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Sunny Simounet

Professor Grefski

ENGL 102*05

27 April 2017

Hazing: The Issue at Hand Isnt Hazy

When one thinks of hazing, the first thing that usually comes to mind is college. The

unthinkable acts and shocking scandals are indeed true, and they continue to happen on college

campuses across America annually as Greek organizations initiate new members. Hazing is

portrayed in movies, television shows, and spoken about in the news, yet the dangers rarely

seemed to be addressed to students on college campuses. Typically, it is hard to fathom that a

horrifying event has occurred when heard of on the news, but it is even harder to fathom when

one realizes the horrors are happening so close to home. While stories of hazing tend to be more

severe, and frequently heard of from larger universities, hazing occurs at smaller universities as

well, including Coastal Carolina University. Hazing is illegal, immoral, degrading, and should

not be tolerated. It is important to understand the severity of hazing, and take initiative in

permanently eradicating it within Greek organizations on the campus of Coastal Carolina

University.

As stated in the Coastal Carolina Hazing Policy, Hazing is any action taken or situation

created as part of initiation or continued membership in a student organization, which produces,

or could be expected to produce, mental or physical discomfort, harm, or stress; embarrassment;

harassment; or ridicule and/or which violates university policy, organization policy, or law, no

matter how good the intent or end result. (Coastal Carolina Code of Student Conduct 48-50).
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Hazing not only affects one's immediate mental and physical state, but poses negative long term

consequences as well. Short term effects include injury, public embarrassment, bouts of fear,

illness, poor grades, feelings of shame, and sometimes even hospitalization. Long terms effects

of hazing include, lowered self-esteem, depression, suicide, withdrawal from university, family

and friends, and sometimes death. The psychological trauma of hazing can follow an individual

into adulthood as it undermines their well-being. Many individuals come to college already

managing some sort of emotional baggage, for example, mental health issues, a loss of a loved

one, addiction, or even physical or emotional abuse in the home. If a student is already dealing

with issues internally, hazing will only worsen matters, and or re-traumatize the victim. (Hidden

Harm).

The act of hazing can range from forcing new initiate members to drive students to and

from parties on the weekend, forcing others participate to in excessive physical activity, as well

as forcing initiated members to perform unwanted sexual acts, and or, consume intolerable

amounts of alcohol, and so on (Coastal Carolina Code of Student Conduct 48-50). Some forms

of hazing can become so dangerous as to result in serious injury or even death. Hazing is

degrading towards new initiate members as they are forced to participate in undesirable acts

against their will. Many, if not all of the new members complete these forced acts in compliance

as they fear being ostracized and ridiculed by peers.

While many instances of hazing go unreported, it does not mean that it ceases to happen.

The main reason why many instances of hazing go unreported is largely due in part to the

inclination of new members to obey every call and beckon of their superiors. New initiate

members wish to please those within their organizations, because the better their standing is with

other members, the easier and more enjoyable their overall experience will be. While fraternities
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and sororities consist of members who hold important positions such as President, Vice

President, Treasurer, and so on, all members of the organization are to be deemed as equals. The

issue with new member initiation, is that the older members of the Greek organizations feel as if

they hold entitlement over the new members, and the concept of equal beings is overlooked. The

new initiate members typically are referred to as pledges for the first semester, or first year of

their membership within the organization. Older members expect the pledges to perform tasks on

demand, and this is one of the major influencing factors behind why hazing occurs. The concept

of a pledging period allows for new initiate members to be treated wrongfully, as they spend

the entirety of the pledge period proving their loyalty and obedience to older members by

obeying various commands and completing a multitude of tasks.

Although Coastal Carolina University has a zero tolerance for hazing on campus, Greek

organizations still participate in the act of hazing. Not all Greek organizations are caught and

punished for hazing though, as many of the instances fly under the radar, or occur in situations

where most others do not necessarily realize that hazing is occurring. Many fraternities at

Coastal Carolina institute a weekend program for pledges where they either have to attend the

party and stand as doorman for the entirety of the night, clean up after the party, or be what is

classified as a sober brother. A sober brother is almost always a new initiate member/pledge,

who ensures that all intoxicated individuals are taken care of to the full extent. Whether it be a

student who is getting sick, misbehaving, or needing a ride, the sober brother has to take care of

whomever when demanded by other members of the fraternity. While the idea of providing, free,

safe, rides to parties is indeed smart, the pledges have to respond to calls for driving no matter if

they already have plans, such as studying at the library, or getting in extra sleep. This isnt
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necessarily the worst form of hazing, but it does in fact go against the hazing policy of Coastal

Carolina University, by forcing members to participate in activity against their will.

