Campuses covered in a cloud of haze

What would you do if you, or if’ someone else you knew, was forced to endure embarrassing, degrading, abusive and potentially life-threatening activities?’ Would you speak up?

According to, a team of researchers from the University of Maine conducted an extensive survey in 2008, consisting of 53 campuses nationwide, where they found that 55 percent of all undergraduates asked admitted to coming into contact with some form of hazing in a campus club, organization or team.’ The study stated that, while it was reported that hazing was occurring within some ‘Greek-letter organizations, the research also reveals the presence of hazing in other student groups including varsity athletics, club sports, intramural teams, military groups, recreation clubs, fraternities and sororities and other groups students elected to identify separately.’

Hazing is counter-productive, dangerous and unnecessary. Common justifications for hazing consist of:’ it creates a stronger ‘group first’ mentality, members have to ‘earn their keep’ within the organization, and it weeds out those who ‘really want it.’ Unfortunately, the data revealed that ‘the positive results of hazing were more often cited by students than the negative results. For example 31 percent of the time students said they felt like more a part of the group while they felt stressed 11 percent of the time.’ There are safer, more productive alternatives to all of these arguments. Alternatives would help to create a stronger group dynamic, as well as to promote good-will within the organization or team rather than to cause hostility and resentment.

In order to create a stronger group identity, shouldn’t everyone like each other? Personally, it seems so much more productive to participate in group activities that promote good-will, camaraderie and push everyone to reach for a common goal. Why not learn more about the organization or club together? Why not teach teammates tricks and drills in a mentor-type relationship?’ There are so many things that could be done to keep things positive!

The notion that a person has to endure painful and humiliating experiences in order to truly be a part of something is ridiculous. Why would someone have to ‘earn’ the right to be a part of something in such a horrifying way? Don’t dues and time count for anything?’ What about the effort that a person puts into practicing?’

Also, hazing cannot weed out those who ‘truly want it.’ Actually, hazing will probably drive away some potentially great members. The fact that a person has shown interest in your organization shows that they want to be there.

Hazing is a problem among campuses everywhere, and, unfortunately, ours has recently seen its own form of this brutality.’ Hopefully, we can slowly eradicate this harmful and foolishly useless activity from the world. Anything that makes you or someone you love feel worthless for the sake of someone else is morally wrong.

Just think, this could potentially happen to your children. It could be happening to your best friend or family member. It takes just one person to speak up to warrant an investigation and those who hurt others deserve to be punished to the full extent of the law.