Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
By McKayla Braid
Plainfield East High School
As the college school year begins some students contemplate joining a sorority or fraternity, in which they might be illegally hazed.
Hazing is essentially any physical, psychological, or mental harassment that comes with the initiation to a club, sorority or fraternity.
Despite the efforts to inform, prevent, and even make it illegal hazing is still an ongoing problem. College students are still being humiliated, injured and in some cases even dying.
“Hazing is a national issue that every one deals with on college campuses,” Brandon Common, director for Fraternity and Sorority affairs at University of Illinois said.
Although the U of I has not encountered many problems with it, hazing in general is a major issue. “Because its gaining momentum in the media Universities are becoming more conscious of the problem” Common said.
Because students grow up seeing and hearing about hazing, they become de-sensitized to it “it’s something that is what it is as opposed to being something that is wrong and does not need to happen,” Common said.
In response to the increase in media attention Common, along with teachers from different parts of the University formed a hazing prevention group in fall of this previous school year. “It’s not about being reactive, but being proactive,” Common said.
“If you say hazing the first thing people think of are fraternity’s and sorority’s,” Common said.
Hazing is not just a problem in the Greek community. “The Greek community just gets more publicity for it,” Common said.
The issue is also difficult to solve because, “the typical student doesn’t know what hazing is,” Common said. “Say you’re trying to get into chess club, and they say every Tuesday you have to bring them a number one from McDonalds, and you think ‘its not that bad’, but its still hazing.”
Although the issue of hazing is unresolved, the consequences are not, “college kids have gotten prison time for hazing,” Common said.
“If one of the sorority’s or fraternity’s were brought up on allegations of hazing they will have a lot of people to answer to,” Common said.
The allegation is sent to the office of conflict resolution board. The severity of the punishment depends on how many rules were said to be broken. The alleged sorority or fraternity would also have to face the University, state laws, national laws, and national organizations Common said.
“In a perfect world you could eradicate it, but I don’t know if that is possible, because you will always have people who do what they want to do” Common said.
Although we do not live in a perfect world the hazing prevention group is trying for the next best thing, “Create an environment where students don’t feel like they have to go through that in order to get into a fraternity, sorority, chess club, intramural sports or anything at the university,” Common said.
The U of I does their best to prevent hazing, but if there are students being hazed they are encouraged to call the Dean’s Student office at (217)- 333-0050.