Another typical act of hazing at Coastal Carolina University is being branded by fellow

members. The branding usually occurs at a party or retreats for the Greek organization. When at

a party, cigarettes are used to burn small holes into the pledges arm. These burns soon turn

necrotic, eventually leaving scars for the victim of hazing to forever have on their body. This

form of hazing occurs frequently at parties for many to see, which is why it usually isnt looked

upon in a serious light, nor reported. As for most cases of hazing on campus, students seem to

see it as typical party humor, therefore they think no further about whats truly occurring.

A Greek organization at Coastal Carolina University, just recently faced with suspension

from campus for the 2016-2017 school year until further noted is, Pi Kappa Alpha, a fraternity

better known as PIKE by students who attend Coastal. PIKE had just recently earned its spot

back on campus in 2013 after a seven-year suspension following a hazing incident, which

occurred at a party, and resulted in two students being hospitalized. In 2006, at the time when the

seven-year suspension was issued to PIKE, a sorority, by the name of Phi Sigma Sigma, whom

was present during the PIKE party, was accused of wrongdoing as well, resulting in a one-year

suspension of the organization. (Coastal Now)

Another Greek organization to face hazing allegations at Coastal Carolina University is,

the sorority, Zeta Phi Beta. In 2009, Zeta Phi Beta was suspended for five years following a

hazing incident, no specific details about the hazing were reported. Zeta Phi Beta is currently no

longer a part of Coastal Carolina University. (UPI)

In 2014, three other fraternities at Coastal Carolina were suspended as well for

allegations of hazing; Kappa Sigma, Pi Kappa Phi, and Tau Kappa Epsilon. At the time these
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fraternities were reported for questionable new member activities, and since have returned back

to campus as theyve proven better treatment of new members. At the time of the suspension, the

national website for the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity posted a notice to members stating, I want

to make it crystal clear on behalf of the leadership of Tau Kappa Epsilon, that illegal behaviors

will not be tolerated. In each of the instances, groups have been suspended pending ongoing

investigations. Members found guilty have been removed from the Fraternity. We will continue

to show the Greek World, colleges, universities, and the general public that we take every

allegation seriously and we will take immediate and appropriate action." (WMBF News) It is

clear that along with Coastal Carolina University, the national organizations for Greek

organizations have absolutely no tolerance for hazing and immediately reprimand those who

participate in the act. While the threat of suspension from campus looms over all of the Greek

organizations on the campus of Coastal Carolina University, it is still not enough to keep

organizations from participating in hazing.

Based off of the suspension and return of many of Coastal Carolina Universitys Greek

Organizations, it is clear that the consequences faced after alleged hazing are not enough to deter

students from putting a halt to hazing new members. Hazing continues to be an ongoing problem

largely due to the fact that suspension isnt a grand enough gesture to keep organizations on a

straight path.

When facing a problem, one must address it before it even occurs. This is why

implementing a required hazing seminar, class and or program before students can join a Greek

organization would be beneficial. By providing students with further knowledge about the

harmful effects of hazing, it is more likely that students will become more aware of how much
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hazing negatively affects Coastal Carolinas community as a whole. Alongside a hazing seminar,

class, or program, resources can be provided for those who have previously fallen victim to

hazing, or are currently enduring hazing. If students feel as if they have a safe place to go to

speak about hazing in confidence, and not face backlash from peers, more incidents of hazing

would be reported, and therefore organizations who participate in hazing will be suspended, thus

reducing the amount of hazing that is ongoing. It is important to acknowledge that the students

are at the root of the problem. If students can collectively learn and speak about hazing in a

positive light with mentors and peers, then there is a greater chance students will better

understand the true downfalls which hazing can incur.

