Editor’s note: U of A made the right choice

By Heather Scroering

I’ve been to my fair share of frat parties and have always been both fascinated and perplexed with Greek life. Being inside a fraternity is risky business, like a menagerie or  cesspool of potential Darwin Award winners.

I’m inclined to believe that being in a fraternity probably makes you an asshole—the kind who might creatively funnel beer, not unlike the frat boys at the University of Tennessee who crafted efficient apparatuses to consume their alcoholic beverages via out-hole to achieve

optimal inebriation.

But a lot of the shenanigans that go on in fraternities and on college campuses in general are a result of something more serious—hazing.

A recent incident at the University of Alabama prompted the administration to freeze pledgeship for fraternities on Oct. 18 because of several hazing reports. This astonished me, because I’ve always thought college administrators often turned a blind eye to that sort of thing, unless someone died. I came to this conclusion when Dartmouth College student Andrew Lohse detailed hazing allegations in January. The college didn’t even respond to them at first because he couldn’t provide proof.

U of A has a hazing hotline  that the college says has been used by several students anonymously to make allegations.

That a college even needs a hazing hotline raises concerns, but I’m not surprised. Hazing is always popping up in the news after a prank gone wrong costs someone’s life. But I can’t understand why this is a recurring problem.

While I do know that fraternity rush is supposed to be a fun test for new recruits to see if they can stand up to the demands of the brotherhood, the games always seem to end horribly.

By traditional fraternity standards, frat dudes are supposed to be some of the most upstanding specimens of the male race. But apparently they can’t learn from their own Hellenic history.

The first anti-hazing law was implemented in the 1890s at Cornell University after some students pulled a prank by releasing chlorine gas into a dining hall at a campus function for freshmen. The gas drifted into the kitchen, mixed with the gases from the stove and killed the cook.

More recently, Matthew Carrington died in 2005 when a hazing ritual involving a routine of chugging water and doing sit ups led to a  brain hemorrhage from water intoxication. Out of this situation came California’s “Matt’s Law” that authorizes prosecution when someone dies from hazing.

But without fail, every year brings another hazing incident. Hazing shouldn’t be taken lightly. U of A made a smart choice by halting pledging to control hazing.

Clearly, students can’t be responsible adults by thinking about how their tricks could potentially hurt someone. It’s about time colleges start paying attention to the abuses of hazing before someone dies, rather than after.