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Volume 68, Issue 151, Wednesday, June 25, 2003


Hazing should be stopped

Samira Zaidi
Opinion Columnist

Ah, the joys of college and those first steps into freshman land, those strides into freedom and the leaps into trying to fit in.

Sadly with those leaps and bounds awaits another world -- one filled with the brutal reality of hazing and initiation rites, often consisting of humiliating acts and physical abuse.

The Houston Chronicle reported on Monday that Texas A&M University was facing "one of the largest disciplinary actions" in its history, as a long practiced tradition of "passing the pots" was under scrutiny as possible hazing, which could mean criminal charges for those involved.

Members of the A&M Parsons Mounted Cavalry complete an initiation rite that includes swats with an ax handle. Older cadets give the whacks to those who will replace them in building the annual bonfire, mostly underclassmen.

While school officials are busy bringing charges, and denying they knew anything about it, some students have filed a lawsuit against the university, saying officials are only now publicly disapproving of a tradition they have privately accepted for decades.

Other critics say A&M is speaking out about these rites of passage abuses only because it wants to change its image.

Initiation rites have been practiced since the beginning of time for a variety of organizations. Fraternities and sororities have been under fire for repulsive hazing practices, including locking pledges in the trunk of a car, beating them with sticks to being forced to guzzle down beer until they pass out. Some pledges even die in an effort to fit in.

An Illinois high school was in the limelight for hazing committed in an end-of-the-year powder puff football game. The game involved graduating seniors and juniors entering their senior year.

School officials denied any responsibility because the game took place off campus, but even parents are standing by their children.

You think college hazing is bad, these high school seniors -- all girls -- made the juniors sit in feces, dirt and paint as they poured buckets on top of them. The juniors were then kicked and beaten, even by boys drinking beer who were just watching.

Some girls had to get stitches because they were beaten and some had concussions.

The school administration is now taking action against those girls who perpetrated the acts, keeping high school diplomas in exchange for counseling and community service.

Some say that if students want to be beaten and humiliated just so they can join an organization, then why not let them? 

I couldnit possibly understand why someone would feel so honored by being beaten just so they could be a part of some group.

Whatever happened to an interview? Or just showing your dedication by helping the group? Paying dues? Why have some groups stooped so low that their rites include physical bodily harm?

It is disappointing to see that those in institutions of higher learning subject others to such rites of passage that are not only humiliating but lead to physical abuse.

Zaidi, a senior communication major, can be reached


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