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Hazing: let’s not start now

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We’ve all seen those comedies about college life. Most of them go something like this: an average-looking, World-of-Warcraft-loving, terrified-of-talking-to-girls but likeable-enough freshman guy moves into the dorms.

His endearingly messy, quarterback-turned-stoner roommate convinces him to join a fraternity ”because, like, it’ll be lit, bro!”

Sure enough, with a little help from protein, pastel mid-thigh shorts, “brotherly” discipline from older members, and of course, some good old fashioned alcohol poisoning, the innocent, geeky freshman is transformed into a “Frat God” during his adventurous first year away from home.

Hilarious, right?

Sure. It’s lighthearted. Goofy. Relatable. Part of the college experience. Everyone laughs.

I get it. But that cute, coming-of-age narrative so often veils a dark, twisted truth: Hazing in Greek culture is anything but harmless.

The recent disciplinary probation of a Wichita State fraternity for hazing should remind students just why these rituals should never be tolerated on our campus.

A study done by Alfred University reports that at least one death has occurred from hazing every year since 1970.

Countless others are injured or hospitalized as a result of hazing rituals. Hazing also trivializes and demeans the authentic values that Greek organizations are founded upon, thus perpetuating stereotypes that harm the reputation of such organizations on college campuses across the country.

Things like this don’t usually happen at Wichita State. Ask any Greek student, and most will tell you that sororities and fraternities are different here than at other, larger universities.

Chapters are smaller, and members are generally friendly and positive toward each other, regardless of house. If hazing has been an issue at WSU in the past, chapters have at least done a better job of keeping it a secret.

So, what’s the deal? Is the culture changing at Wichita State? You betcha.

The recent re-branding of WSU as a school for traditional students has transformed the Shocker experience.

Wichita State has made itself more appealing to a wider range of potential students, recruiting students who, three years ago, may have opted to go to Kansas State or the University of Kansas instead.

Shockers, in the past, have typically been commuters, transfer students, adult learners, and basically anyone looking to get their degree and get out without paying an arm and a leg for the extra fluff. Not that there’s anything wrong with the fluff – it’s just typically part of a different college experience, catering to a different type of student. Now, Wichita State is bridging that gap.

But I digress. My point is this: It’s up to the members of Greek student organizations to remain vigilant against hazing in their chapters so that Greek life at Wichita State can continue being an outstanding exception to the stereotype.

Hazing is dangerous, unhealthy, inconsiderate and downright irresponsible. Shockers are better than that. Fraternity and sorority members should foster growth in diversity and spirit within their chapters.

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