Alongside a hazing seminar, eliminating the pledging process as a whole would decrease

the inclination to haze new initiate members. By having new members endure a several month

pledge process, they are immediately set up for unequal and unjust treatment. The term pledge

is one that is slowly being eradicated from the vocabulary of many Greek organizations, yet is

still widely used on the campus of Coastal Carolina University. By addressing all members the

same, whether old or new, there is no need for any member to prove themselves through the

completion of forced acts.

Many Greek life members would say that hazing is a long lived tradition that everyone

has had to endure when joining their organization of choice. Tradition is of key importance to

those who join Greek organizations. Many Greek organizations have been around for over 100

years; current members feel that they are falling short of their predecessors when not continuing

traditions such as hazing. Yet as modern times change, the organizations have to change to

accommodate them. What once was acceptable to do in a Greek organization, might no longer
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be. While hazing is a tradition upheld year after year, there is always the ability to begin new

traditions. Traditions that hold more value, and provide for more positive experiences.

Although, new members claim to bond over the trials and tribulations of hazing, there are

many other alternatives for new members to form close bonds in more suitable conditions.

Instead of having all new members endure hazing together, there is opportunity to host a first

philanthropic event where all new members can work together to prove to their elder members

that they truly care for the cause behind their organization, instead of proving their worthiness

through acts of hazing. New members could also choose to attend a weekend retreat together if

money and time permitted, where members intimately get to know one another away from the

stressors of school.

By opting not to haze, Greek organizations not only benefit themselves but Coastal

Carolina University as a whole. The true meaning behind joining a Greek organization is to

better oneself as an individual, whilst bettering the local community and world. Greek

organizations each represent a specific philanthropy, which they then raise awareness and money

for. If organizations are faced with accusations of hazing, it not only negatively reflects on the

individual organization, but the national organization as well. In order to raise awareness, Greek

organizations must establish credibility for themselves, and by doing so that means exerting the

utmost best behavior. There is already a large stigma formed around Greek organizations, one

that seems to reflect underage drinking and partying. It is in the best interest of Greek

organizations to refute this stigma by eradicating hazing and showing the amazing benefits which

Greek organizations can provide to the community. It is time to get back to the true roots of

charitable work, and the true meaning of being part of an organization that is bigger than oneself.
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The eradication of hazing would not only increase membership within Greek

organizations by lessening the fear of incoming students wishing to go Greek, but boost the

reputation of Coastal Carolina University as well. The more respectable, and esteemed the

organizations at Coastal Carolina University are, the more respectable and esteemed the

university is overall. The power to change and denote the concept of hazing is within the hands

of the current students. Change starts from within, and can only be implemented once others

realize how poorly hazing reflects on individuals, Greek organizations, and Coastal Carolina

University.
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Sunny Simounet
Professor Grefski
ENGL 102*05
April 17, 2017

Argument Based on Synthesis Proposal

In this essay, I propose to address the issue of hazing within Greek organizations on the campus
of Coastal Carolina University whilst providing alternative solutions to the problem at hand.

My project will focus strictly on hazing within Greek organizations across the United States.
What most fail to realize is how prevalent of a problem hazing truly is and the harmful effects
imposed on victims. Due to the negative attention hazing draws upon universities across the
country, it tends to be covered up, or simply handled in secrecy. Victims of hazing face self-
esteem issues, emotional, and or, physical trauma, feelings of shame, and some even choose to
withdraw their admissions from college. It is my goal to bring to light the dangerous and lasting
effects of hazing upon individuals, the causes behind hazing, and the possible solutions to deal
with the ongoing hazard.

While hazing cannot be eradicated overnight, there are several preventative steps which can be
taken to reduce the number of Greek members that are hazed. The solution I believe will be most
effective in eradicating hazing across university campuses is, posing a substantial consequence to
those who participate and or haze other members. Whether the consequence be removing those at
fault off campus, banning them from further school organizations and events, or even charging
an expensive fine, or pressing criminal charges, the universities which deal with hazing incidents
frequently need to start somewhere at handling the issue. The more lenient universities are with
punishments, the easier it will be for future individuals to lead in hazing rituals. Therefore, if
universities put a stern foot down, students will be more fearful of the consequences and choose
not to haze. If the consequences are as serious as expulsion or even criminal charge I believe the
rate of hazing will decrease. Another solution to the problem of hazing is to remove the
pledging process all together, or at least shortening the duration of the pledging process. The
pledging process encourages members to act in unfavorable ways, drives harassment, and creates
a sense for those who hold authority to bring down the hammer upon those under them. By
shortening the pledging process, many of the negative effects which accompany pledging may
decrease. A solution which might also be beneficial is, to hold frequent evaluations of
sororities/fraternities, and those which seem suspicious, or fail to uphold standard should be
punished or suspended from campus. If the environment of a Greek organization seems
unhealthy, the anonymous observer/evaluator of the organization will report back to the
university or national organization, and then implement and suggest improvements which can be
made to better the environment of the sorority/fraternity.

