Drinking and Fraternity Hazing: Should Colleges Be Held Responsible?

by jamicajdb on April 30, 2013

Drinking and Fraternity Hazing: Should Colleges Be Held Responsible?

The tradition of hazing by various school fraternities and other groups has become far more serious than the periodical prank indulgences of years gone by. Besides the issue that young adults even feel the need to participate in such nonsensical activities, the level of injury and even death has made these campus rituals more disturbing, particularly regarding over-drinking.

What is Hazing?

Hazing is the physically and/or psychologically abusive segment of an initiation process instituted by a group or society, usually college fraternities, sororities, athletic teams, etc. Hazing can include a wide variety of activities that are marked by physical abuse or being particularly dangerous or sexually violating. Below are some of the activities that have been associated with this practice:

  • Excessive alcohol abuse and binge drinking
  • Personal servitude
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Personal hygiene restriction
  • Yelling, swearing and insulting
  • Humiliation
  • Consumption of vile substances
  • Branding
  • Physical beatings
  • Sexual simulation and assault

Extent of Hazing

It has come to light long ago that hazing has extended far beyond school fraternities and other organizations. In fact, it is experienced by boys, men, girls and women in social and school groups of all types such as the military, universities, athletic teams and other professional and social organizations. Therefore, hazing has become a complex social problem that has been shaped by certain power dynamics with regard to how groups operate within particular cultural contexts.

Common Injuries

The camaraderie associated with some fraternities and sororities has become so depraved that initiation rites have now become matters of life and death. The types of injuries sustained by students involved in hazing have accelerated such that educators are faced with developing their own regulations against it. From physical injury to DUI, students can face the negative impact of hazing on a lifelong basis.

For instance, students have been physically injured, sometimes permanently, and occasionally even die as a result of abusive behavior during hazing incidents. In fact, over the last decade, as a result of this traumatic behavior, approximately 20 students are believed to have been killed. In a majority of initiation incidences, binge drinking is the main ingredient in this recipe of disaster. In order to prove their worthiness or manliness, new pledges are expected to consume large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time.

Undoubtedly, the pressure to capitulate is too much to resist for most students. In addition, in a lot of cases, binge drinking is likely to take place off campus to avoid the rites being detected. So it goes without saying that these groups are drinking and driving, both to and from the activity. Unfortunately, this is the perfect scenario for police to pull the student over under suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), and for even more injury or even death as the result of an automobile accident.

In recent years, binge drinking and hazing deaths have made headlines in Fresno, California on a number of college campuses. No doubt, a DUI attorney Fresno CA filing in these cases has brought these deaths to the forefront for a lot of families whose kids leave for college in the fall. Parents have enough to worry about when they send teens away to college; the threat of hazing and binge drinking only adds to this anxiety.

Anti Hazing Laws

The anti-hazing restrictions and laws that have been imposed by individual schools, groups, colleges and universities have had some impact upon curbing the worst hazing excesses. As a result, more than 90 fraternity chapters are said to have been closed by national organizations over the past few years.

However, reports continue to surface indicating that induction rites have moved to a secret underground environment. Also, it has been discovered that fraternity members have taken to beating students for rebelling against hazing practices, leading to racial discrimination and physical, emotional and mental abuse, as well as violence and death.

Who’s Responsible

Due to the extensive dangerous nature of hazing, schools, colleges, groups, fraternities and sororities need to address the related serious issues that occur as a result. To that end, every incident that could have involved hazing should be exposed and dealt with accordingly. The high level of alcohol-related and physical abuse deaths will only continue until everyone who becomes aware of hazing situations exposes those involved in these dangerous activities. Currently, Greek organizations caught hazing are made to pay hefty fines and maybe even have their violating chapter closed; but is this enough to discourage such bad behavior? This argument has been posed by many; however, there is no resolution in sight regarding the decrease of hazing.

It’s true that students can benefit from membership in sororities and fraternities, but the troubling excesses of hazing cannot continue to be condoned. If school administrations are not able to adequately deal with the issues, hazing victims will continue to need to find justice in the court system. While victims of hazing deserve and should seek compensation for their damages, no amount of money will ever bring back a lost loved one. Therefore, society, as well as academia, needs to adopt a zero tolerance with regard to hazing.

Jamica Bell is a concerned citizen and provides this research to help anyone in a hazing situation. Whenever someone is a victim of any form of hazing that causes illness or injury, it is important to obtain legal representation as soon as possible, and a Terry Wapner group DUI attorney Fresno CA offers can help ensure that payment for medical bills, pain and suffering and other financial losses and damages is made.

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