In a haze

The "Scenes of Hazing", as portrayed...

The “Scenes of Hazing”, as portrayed in an early student yearbook of the Massachusetts Agricultural College. Circa 1879. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m listening to yet another call in show on hazing and once again am disgusted and mystified. In an advanced society such as ours, I find it unconscionable that hazing still exists, and in fact, that is has ever existed. How does hazing even make sense? A young student wants to make friends and join a particular group. Current group members taunt, harass, embarrass, injure, torture and sometimes kill the new member. At the end of a certain period of time, they stop this process and say “now you can be our friend.” I fail to see a) why anyone would want to be friends with these kind of people,and how they could possibly have a valid friendship after the way they were treated, and b) how this barbaric system persists, especially in academia, where, students (and parents) pay  large sums  of money to attend, and in the military, where service persons in life and death situations should be working as teammates. Hazers are small-minded insecure people, who only feel good when they are making other people feel bad. Why anyone would want to join others of this mindset is beyond my comprehension.

How can we stop hazing? Apparently no one really knows, as this practice persists, despite universities’  so-called attempts to end it, and despite deaths, serious injuries and expensive lawsuits.

I don’t pretend to know the answer to this perplexing problem. My best suggestion is to punish institutions that allow hazing by withholding money.  Alumni and university donors should withhold donations from institutions with known hazing occurring, and make known to administrators why they are declining to donate. If serious injury, lawsuits and death will not stop hazing, maybe money will.

© Huffygirl 2012

24 thoughts on “In a haze

    • Exactly Gilly. I don’t know if you have fraternities and sororities in your universities there, but it’s quite common here. I’m continually amazed that this custom persists.

    • Good for him. I find it even more barbaric that we dress up these hazing groups with a nice name like “the Greek system” as if they are some special, elevated people of high ideals.

    • Thanks Lexiesnana. I wasn’t sure what kind of a response I’d get from this, but so far it’s been positive. Apparently many people actually support and encourage hazing as a necessary rite of passage, which I fail to comprehend.

      • Me too.I believe you treat people the way you want to be treated,and that goes for being admitted in anything.I wonder how people get a possitive experience in something like this.I woory for my grandkids and hope they never come across actions like that.Thanks again for the post.

  1. I often play devil’s advocate with myself to try and figure things out. So I tried to think of some plausible reason for hazing and couldn’t. Not one.

    I suspect this practice came from when universities were first started and it mattered if members could handle themselves well under physical pressure. However, when this need disappeared the ritual remained for so long that no one has any idea of where it came from.

    I like the idea of withholding money from universities. That would bring down some tough anti-hazing laws, I bet.

    • I hope so Sandra. If logical people cannot come up with a plausible reason for hazing, there probably isn’t one. I’ve thought about it too – maybe it had something to do with class systems – especially the so-called “Greek system” has always implied exclusivity, and the groups seem to think they are higher class than others. So I suppose the hazing ritual could lead to bonding, something they all have gone through to enter that higher class. But that is still not a good reason to do it. It’s just a way to legitimatize bullying.

  2. What is wrong with our society! It is sad that we have people hazing others, young people bullying others, spouses abusing their mates, road rage, rapes, and so many of these ending in death. God help us!

    • It absolutely is Angelia. The victim in the story I cited was the drum major in a college marching band, the person who should be respected as the student leader. Then the university has the audacity to blame the victim in response to the lawsuit. Unconscionable.

    • It absolutely is Angelia. The victim in the story I cited was the drum major in a college marching band, the person who should be respected as the student leader. Then the university has the audacity to blame the victim in response to the lawsuit. Unconscionable.

  3. I don’t even remember hearing the word but do remember hearing about the tactics in terms of military and uniformed services eg fire, police (in UK).

    There was no question of that when I went to university (again UK) 30 years ago.

  4. Hi, Donna. We had a situation in Australia recently where this was happening in the navy. Young naval officers were being ‘hazed’ on naval ships and when one of them put in a complaint the answer was – ‘but we’ve always done it like that. It’s part of our culture!’ That’s when others came out of the woodwork and said it had also happened to them (leaving them with long-term psychological issues).

    My thinking is there is no ‘culture’ in it whatsoever. It’s outright bullying and should be treated as such and outlawed.

    Great post 🙂

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