Some potential counterarguments to my proposed solutions might be that the consequences are
too severe, and may negatively impact their future career and or withstanding in a current
university. While others might see the act of hazing as punishable and cruel, those who
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participate and or lead in hazing rituals may not. If individuals do not see their actions as
necessarily wrong, then they will disagree with any sort of severe punishment. Another counter
argument may be that the pledging process is tradition, and to stop that would be as if a rite of
passage was eradicated. The older members of Greek organizations have all endured the
pledging process, and by not allowing them to carry out an extended pledge process on new
members they may feel shorthanded, or as if the true experience of entering a Greek organization
is taken away. Many members of Greek organizations feel that if they had to endure the horrors
of pledging, then so does everyone else as well. Lastly, a counter argument which might be faced
is that placing an anonymous observer into the organization encroaches on privacy and trust.
Many organizations like to feel a sense of power, meaning, and authority. If an undercover
observer is watching the organization's moves and waiting for a fault to occur, the organizations
might see this as unfair, or that the campus in particular is looking for an issue even if there are
no suspicions of one. The act of having someone keep a close eye on an organization lessens the
value of the relationship and trust between an organization and the university.

By eradicating hazing, all members of Greek organizations reap benefits. There is currently a
large stigma formed around Greek organizations, and many are frowned upon by outsiders.
Greek organizations are seen as hubs for underage drinking, sexual assault, hazing and so on.
The true meaning behind being a part of a Greek organization is contributing to the community,
participating in philanthropic events, bettering yourself as an individual, and becoming part of
something meaningful. Being a part of a Greek organization is supposed to draw members closer
together. While members might believe hazing is an obstacle which forces pledges to bond, there
are much better ways of doing so. Hazing is illegal, and is not permitted on college campuses. By
eradicating hazing, organizations have a better chance of creating a positive name for their
national philanthropy and campus. If an organization faces no issues of hazing, then they are
guaranteed a furthered stay on campus and participation in important events. By not participating
in hazing, students allow themselves to form more respectful, meaningful relationships, as well
as keep themselves out of trouble. By avoiding hazing incidents, students are more likely to
guarantee that they will graduate from their desired university and find a suitable career
afterwards. Not only does the eradication of hazing benefit individuals within campus
organizations but in organizations all across the country. If hazing decreases nationally, then the
reputation for Greek organizations increases. As the reputation for Greek organizations increases,
more campuses will be willing to bring upon more organizations to their campus. The rate for
students who wish to join a Greek organization will increase as well. If new students are fearful
of being hazed then they will resist being a part of a Greek organization. It is disappointing that
one issue which can be easily ended affects the true meaning behind being a part of a Greek
organization.
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Works Cited

Unknown. "Fraternity Suspended for Seven Years." Coastal.edu. Coastal Now, 24


Feb. 2006. Web. 16 Apr. 2017. <http://www.coastal.edu/coastal-now/news/news-
article/index.php?id=1308>.

Unknown. "Hidden Harm." HazingPrevention.Org. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2017.


<http://hazingprevention.org/home/hazing/hidden-harm/>.

Unknown. "Zeta Phi Beta Sisters Charged with Hazing." UPI. UPI, 03 Mar. 2011.
Web. 16 Apr. 2017. <http://www.upi.com/Zeta-Phi-Beta-sisters-charged-with-
hazing/61911299175452/>.

Staff, WMBF News. "3 Coastal Carolina University Fraternities Suspended after
Hazing Complaints." WMBF News. N.p., 25 Sept. 2014. Web. 16 Apr. 2017.
<http://www.wmbfnews.com/story/26626834/3-ccu-frats-suspended>.