Opinion: Hazing is Absolutely Never OK When It’s Happening to Me
Each and every fall across the country, a new crop of freshmen arrive at their new schools, eager to begin their quintessential college experience and find a home away from home. They join clubs and sports teams, apply for campus organizations, and pledge Greek life with hopes to fit in and find friends as they are brought into these groups. As many know, becoming a part of such organizations can be accompanied something that frequently occurs behind the scenes: hazing. Hazing can take many forms, but it is often associated with excessive alcohol consumption and/or humiliating tasks for the new members to complete. Regardless of how it happens, though, the practice of initiation through hazing is absolutely never ok when it’s happening to me. Now, many people may object to this viewpoint, arguing that milder forms of these rituals can be fun bonding experiences that are not unsafe. Granted, it is possible that certain types of hazing, specifically those in which other people are the subjects, may have value in terms of building community. However, we must ensure with total confidence that these activities never escalate to the point where I am the one being hazed, as that is something that we absolutely cannot tolerate.
I am proud to have been a part of efforts this year to eradicate the practice of hazing me, and have even led progressive initiatives to direct hazing events at the new members of the groups I am a part of on campus. It is important to remember, though, that we are only a little more than a year removed from a time when the hazing me was normal part of our social culture here.
Over the last 12 months I have gained positions of greater authority within my organizations, which puts me in a position to create change and lead by example. For the remainder of my time at Northwestern I promise to do all that I can to ensure that any initiation rituals that occur are never again directed towards me. I only hope that future groups I join will follow my lead.