October 16, 2002

'Pro-Brotherhood' Seeks to End Hazing

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The “Pro-Brotherhood” Partnership has been created to focus on developing new member programs within fraternities that eliminate hazing. The Committee brings together Interfraternity Council (IFC) members, chapter members, alumni, staff and faculty. Through education and compliance programs, the partnership hopes to end hazing by changing the organization and culture of fraternities.

With more reported cases of hazing and the closing of several University fraternities in the past two years, more attention has been drawn to the issue.

“Until recently, hazing was not an issue that was discussed openly in the Greek System. We have laid the issue out on the table for the entire community to see, and we are working hard to deal with the problem,” said Jason Conn ’03, president of IFC.

The “Pro-Brotherhood” Partnership will be a two-part program that first educates fraternity members on how to develop non-hazing activities. Discussions will follow concerning the purposes and collective values of each fraternity.

Possibilities for how fraternity brothers can change their activities to be consistent with their values will also be explored. The educational part of the program is designed for both chapters that have and have not been caught hazing. Faculty and staff will often facilitate this meetings.

“I think it’s 100 percent necessary … we are students and we make mistakes. [Staff and faculty] don’t hold our hands, but offer guidance,” said Rich Goldman ’03, the new member educator of Pi Kappa Alpha.

The second part is a three-year compliance program which forces chapters to review and reorganize their new member program. Any violations committed during participation in the compliance program can lead to immediate loss of University recognition.

The program is intended to “help chapters examine [their] values around brotherhood,” said Suzy Nelson, associate dean of students for fraternity and sorority affairs.

According to Goldman, examples of hazing that pledges in all chapters have experienced include rigorous calisthenics, having food thrown at them, and being left in random, unfamiliar locations with no cell phones or money and having to find their way home.

The new member program will help develop constructive activities, such as road trips, which involve participation from both brothers and pledges, and also educate pledges about the chapter.

With the new activities, pledges will “learn the info because [they] love the house,” Goldman said.

“The goal … is not to weaken the system, or to kick off houses. The goal is to improve the system … I believe that the Greek system offers an unbelievable experience for any Cornellian who chooses to join a fraternity, [and] we must eliminate hazing to ensure that this remains true,” Conn said.

Archived article by Diana Lo