BY THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Published May 6, 2012
On college campuses all across the United States, hazing has traditionally played an important role in being initiated into Greek life. Yet hazing has recently become more widespread as student organizations and sports teams have begun to copy this practice as well. Ranging from the marching band to the football team, hazing has a prominent place in college life now more than ever before. It not only leads to death and drunken injuries but also breaks down one’s self-confidence and self-worth. College officials need to enforce anti-hazing policies to ensure that students from all different groups on campus aren’t hazing new members in order to consider them a part of their organization, and students need to be well aware that hazing is not an acceptable practice under any circumstance.
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On May 2, 13 students were charged for being involved in the death of Robert Champion, a drum major in the Florida A&M University marching band. Champion died last November after a long night of hazing rituals, which covered his body in cuts and bruises. According to the Huffington Post, Champion’s attorney Christopher Chestnut stated, “Ultimately, the case shows how deeply hazing is entrenched in the culture at FAMU.” Many people, including Champion’s mother, have publicly disagreed with the charges, claiming they didn’t go far enough.
Hazing needs to be taken seriously and is a real and dangerous problem across college campuses today. Not only are Greek life members partaking in these rituals, but students in other campus organizations are as well. Campus officials need to step in to ensure that anti-hazing policies aren’t being violated and are taken seriously by students. Hazing is illegal in 44 states, including Michigan, and strict anti-hazing policies are in place to promote a safe and healthy community among Greek life members and other student groups on campus. Campus officials, however, need to see to it that these policies are being adhered to in all areas of campus and enforce them if necessary.
Hazing isn’t necessary to have a “real” undergraduate experience. Students shouldn’t be subjected to extreme measures simply to become a part of a group or organization. Hazing does not take into account individuals’ past experiences, their threshold for pain or their tolerance for alcohol. Not only does it create an extremely dangerous atmosphere, it also leads to psychological effects that can scar students for life.
Hazing is a dehumanizing concept that has been instilled in college culture across the country. Many assume it is a practice reserved for Greek life, and thus any other organization will not haze, even if they actually do. But studies of more than 11,000 students have revealed that 74 percent of students on varsity athletic teams have been hazed, and 56 percent of students in performing arts organizations claim the same. Hazing is defined as “subjection to harassment or ridicule.” Students must realize that this can happen anywhere.
Hazing is not only dehumanizing and destructive, but it could also lead to feelings of worthlessness and crush one’s self-confidence. The University must crack down on its anti-hazing policies to ensure a safe community for all groups on campus. As Michigan students, we need to realize that subjecting each other to these horrendous measures is completely unnecessary and simply degrading.