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Hazing

Why Hazing Doesn't Work Continued

Listed below are some of the traditional hazing practices and the negative consequences they are likely to produce. If you need reasons why hazing is inappropriate, the following should help:

Note: Various terms have been introduced to replace the term "pledge" which is most commonly associated with hazing practices. Some of these alternatives include "new member," "associate member," etc. The term "pledge" is used in the following description because it remains a commonly used and easily identifiable term.
I. ACTIVITY:
Push-ups, shouting, and/or public embarrassment - used individually.
PURPOSE:
Generally used for disciplinary purposes -- to punish or "shape up" pledges (new members etc.) who are perceived to be dragging down the group or have been disrespectful.
NEGATIVE REACTIONS:
a. Can lead to a temporary suppression of the problem. Once the pledge is initiated, will s/he continue to perform in the best interests of the chapter? In most cases, when the kick in the rear end stops, so will the work.
b. Will not allow the cause of the problem--if one exists, to surface. At times the pledge has a legitimate complaint which would be in the chapter's best interest to hear.
c. Could lead to the voluntary de-pledging of an individual who might otherwise become one of the top members of the chapter, this being a loss no chapter can afford.
d. Possible physical injury - many people have physical weaknesses of which sometimes even they are unaware. If injury occurs, current officers, the university, and the organization can be sued and held liable.


II. ACTIVITY:
The same activities described in Part I, but used on the pledge class as a whole.
PURPOSE:
As a disciplinary exercise for the pledge class as a whole.
NEGATIVE REACTIONS:
In addition to all those listed above under Part I:
a. Can create the attitude that pledgeship is a hardship, not an educational period, and that initiation is the end of one's work for the organization instead of the beginning. This can create a general lack of participating and/or interest in the membership.
b. Can lead to the dissatisfaction and possible de-pledging of individuals opposed to this type of discipline. These can, oftentimes, be some of the top individuals.


III. ACTIVITY:
Excessive physical or mental demands, on the pledge group as a whole.
PURPOSE:
To instill pledge class unity.
NEGATIVE REACTIONS:
a. In addition to the same negative reactions noted in Part 11, this system can be so successful in instilling pledge group unity that, in fact, four separate units are created within the chapter, and a true chapter does not exist.


IV. ACTIVITY:
Pre-initiation or "Hell" weeks with strenuous and excessive programs and events, physical and mental.
PURPOSE:
a. To create a climax to the pledge program, and develop a true appreciation of initiation.
b. To unify the pledge class for the last time.
NEGATIVE REACTIONS:
a. The pledge is in fact glad to be initiated, not so much for the honor of the event, but for the right to be finished with the work. In this instance, the climax really arrives when the pre-initiation week ends, not when initiation begins. This is another way of strengthening the idea, that, "Boy, I'm glad pledgeship is over because now my work ends" instead of the realization that this is just the beginning of one's commitment to chapter membership.
b. In programs with a lack of sufficient sleep and strenuous activities designed to make the pledge less cognizant of what is really happening, the new initiate can be robbed of the true meaning and appreciation of the formal ceremony. Also, as scholarship is supposed to have priority, these programs can in fact be very detrimental to one's academic achievement.
c. If the chapter needs this week to unify its pledge class, it points to a flaw in the regular pledge program, as this should already have been accomplished.

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