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How Far Would You Go? Essay, Research Paper


Have you ever wanted to be a part of something to the extent that you would risk your life? There are many Americans every year who take part in something know as ?hazing.? Hazing is categorized as something you take part in, as initiation, affiliation with, admission into, or a continued membership into a specific group or organization. For something to be classified as hazing it must put someone in mental or physical danger. Hazing also is the involvement in destroying or removing private property.

There are many university organizations that involve themselves with hazing. Even though, many states have outlawed hazing, people are still going to try to continue their involvement. There are too many groups or organizations who believe that this action must go on. They believe that it is ?tradition? or as some students at the Texas A&M University call it ?good bull.? (TAMU, pg. 4) When universities build there popularity around tradition it is very easy to excuse hazing as part of that tradition. But, what one university considers hazing is just fun to the other university. We must find a common interest on where the line should be drawn.

The hazing we here most about, occurs amongst our Greek-letter organizations. It is one of the most popular things to be apart of during your college experience. A fraternity is a very cultural experience. There are many different types of fraternities. There are Hispanic fraternities, black fraternities, gay fraternities and even Jewish fraternities. There are around 400,000 male undergraduates that belong to some type or form of a fraternity.(Dean, pg.2) Nearly every fraternity at every university in this nation indulges in this form of initiation. There are many types of hazing. These types of hazing are known as First Degree, Second Degree and Third Degree. First Degree hazing is that in which manipulate, coerce or in any other respects seek to deny the right or dignity of individuals.(Dean, pg.2) This first degree of hazing is more less a psychological game of pressure and acceptance. Second Degree hazing is a little more embarrassing than that of a first degree. In this second degree of hazing you would probably be put into very uncomfortable positions and could actually be caused some pain. In this type of hazing you would more than likely be doing more things in front of the group. In the Third Degree level of hazing you find yourself in a more hazardous state of being. At this level you are risking physical and mental health. Meaning, that you can cause mental stress and injure your body at this third degree of hazing.

There are many stories told about hazing and how far these college students will go just be a part of a certain organization. An unknown university from the east coast did a special with the New York Times before hazing season began. In this article it was found that there is a wide spread variety of things that go along with the hazing of a fraternity. Usually each fraternity house will invent its own hazing traditions. At this university the range was very wide spread. There were some reports of duck walking across campus. This is example would more than like fall into the first degree of hazing. There are stories of some males having to rub Ben-Gay ointment on their testicles. There can be some hazing events that are solemn and then there are those that are a little more dangerous and lethal to the human mind. There is one thing that they do all have in common and that is that every hazing event is messy. Even though, hazing is supposed to be some sort of unknown secret university officials know it still takes place. About ten of the nations largest fraternities have around a twenty six billion dollar liability ?insurance policy that covers all undergraduate chapters in case an accident was to occur.(Crothers, pg.3) In dealing with these hazing events across the nation, it is almost certain that at least one serious accident will be caused and even chance of a death to occur. There are so many who pledge but when ?Hell Week? begins the weak ones are weeded out. During this week, known as hell week, hazing is at its peak. During this week of hazing, it is every fraternity brothers job to try and break down the self loyalty of each pledge.(Crothers, pg.3) Many weeks before ?Hell Week? begins each pledge receives a package to ready them for this week of torture. In this package they are given a nickname, an identification number and a single T-shirt. This T-shirt is to be worn throughout ?Hell Week? and is not allowed to be washed. There are many other things that go on during ?Hell Week? that we never hear about. For example, some fraternities take their pledges out to an open field away from the crowd. In there T-shirts covered in vomit, their soon to be fraternity brothers urinate on each pledge. In the article, one fraternity brother said that, ?Hazing is very educational about human nature.?(Crothers, pg.3) Another unhealthy mental example of Hazing is that some fraternities will have simulations of deaths or burials. How would you feel if you were at a mixer and received a note saying your parents had been killed in an accident? This is another example of how these fraternities play with each of the minds of a pledge. Only twenty percent of all hazing events are positive. Positive meaning, ropes courses and team trips. Hazing events are also most common on the East and West coasts. While the coastal schools having more hazing activities, the Midwestern and Southern campuses were more dangerous and incidental.

Not only does hazing occur in male Greek-letter organizations but it is popular among female sorority members too. At a university in New York, the Delta Delta Delta sorority was put on four year probation. The police had found some pledges walking around Memorial Park. These pledges had been dropped off by the sisters they were pledging for. Some of the sorority sisters believed that this was a harsh punishment. Especially since it happens in every sorority in the country.(Athenaeum, pg.2) Most of the female hazing events involve alcohol. Of course, sororities are not going to involve themselves in messy and brutal initiations.

Another group of people that involve themselves in hazing is the cadets at The Citadel. The Citadel is a one-hundred and fifty four year-old South Caroline military college. Of course in the past, it has been a unspoken rule that men went to the military and every since women have tried to make their appearance in the military it has been a tuff joyride. When four girls enrolled at Citadel they new exactly what they were in for. Or did they? Nancy Mace, 19, Jeanie Mentavlos, 18, Petra Lovetinska, 18, and Kim Messer, 18, all enrolled this past fall. One night, two of these girls experienced a very bad hazing incident. Mentavlos and Messer were asleep and one of the male cadets set fire to their blankets. A retired Army master sergeant called the incident, ?Mean as Hell.?(Citadel, pg.1) The girls? parents got lawyers since this was only half of the hazing incidents these girls received. During the night, the girls would be interrupted by other male cadets. During their interruption, the male cadets would sing sexually explicit songs.(Citadel, pg.1) After these hazing incidents the girls continued their study at Citadel but stopped with their military participation. The school officials at Citadel placed panic buttons in the girl?s rooms.

We have seen all the different types of hazing that goes along with school affiliations such as athletics, Greek-letter organizations and etc. Most of these people probably get through it that one time and pray that they never have to go through anything else like that again. But, for those athletes who decide to go pro more than likely see their initiation buddy again. They have been many reports of minor cases of hazing in the NFL. The usual hazing experiences that most rookies face are less stressful of those they might have faced in a fraternity pledge. Most rookies are to simply stand up in front of the team and sing their college fight song. Other duties could be just doing something a veteran has ordered them to do or even pay the bill of a good night of partying.(Hershey, pg.1) In 1998, there was a incident that left all of the people wondering. NFL security officials placed an investigation on the Saints. It was something that wasn?t released to the public, but we know that it wasn?t one of the normal hazing events a rookie goes through.(Hershey, pg.2)

There are forty one states that have laws against hazing. Of those forty one states, Texas is one. Most major universities follow along with the laws we have against hazing. There are eight states that still haven?t put a stop to this terrifying way of initiation. Vermont is try to put a law into affect. Vermont currently has a law pending. Even though most states have laws against hazing, it still is going on.

As you can see, Hazing is still alive and well in the United States. For as long as we can remember there have been social groups and along with those social groups comes initiations. Hazing has been something the government and university officials have tried to put a stop to. It is something that will be very hard to abolish.

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