minor fraternity hazing

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Question:

I need some advice on reforming minor hazing in my chapter that is really poisoning new members. As you said hazing destroys the chapter from the inside, and I fear by belittling our new members we are stunting their development into leaders and breading nothing but resentment and mistrust. I am having a hard time conveying this to all the brothers in the chapter though. Is there a tactic that worked for you or any advice you can offer to address my chapter to make them see this at my level? I believe I am one of the few with such a devotion to my fraternity and would like to find an argument to state the negative affects to the brothers so they can also see how hazing directly hurts their own fraternity experience. People need to have incentives to change habits and I am having difficulty connecting the incentive between fostering trust in new members and how this improves everyone’s time.

Answer:

This is a difficult spot to be in. There are always going to be that contingent of brothers who don’t understand what they are doing and the impact hazing has on the fraternity. And these guys are typically very bull-headed in their opinion.

Your best course of action is to take small steps in eliminating the problem. A lot of brothers will complain about a problem in the fraternity, but not many will offer an alternative solution.

Fortunately, coming up with an alternative solution probably won’t be that difficult. Chances are the events that are causing problems have low brotherhood turn-out which causes tension in the fraternity. If you can come up with a better event idea that solves that problem, you will probably get brotherhood buy-in to change. And you can eliminate the hazing in the process.

If you and the other brothers who share your opinion do this enough times, it won’t be long before your hazing problem is solved.

I hope that helps.  If anyone has additional advice on this topic, please leave a comment below.






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4 thoughts on “How Do I Stop Minor Hazing in My Fraternity?

  1. I agree with the last comment. There is a reason for a probationary period. The brothers don’t know if it is a good fit, and neither does the new member. The new members should be challenged to grow as men who will be good representatives of the fraternity. However, this should and can be done without hazing.

  2. I would have to say there should be a distinction between a pledge and brothers. brothers have mad the commitment to the ideals and values and have proven that they can represent the your letters and badge with honor. I think that most hazing is wrong so dont take my words out of context just know that a distinction should be made because they have yet to prove themselves to be man with your values why should they be allowed to wear my letters and tarnish my name in the process that is the primary concern. If you would give more details on the minor hazing i could offer concrete suggestions.

  3. Hazing can take so many different forms that it’s difficult for me to guess how to advise you–I don’t know what “minor” means. Additionally, there are some crucial details missing that would help me (and others) give advice. (Are you an officer? Do most–75% or more–brothers participate in hazing?)

    You need support. No “lone voice” will be able to correct negative behavior. In a one-on-one manner, get support from other brothers. (And, know in what ways these brothers are willing to support you.) Then, approach some of the officers one-on-one to gain their support, and let them know there are other brothers who feel the same way.

    First, know how to talk about hazing. You should become the resident expert on hazing. Know your statistics, your arguments, history, everything. However, you can’t know everything, and be ready to admit that. If a brother argues, and you don’t know how to defend yourself, don’t try to fake a defense. Second, make sure all (or many) of the officers support you. The officers will need to set the chapter tone when you have these discussions, so make sure you sit all of your officers down together to tell them your concerns. If your officers are supportive, let them do the major work.

    Third, know your organization’s values, and be ready to talk about them at length. Then, fourth, ask questions. “Why are we doing this?” is a great place to start. It’s not a rhetorical question, either. Let them answer for a bit, and refer to your values when responding to your brothers. “That doesn’t match our value of brotherhood. Don’t we say in our ritual that brotherhood . So, that (hazing activity) is not brotherhood.”

    Most often, you’ll hear a hazer (who has thought hazing out) say, “Our hazing activities 1, 2, and 3 do this, this and this. And that’s what we want our pledges to learn.” This, this, and this are often things like, “respect the actives, be on time, participate, know our organization’s history, etc.” But the response is “And is that really the best way to accomplish that?” Be ready to provide alternative solutions that achieve the same/better effect.

    Sometimes, you’ll hear that it’s a rite of passage. They’ll say something like, “It’s a part of how to get into the chapter. You have to be hazed to be worthy of being called a brother.” Absolutely not, and call it BS. A guy doesn’t become a brother because he lasted through enough hazing. A guy becomes a brother because he is a like-minded individual that shares the values, goals, and ideals of your fraternity. Pledging is not a weed-out process to get read of the weak. Pledging prepares new members for initiation by discussing the history and values often and openly.

    Benefits of not hazing: Everyone is equal. No one has the opportunity to say, “I don’t like that brother,” as a result of the hazing that brother dealt him. Brothers and pledges value your chapter more–“We didn’t have to haze them to make them do/teach them to/etc…” (There are plenty more. Consult other resources).

    “He’s a pledge.” No. He is a brother. There should be no distinction. He just hasn’t learned everything yet, and that’s ok. And it. is. no. reason. to treat him differently.

    The best thing to do is to continue seeking advice–online resources, possibly alumni, and most certainly your headquarters. A phone call to your HQ can be a great help. They’re not going to shut down your chapter; they are going to help your chapter correct its problem. And trust me, the HQ will definitely understand that every chapter’s hazing is different, and they know to handle each situation differently.

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