Saying that hazing is a societal problem, not just a fraternity problem, journalist Hank Nuwer spoke to campus greeks and alumni Wednesday night about the negative image of Greeks that hazing creates and how Greeks can prevent the damaging aspects of hazing. Nuwer is the author of a new book, Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing. The book is a case study of a 1978 incident at Alfred University in which a fraternity pledge was killed during a hazing ritual. The book also deals with the problems hazing has caused. He said he found more hazing incidents in the past year than in any other year, but said this may be due to increased reporting. Nuwer has previously written for several magazines, including GQ, The Nation and Inside Sport. He said fraternity members have the reputation of being "students by day, Vikings by night." He criticized the Greek national organizations for not telling people hazing occurs outside the Greek system. Athletic teams and ROTC are two organizations Nuwer said commonly haze. He said hazing is an international problem as well, citing the Soviet military as one of the most severe hazing organizations. Nuwer said many hazing activities are harmless, but many tend to get out of control. While researching his book, a psychologist told him that until a person is 22 or 23, the loyalty to a fraternity or sorority takes precedent over any moral qualms a person might have. Nuwer said the practice of hazing goes back to primitive times, but it is more than just tradition that keeps the rituals alive. He said many haze because they feel a need to assert authority and to seek revenge for the time that they were hazed. One of the main reasons hazing occurs, and the most justifiable to Nuwer, is that it is necessary to keep the group together. He feels hazing promotes group unity, and while he hopes an alternative method can be found, he has not devised one. Nuwer said he doesn't think hazing can be ended, but he does think it can be curtailed. He feels Greek unity is necessary to fight hazing, and individual groups must overcome their rivalries and stop finger-pointing in order to work together. He said alumni must step forward when they see something wrong, and he said Greeks "need to get in touch with the times," which he feels is happening.Comments powered by Disqus
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