It was six months ago that Greek life at Binghamton University ended with the finality of a Roman boot in the face. The reason? A large number of complaints from students who were the subject of brutal hazing rituals at fraternities and sororities.
Hazing is the bit when freshman who want to join a fraternity or sorority are subjective to painful and humiliating initiation rituals by the older members. These practices range in savagery from college to college but it was widely agreed that the hazing at Binghamton was beyond the pale and things needed to change.
Step in students of the Panhellenic Council. That’s right, the charge to change is not being lead by faculty but the students themselves. I’m not comparing it to the civil rights movement but all across the land harassed freshman are beginning to wake up to a reality that one day they will be able to retire to bed without sore asses.
“We all care so much that, to find out that all this just blew up and all of our chapters were put in limbo, and we were on the news for these horrible things, it was literally, heartbreaking” said Samantha Vulpis, president of the Panhellenic Council.
Action News reported on the story last spring. There report contained tails to you’re your toes. Among some of the most disturbing were girls putting freshman in “ice tombs”, pouring hard liquor down their throats while shouting abuse at them.
Traumatised pledges started turning up at police stations and counselors offices shivering and suffering from alcohol poisoning. But fraternity and sorority heads are organization action to stop the abuse.
“Real change is going to have to come from the students themselves,” said BU Vice President of Student Affairs Brian Rose. “It’s not something that can be directed from the top down. We’re going to need to engage them, we’re going to need to try and cultivate in them a sense of values around a positive Greek experience, from top to bottom.”
“These are student-developed programs, student-initiated programs,” added Thompson. “The students are taking ownership for their own organizations. We’re looking for them for internal accountability procedures.”
“If we can build up some trust among everybody and everyone wants to listen to each other and the school, the Greek community is going to be what it should be,” said Stein, President of the Interfratrenity Council. “And that’s a respectable community of upstanding, smart people that work hard to uphold their traditions and their grades and their friends throughout college and hopefully, later on in life.” (source: action news)
These kind of rituals are thousands of years old and probably have their basis in coming of age rituals practiced by tribal ancestors. Back then, it was mostly about toughing up the new tribe member but nowadays, the ability to drink loads of booze and not cry when people are abusing you is a negligible asset at best.