Elon administration correctly cracks down on hazing

Editorial published in the print edition of Elon University’s student-run newspaper, The Pendulum, on November 19, 2014.

Elon University’s recent suspension of the Epsilon Theta chapter of Sigma Pi has been an important decision in upholding policies against hazing.

Too often, the concept of Greek Life becomes synonymous with the hazing of pledges. Often, hazing is not reported, causing rumors to circulate. While hazing is sometimes excused as tradition, it can be an incredibly dangerous practice.

Elon has chosen the correct course of action. The university’s administration should be stopping these incidents before they go too far. While this could be an isolated incident, the decision broadcasts that reporting an incident leads to action being taken and may encourage potential hazing victims to speak up.

In the past year, there have been many hazing-related incidents at other universities that have led to dire consequences. Just last Thursday, all fraternities and sororities at West Virginia University were suspended after a first-year student was found unconscious in a fraternity house, allegedly as a result of hazing.

On Oct. 9, Elon police filed an incident report on alleged hazing of Sigma Pi pledges. The report stated that three male students were “forced to plank on bottle caps.”

Effective as of Nov. 11, Jana Lynn Patterson, associate vice president for student life, has upheld the suspension of Sigma Pi. The fraternity will be suspended until spring 2017, and members currently living in the on-campus house will have to find alternate housing for Winter and Spring Terms. Their charter has also been revoked, which means it is not recognized as a fraternity on campus.

These sanctions are essential to break harmful practices that happen behind closed doors. Smith Jackson, vice president for student life and dean of students, said, “Hazing is not unique to these organizations. We want to address it for the student body. We want to re-emphasize policies we have because it’s just not tolerable on campus.”

According to Sigma Pi International’s website, their official motto is, “A new generation of leaders.” The organization is also based on the principles of friendship, leadership, citizenship and distinction. Hazing does not lend itself to any of these principles, and “a new generation of leaders” should not be taught that brotherhood comes from violent hazing practices.

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