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List of Letters

Title Publication Date
Hazing Policies Are Too Hazy  CENTRAL FLORIDA FUTURE (ONLINE)   
Fraternities Seek New Members During Spring Rush  LOUISVILLE CARDINAL, KENTUCKY (ONLINE)   
Milk-Drinking Incident Ruled Not Hazing  WEB DEVIL, ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY   
The Bellmore-Merrick Central District's nearly 90-member Committee on Promoting Character, Civility and Social Responsibility will not look to the past, only to the future.  HERALD COMMUNITY, BELLMORE-MERICK, NEW YORK   
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My Big Fat Greek Lie
February 15, 2005
Everyone involved in greek life is playing a big ol' game of pretend. On one side of the playground, we've got University officials pretending that social fraternities and sororities don't host bacchanal parties – that pledging isn't anything but a semester of naughty, secret hazing. On the other side of the playground (by the jungle gym), members of greek life are pretending that their frat houses are cathedrals of service, charity and virtue and that hazing is just an old wives' tale. Never mind that hundreds of pledges prance around campus like Matrix drones. We've all seen pledges dressed in matching militant outfits, walking in scary syncopation, refusing to speak words from their scowls except to bark cult-like frat propaganda in public places like the dining halls. Or the sorostitutes uncomfortably wearing bunny outfits and faithfully taking up residence at Denny's in the wee hours of the morning making tedious arts and crafts. And we've all smelled the foul and dirty bodies of pledges who are prohibited from showering or changing their clothes during hell week. This isn't a playground. This is a madhouse. We've turned greek life advisers into Casablanca's Captain Renault who is shocked, shocked to find there's hazing (and parties) going on here. Suspension and probation are like the silly merry-go-round of Binghamton greek life. A good majority of greek organizations have been punished for hazing, wet parties, etc. Thus is the state of greek life at Binghamton. Brothers and sisters do what greek organizations do and get off and on the merry-go-round. Their existence turns merely on their ability to avoid getting caught. The University is sending a schizophrenic message. They come out strong that hazing is wrong. Period. Yet they not only sponsor organizations whose physical constitution is to break them. Two weeks ago, President DeFleur dedicated a club room in the new Events Center for Tau Alpha Upsilon, whose alumni raised $280,000. Tau Alpha Upsilon itself was in trouble during its heyday. Yet one of the displays proudly shown off by President DeFleur at the dedication was a hagiographic showcase to pledging. Go up a few paragraphs and see what pledging at Binghamton (and at almost every campus in the United States) constitutes. We don't know if TAU hazed (not that there's anything wrong with that), but most people would agree that frats haze. Let's get real. Greek life is inextricably a part of college life. Not even just for the people who choose to join fraternities and sororities. Frat parties are mainstays of college social life where people go to have fun and meet each other at a university. The easiest cop-out is to blame the University for revoking AEPi's charter. How can officials be asked to brook extreme misconduct when it's brought to their attention? Anyone can form a club or a gang. But if you want the University to allow you to recruit, meet and operate in its facilities, you need to follow the rules. Otherwise (at least in theory) the Bloods could roll into town and demand to reserve a room in the University Union's South Lounge. Nevertheless, it's unfair for the university to sponsor an organization knowing full well what really goes on with parties, rush and pledging. Rules become limp when they're unenforced. The editors of this paper couldn't arrive at a solution during our discussion other than to say that everyone's happy playing pretend. We're not saying greek life is bad. A good number of our staff are in fraternities and sororities and most of us have gone to dozens of frat parties and enjoyed them. The rule, it seems, is only to take steps not to get caught doing what everyone knows greek organizations do. Wink. [noindent]Letter to the Pipe Dream: Congratulations to the entire editorial staff for being the first to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Hazing articles are increasing, as are hazardous hazing events. Everyone – administrators, coaches, fraternity and sorority leaders and members, as well as bystanders and victims – is afraid to speak. The code of silence is so strong that some have lost their lives, and all are afraid of losing their insurance! Hazing may never end, but hazardous hazing, institutionally supported hazing, and the fear of telling the truth must end. [noindent]Dr. Susan Lipkins