The harms of hazing: The lesser talked about side of Greek Life



Many students join fraternities and sororities in college to meet friends. Unfortunately for some, entrance into the organizations may come at a great cost.

Alex Thorne, Business Manager

Fraternities and sororities are a great way to connect college freshmen with new friends. Success in intramurals sports, community outreach and philanthropy work are often celebrated by the organizations.

In order to become a member of these elite groups on campus students have to “rush” in the fall or spring. This typically involves attending events held by multiple fraternities or sororities and trying to make connections with the members. If one of the organizations likes a person enough they will receive a bid, being invited to join the group.

Gaining one of these elusive bids is not as easy as it sounds. Thousands of students can rush at a university at one time, and even once a freshman gains a bid, they are still not guaranteed  the promised land. 

Senior Alex Melvin plans to attend Iowa State University in the fall and hopes to gain a bid because of connections he has. “My brother is already actively involved in a fraternity at the school. I am hoping my relation to him is enough to get me into the group,” he said. 

In fraternities, those who accept their bids are called pledges. These pledges have to go through a few months of initiation before they can be fully accepted as true members of the “frat.”

Universities have rules about what the members can make their pledges do, and, 99 percent of the time, the activities are all in good fun. Pledges may have to hold doors open, clean the bathrooms or do some extra volunteer work.

In rare cases, pledges are pressured into doing things they normally wouldn’t feel comfortable with, which is called hazing. For example Stone Foltz, a 20-year-old student at Bowling Green State University, was forced to take part in a drinking ritual.

According to an anonymous source from ABC News, Pi Kappa Alpha pledges were forced to drink a handle of hard liquor before they could leave. Handles hold close to 40 shots within them.

After consuming that much alcohol the night of Mar. 4, Foltz was unresponsive. His mother Shari Foltz did not get a call until midnight that their son was in the hospital and on a ventilator. 

Unfortunately though, this is not the first case of hazing to occur at a university. According to a study published by the University of Dayton, 55 percent of college students involved in clubs and organizations have experienced some form of hazing. 

Worse than that, Dayton also reports that 40 percent of athletes who were involved in hazing said a coach or authority figure knew of it happening. 22 percent said that the coach or figure was involved. 

The men at the universities are not the only ones experiencing hazing. An anonymous source involved in Greek life at the University of Indiana reported hearing stories of sororities forcing their recruits to engage in oral sex or use cocaine, in a sick and twisted game called “Blow or Blow.”

Students should not have to worry for their lives whilst joining Greek life or sports teams. College is supposed to be a place where students find themselves and their friends for life. Hazing could not be more of a preventer of this. 

Pleasant Valley Senior Michael VanDerSchaaf worries for his fate while rushing in the fall. “I am all for traditions and earning my spot in the fraternity. I will gladly do the dirty work for a while if asked, I just wouldn’t feel comfortable being forced to binge-drink,” he explained. 

When students tour universities, admissions counselors boast of how great the Greek Life is on campus. Grade point averages and charitable donations are found on the website’s of these organizations, but there is not a substantial amount of talk about preventing hazing.

VanDerSchaaf knows all too well stories of hazing. “I know plenty of college students who have told me about what they went through. I am really hoping I don’t have to experience something like that just to be in an organization,” he said. 

How could students be expected to openly sign up to join an organization if they know what vile events are going to transpire throughout their entry? While university officials openly speak out against it, further efforts need to be put in place to completely rid of the pressures entirely.