Hazing Prevention

Opposed To Hazing

Opposed To Hazing

Delta Chi is opposed to hazing. We wish we could say that it doesn’t “work.” Unfortunately, it often does. Although the Stockholm syndrome and even cognitive dissonance come to mind, there is no sense in trying to debate why here. Suffice it to say that it simply has far too many negative side effects. True, minor hazing does not have the same risks as major hazing does. Whatever “minor” or “major” means. The problem with hazing is the paradigm it is based on. Until that is corrected, it will only continue. And it will probably get worse!

Let’s use the analogy of a man who considers women to be sex objects. Put him in a work environment that has a number of women. Over time, his paradigm will result in certain behaviors that will lead to problems. Most likely, ending in his being terminated. There are bound to be certain behaviors to which some of the women react positively. Or at least appear to do so. However, others will take offense. Now, is it the ladies who take offense who are in the wrong? How about those who seemed to react positively to “minor” sexually implied behaviors? Where does it stop? If a particular woman is fearful of losing her job and does not report the behavior is she at fault? Is she the problem?

If hazing is how we teach respect and love, should individuals haze their fiancé or fiancée? How about making them shine our shoes? How many pushups will convince us that they love us? Maybe having them eat some concoction until they puke will endear us to them. If all that sounds wrong, then you get the point. Whether it is marriage or brotherhood, we are talking about a lifelong relationship. Why do we think hazing is right in one case and wrong in the other? One more thought. How about our Founders? Delta Chi’s 11 Founders were not hazed. Are they individually any less of a Delta Chi because of that? How about at the chapter level? Are those Founders not “real” Delta Chis? To say in response that what they experienced was a form of hazing is simply wrong thinking and a disservice to them. To say that they did something meaningful begs the question of why can’t the current associate members be given something meaningful to accomplish instead of simply being abused? In plain words, fraternity is about nurturing brotherhood, not testing it.

For those who are opposed to hazing, you are in the right. While we can honestly empathize with your frustration and disenchantment, we can only ask you to realize that real brotherhood is truly wondrous and worth standing up for. In every chapter there are the good guys, the bad guys and the swing team. For whatever reason, the bad guys seem to always have the loudest voices and the most forceful personalities. All too often, the good people walk or are driven away and leave the chapter in the hands of what can reasonably be called the “dark side of the force.”

Start working with the other good guys in your chapters. Develop/refine your position with those who agree. Use points like the ones I made up and add more. Bad habits can only be broken by replacing them with good habits. Leaving a void (stopping hazing without doing something in its place) won’t work. Talk to the swing team and win them over one at a time. Surprisingly, some of the “bad guys” are really swing teamers in disguise. This will not be an easy process. Especially when you get to the point where the hard-core bad guys have to be confronted. They have spent a lifetime honing their bullying and persuasion skills. You probably have not. Then you will have to collectively stand your ground. You are more of a fraternity man than they are. They have truly acted in direct opposition to the very values to which they have given lip service and are false to what they claim to value.

The number one characteristic we have to change is that initiation far too often signals the end of an effort rather than its beginning. Initiated members should work harder than any of the AMs at making their chapter and their fraternity better. Who should care more than them? If they are not, then the role model they are providing is a major, self-perpetuating problem. People support that which they help create. They also support that which they have done themselves. To ask your chapter to change is a hard thing to do. Some of the older members will have a hard time supporting something new. In response to that, here are two points:

  1. If hazing had never existed in the Greek system and someone came along and suggested that the youth of our society needed to be abused in order to truly respect their “elders” and to truly value being an “elder” one day, would you expect that idea to be met with open arms? Human nature resists the concept of change. The four stages of change: a. Euphoria – “Things are going to be better!!”, b. Doubt – “This doesn’t ‘feel’ right, I’m not so sure about this.” This phase is where most people cut and run for the “comfort” of the known, albeit failing system. We simply are willing to put out more effort to stay in a known but bad situation than to venture into a better but unknown one, c. Role playing – We go through the motions and pretend to have a full understanding of what the new situation is like, and d. New equilibrium – We internalize the new situation. We “learn” it.
  2. If the current system is so “right” and so “effective”, why do so many go “inactive” (either in fact or in spirit)? What is our “batting average” for keeping a member truly involved for four years? Are we doing a good job of meeting their needs? If not, that may be why they keep leaving. When someone does leave, we usually label him as “deadwood” or simply say something like, “They need to focus on their grades so they can get a better job.” I truly believe we are lying to ourselves and refusing to see the reality of the situation. Somehow, we need to change that.

On www.deltachi.org we have “Building Better Brotherhood,” “The Party Continues” and other resources. How about asking each member (initiated and associate alike) to find one idea that can help make your chapter better? If your initiates aren’t willing to make the effort, then that should tell you something about the true “effectiveness” of the current program.