You may think that hazing is a modern activity, yet its history can be traced back to the Greeks. Hazing is an activity that is seen as a type of ritual where a group of members forces new coming members to endure in order to prove their commitment and loyalty to the existing members. It may seem harmless on the outside, but it can turn deadly fast. Most universities have banned hazing activities, states have even made it a felony but it still continues to this day.
Just because the universities have banned hazing, doesn’t mean they will stop. Fraternities and Sororities have carried out these age-old rituals since the establishment of their letter, and very few plan to stop. Psychologists believe that hazing can only be eliminated through improving school culture and unity of students by creating a sense of community. The law seems to think otherwise, “In 2012 Congresswoman Fredrica Wilson introduced legislation that would have made the activity of hazing a federal offense, but that effort was unsuccessful.” - Journalist’s Resource, Denise Marie Ordway. Efforts have been made to make hazing a more punishable crime, but most have failed.
Since the 1950s, 88 hazing-related deaths have been reported. That number may seem small but each of these deaths was unnecessary. “Another student has died due to hazing. Research shows that there have been numerous deaths in the US since 1954. (with the exception of 1958) So why does hazing continue to happen? Hazing is unacceptable, but criminalizing it may cause more problems than a solution.” - The Conversation, Hank Nuwer. Hazing will not stop just by criminalizing it, it will still continue and become even more secretive and dangerous.
Some believe that hazing is just a simple traditional ritual carried out year by year, but when a death is caused things are reconsidered and questioned. Sororities and Fraternities see hazing as solidifying to their brothers/sisters and new potential members. “The attraction of hazing probably extends beyond the dictates of tradition, forging bonds through shared, secretive experiences. The rituals are thought to strengthen the group by proving the devotion of newcomers but also by helping to create a sense of loyalty.”- Ramapo College of New Jersey, Anne Merano. When carried out responsibly, hazing would be a fantastic bonding experience for all members, but it’s just too dangerous because they simply push the limit beyond its boundaries.
Despite hazings honest intent, it’s still much too dangerous to participate in. Membership of a group is not worth a life. Even though hazing rituals are traced back to Greek times, that does not mean it’s safe or ethical by any means. Many new college students crave the feeling of acceptance and some would even say that they will do anything to feel accepted, but is acceptance of new friends really worth a life?
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