Saturday, November 22, 2008

You're kidding. Right?

"Dale Taylor, executive director of the Theta Chi fraternity's international headquarters in Indianapolis, said he has been in contact with the Hickory chapter and is working to help them through their loss. He is suggesting they take advantage of the grief counseling available at Lenoir-Rhyne University.
"I don't think these kids are bad people and they don't want to be thought of that way," Taylor said. "They are grieving for their friend."
The Greek community has moved beyond hazing and binge drinking, Taylor said, adding "Hazing is prohibited by our fraternity in any form or fashion."
Pre-initiation rituals vary from chapter to chapter but Taylor said this type of game was not unusual. "This was a team building activity building up to a formal initiation ceremony. It was in no way a prerequisite for induction into the fraternity."
Taylor said, "It was intended to demonstrate to the two pledges that, by functioning together, they can accomplish far more than by working alone."
"This just turned out to be a horrible accident — there was no negative intent."
"These are not terrible kids who went out there to do a terrible thing," Taylor said. "Don't judge them unless you know them." The Hickory Record

I come to this story from several places; an employee of a small, liberal arts college (not this one); a parent who has had two children complete their college education, one at a small, liberal arts college (not this one); and the parent of a student currently at a small, liberals arts college (this one).

Let's break down Dale Taylor's statement, shall we?

  • "I don't think these kids are bad people and they don't want to be thought of that way." What they did was a bad thing. If you don't want to be thought of as a bad person then there are some behaviors in which you don't engage.
  • The Greek community has moved beyond hazing and binge drinking. "Hazing is prohibited by our fraternity in any form or fashion." Uh, been to any frat parties lately, OTHER than adult, alumni parties? And changing the name of activities from "hazing" to "team building exercises" does not change the content, intention, or in this case results, of the activity.
  • "It was intended to demonstrate to the two pledges that, by functioning together, they can accomplish far more than by working alone." So, they couldn't have learned this by, oh, I don't know, maybe the group getting together and building a Habitat for Humanity house? I know that fraternities and sororities do community service. I realize that we hear more about the negative things that happen than the positives. However, this particular ONE negative outweighs, by far, any good this particular chapter has done. Is this what you wish your legacy to be?
  • "This turned out to be a horrible accident..." I'm with you there. I don't believe these children started out their night by saying, "Let's kill someone." But it is the same as drinking and driving. Would you suggest that if an 18 year-old drunk got behind the wheel of a car we should say, "He didn't MEAN to run over that person?"
  • "Don't judge them unless you know them." How well do YOU know them?

I can't begin to imagine what the parents of this young man must be feeling.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Creiss said...

So you believe that a game of Capture the Flag is a hazing activity?

November 22, 2008 8:41 PM  
Blogger jw said...

I believe a seeminly innocent activity CAN be turned into something distructive when used improperly.

November 23, 2008 8:38 AM  

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