I caught the first episode of MTV’s new show: Fraternity Life last night.
I was shocked. They actually showed hazing on TV. The pledges were lined up shortest to tallest for a “lineup” with the pledgemaster. They were yelled at for being late, Forced to clean the house, doing push-ups as a group as punishement.
Now, I was in a college Fraternity, and I don’t have any problems with this. But, these activities are illegal, no? How can they get away with this on national TV?
Really? At my university, the fraternities were very open about the physical exercises they had to do and the university had no problem with it so long as it was not excessive and didn’t put anyone’s life in danger (ie, handicaps, heart problems, etc were excused or whatever).
I think the only sections which might qualify are “physical discomfort” or “creation of excessive fatigue,” and then only in cases where the pledge had a prior medical history. (And we don’t know if the frat took steps to determine if this might be the case.)
I’m no fan of the fraternity system, but I do not consider having a pledge clean the frat house to be “harassment or ridicule.” Personally I would not consider this hazing under the UB policy.
Cleaning a fraternity house??? Doesn’t that qualify as hazardous waste cleanup?
If “hazing can…be defined as any action or situation which intentionally or unintentionally endangers a student,” then I’d say those pledges were hazed–unless they got hazmat training and those “moon-suit” coveralls before they started…
umm…forgive me, but why are any of you wasting your time watching that mess? i mean, enough time is spent online, why waste anymore on television for schmucks? i do like videos, but those shows on mtv just plain stink…thats right, its my opinion, i’m sharing not laying down the law…
Walloon: You’re absolutely correct. As a recent graduate and fraternity man from a different school, but in the same neck of the woods, so to speak, I actually know some of the guys on the show through mutual friends <won’t say which, but it is hysterical to see them do the same stupid drunk stuff I used to do, 'cept they’re on national TV>. If that group had any plans to try and get chartered by a national fraternity, they would be instantly vanquished becaues of countless transgressions taking part during the show.
[hijack] So I’m pretty good friends with one of the kids, and he was telling me how MTV paid for a ton of the stuff that you see on the episodes. For instance, for you fellow fraternity gentlemen, how many places have a “pledge house” that is as splendorous as that one, if at all? [/hijack]
I always had it in my head that the anti - hazing laws were extremely strict. I didn’t know that physical exercises were allowed at all: by state laws, college rules, and certainly by national chapter standards.
My national chapter had very strict anti-hazing standards. Basically treating them any different than a brother was verbotten. Of course, we always followed the rules. :rolleyes:
Also, the pledge house thing is valid. Why any organization would allow people to join for such obviously bad reasons is beyond me. They are all 21. They get to live in a palace and be on MTV. I am sure that it’s not brotherhood that they are thinking about when they pledged.
Whenever you talk about hazing, you need to remember one word: context. What causes the action is just as important as the action itself. For example, having to do push-ups for showing up late to a meeting is vastly different than having to do push-ups because an active member is bored and wants to make a pledge jump through hoops. Making the pledges clean the house on a regular basis is different than deliberately wrecking the house and making the pledges clean it.
Although, I would agree, there are some actions which have no appropriate context.
Just to clarify: I have no problems with these types of hazing. I think there is nothing wrong with having pledges clean the house or do pushups as punishment.
However, in my experience as a fraternity member, we lived in fear of the national office or the school finding out about such things. The way that our college anti-hazing laws were written, any of these things qualified as hazing. That’s the part that surprised me, not that this type of stuff goes on. But that they would do it on national tv.
I agree with your sentiments here jmizzou. However, I don’t think that the law makes any such distinctions. If hazing is defined as: “any action taken or situation created, intentionally,whether on or off fraternity premises, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule” then push-ups are hazing. They produce phsyical discomfort. I don’t see anything in the laws regarding the purpose of these activities.
MHO, is that the hazing laws are too strict. As long as the pledges are free to leave at any time, it’s ok with me to punish them physically, as long as no one assaults them.
I still just can’t believe that MTV found a fraternity willing to do this stuff on TV.