Organizations Take Care to Avoid Hazing Tag
Published: Friday, January 31, 2014
Updated: Friday, January 31, 2014 02:01
In early December, The George Washington University’s Greek system was discredited when their Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity chapter was evicted from their townhouse, facing damage and defacement charges as well as hazing sanctions from the national AEPi chapter, subsequently raising questions regarding rush rituals and hazing in Greek life at Georgetown.
Georgetown, unlike GW, does not recognize Greek life on campus, but the fraternities must comply with the university’s policies on hazing.
“Hazing, defined as ‘any ritual of membership that demeans, humiliates, injures or weakens a student or otherwise interferes with the pursuit of education by a student’ is expressly prohibited in the Student Organization Standards,” Center for Student Engagement Director Erika Cohen Derr said.
Derr also states that the consequences to hazing reports are very serious.
“Student organizations accused of hazing members would be investigated and sanctioned under this policy. Individual students involved could also be held accountable to the Student Code of Conduct.” Derr said.
These consequences regularly encourage the few Greek groups on the Hilltop to address hazing. Sigma Alpha Epsilon, the nation’s oldest fraternity, but relatively new to Georgetown, makes a conscious effort to prevent any form of hazing, according to Carter Rise (COL ’17), a newly-initiated fraternity brother.
Instead of hazing, SAE highly values team-building and bonding with its pledges.
“At its core, [pledging] is a program designed to make you best friends with the guys in your pledge class and make you brothers for life,” Rise said.
Apart from lunches with brothers and bonding activities, brothers also must learn the history of the organization.
“The main component of our pledgeship is pledge education, which is learning about being true gentlemen” Rise said.
Alpha Kappa Psi, Georgetown’s co-ed business fraternity, also avoids any form of hazing. Member Ryan Ackert (MSB ’17) described the personal nature of the fraternity pledge process.
“As a pledge, we were all required to interview each active brother.” Ackert said. “It was really nice because you obviously got to meet people you see around on a pretty personal level. You had some really great conversations.” Each pledge had to speak with 85 brothers.
AKPsi holds itself to a high standard of conduct due to its professional affiliations. In addition to interviews, pledges are also required to wear business attire on Mondays and a pledge pin at all times.
“The upperclassmen were all really invested, always asking me about my classes, how I was doing, they even helped me plan my schedule for this semester,” Ackert said.
B-Frat, short for “business fraternity” but unaffiliated with AKPsi, is known to have a grueling initiation process. Although members declined to comment on the initiation process, recent pledge Andrew Guido (MSB ’17) was adamant that the organization is hazing free.
“I wouldn’t call it hazing at all. There was nothing that I had to do that jeopardized my health or put any strain on me,” Guido said. B-Frat’s initiation traditions differ very little from other fraternities, and Guido’s perspective on the fraternity’s reputation suggests the same loyalty and pride that Ackert and Rise feel. He, too, praised the process.
“Everything we did was in good fun. It’s not anything forced on you. We were told to let anyone know if we felt uncomfortable,” Guido said.
Sigma Phi Epsilon President Matt Hamblin (COL ’15) makes sure to incorporate respect and the ethos of Georgetown in his efforts to prevent hazing.
“Fostering a community of respect is a big way we prevent hazing, fostering respect for brothers and the community at large, for men and women, and that culture doesn’t leave any space for the kind of person who would want to humiliate or inflict pain on someone to feel powerful,” Hamblin said.
The SigEp recruitment process is a year-long process, with a three-week initial moratorium on the incorporation of alcohol into programming.
“Our cycle is about two things: showing the recruits who we are and what we stand for and us getting to know them. We are infinitely more about the character of a guy than how much he can drink,” Hamblin said.
This dry period lessens the chance of hazing.
“I think we’ve had success [preventing hazing] on campus as a fraternity because we have been different and because we have thought to incorporate Georgetown’s ethos and Jesuit values into what we do,” Hamblin said.
As for Georgetown’s AEPi, president Josh Milgrom (MSB ’15) simplified the concern for hazing at AEPi, especially in light of the chapter’s recent issues at GWU.
“I will say that AEPi is a non-hazing fraternity and our chapter at Georgetown takes this policy very seriously. Hazing does not accomplish anything and is not in line with the goals and values of our fraternity,” Milgrom said.
The hazing-free policy is also a point of pride for Georgetown’s sororities. The Delta Phi Epsilon sorority, with a mission to encourage foreign service for the women at Georgetown, has no tolerance for hazing.
“We feel strongly against the concept of hazing. To us, the pledge process is supposed to be a positive experience, not one to humiliate or to make pledges uncomfortable,” DPE recruitment chair Diandre Sheridan (MSB ’15) said. “DPE chooses to prevent hazing through highlighting the fostering of meaningful relationships among pledges and sisters and teaching the principles that DPE stands for.”
Kappa Kappa Gamma declined to comment due to their new involvement on campus, and Adelfi could not be reached for comment.