The National Study of Student Hazing states “more than half of college students are involved in some form of campus hazing.”
Hazing comes in many different forms. Physical exhaustion, ridicule, and public shaming are just a few options. It all sounds awful. So why would people put themselves through all of that?
Simple. They feel they have to in order to belong.
The problem with college society, Greek life especially, is that hazing has become almost synonymous with being accepted. Somewhere along the line the outlook on friendship and being a part of
these circles got skewed. How does it make sense to intentionally belittle a person that you claim will be your friend in the future?
Short answer, it doesn’t.
There is an ultimate price to be paid for this search of acceptance, and unfortunately it happens more often than one would think. Death.
In fact, it’s going on right now at Baruch College. Five members of Pi Delta Psi are formally charged
with the murder of Chun Hsien Deng, and 37 brothers total face a bevy of charges ranging from assault and hindering apprehension, to hazing.
This practice isn’t new. The same study I mentioned earlier reports that “since 1970, there has been at least one hazing-related death on a college campus each year.”
So, for the past 45 years students have lost their lives just doing what they felt was their best chance at gaining acceptance. Sounds pretty unnecessary if you ask me. As a member of Greek life myself, I just don’t understand the need for hazing. Especially as the cost of someone’s life.
Hazingprevention.org is a great tool. Since its birth in 2007 under founder Tracy Maxwell, this organization has spread to campuses and communities all over the country. The top event, National Hazing Prevention Week, officially runs Sept 21-25 and has found its way right here to the campus of Seton Hall.
“NHPW is an opportunity to educate students, parents, teachers, coaches, administrators, faculty, staff, athletic directors, band and performing arts directors, residence hall leadership, student government leaders, community members, local and campus police and others to not just recognize hazing but to learn ways they can prevent it from occurring in the first place,” the organization states on their campaign site.
With the conversation opening up, and people becoming more aware of the problems around campus, hopefully programs like these can help put an end to the days of haze.
Dennis Chambers is a senior journalism major from Mullica Hill New Jersey. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.