Hazing within all Greek life has been going on ever since it has been around, and there is no question that it has always been an issue. Hazing is a major concern all across college campuses and the effect it has on students at all levels. Getting into Greek life has always been a process for undergraduate students but the initiation part of it has always had a blind eye to it. Many students involved with Greek life at one point in time have experienced hazing, it’s to the extent at which they have experienced it and the after effects of how they have dealt and coped with it. Hazing is defined as “any activity expected of someone joining a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses, or endangers, regardless of a person’s willingness to participate” and is considered “maladaptive, destructive, and dehumanizing for all participants”.
This study seeks to find valuable data on the impact of hazing and to gather the opinion of Sophomores (3,663 students) at Boise State University. The research question proposed is what are the effects of hazing within Greek Life for Sophomore students at Boise State University? This will be conducted via survey to sophomore students using these questions: Have these students ever been involved with Greek life at Boise State? Have these students experienced any degree of hazing within these organizations, if so, what kind? Have these students found any after effects mentally or physiologically from their hazing experiences? Further research is imperative because college campuses and Greek life organizations need to be aware of the effects on hazing and learn more on how to prevent it from happening in the future. The following literature review is organized into four sections that go into detail on the research that has been done in the past on hazing within Greek life and on college campuses, what are the found effects of hazing, the legal concerns involving hazing, the culture of hazing within Greek life, and proposed future research that could be done. Literature Review
Hazing in Greek Life: The Effects
Hazing has been a part of Greek life for a long time, it has been some sort of tradition and part of the Greek life culture. Hazing has been attributed on a very wide spectrum, from very minor to very major even leading to fatal. From past instances hazing has led to many deaths on college campuses. Greek members have been killed in alleged hazing incidents at universities including California State University, Los Angeles, University of Colorado, Boulder, University of Miami, Chico State University, Auburn University, Plattsburgh State University, University of Maryland, University of Nevada, Reno, University of Texas at Austin, and Florida A&M University. Obviously, with these instances hazing cannot be taken lightly, and we need to know more opinions from students to eventually lead to a deterrence on instances like these not happening in the future. In smaller scale research, found by the Hazing Prevention Organization they have found studies that 71 percent of those that are hazed have experienced negative impacts such as, PTSD, physical/emotional instability, decline in grades and homework, and even loss of sense of control and empowerment. For these students that joined Greek life to better themselves and their college experience, it has instead turning into a negative situation in the result of being hazed. As well, we do know that many Greek life organizations do have conduct set in place for hazing but is obviously not always followed. High profile incidents of organizational misconduct, typically associated with hazing, harassment, and alcohol abuse, combined with high membership in Greek organizations, created conditions that have called for scrutiny of fraternities and sororities by both the faculty and administration.
What is known through these instances of hazing within Greek life has led to many higher officials looking down on Greek life as a whole. Through the research that has been conducted across these sources it is known that the end result of hazing in Greek life has extreme negative consequences. Students in these organizations should not have to deal with the phycological effects of trying to prove that they are good enough to be in a certain fraternity or sorority.
The Legal Ramifications
With the effects on hazing, there are code of conducts put in place that deter hazing from happening within Greek life. Although hazing does have some grey area to it, it cannot really be tracked or caught if it is not reported. Code of conducts may be set in place for these Greek organizations, but they may not always be followed. The only litigations that come from hazing within Greek life is when someone gets seriously injured or has resulted fatality. That is when hazing gets put in the spot light and someone gets arrested. Now the legal ramification is for what happened to the victim, which is fair, but not for the hazing itself which in conclusion is not a big deterrence for all students in Greek life. With congress this needs to be taken more seriously, even though some legislators have recognized there is a serious hazing problem and have proposed federal anti-hazing legislation, none of these proposals have successfully made it to the congressional floor for a vote. It is known through this research that there have not been any passed laws for anti-hazing and congress needs to work on passing these laws. Another legality fact that is known with hazing is that congress may not have general anti-hazing laws in general but there are many states are catching on and making laws due to the fatalities. Evidencing the increasing criminalization of hazing, some states have made hazing a felony depending on the seriousness of the harm.
Some commonalities throughout the research is that throughout time there is progress for cracking down on hazing within Greek life and making sure that there are legal consequences for negative results from hazing. The part that is not known from previous research and studies is to why congress has not made a more serious effort in ramping up an anti-hazing law that will deter more and more students in the future from getting effected by the end results of getting hazed.
Hazing in Greek Life Culture
We all know that hazing has always been part of Greek life culture. It is not an abstract idea when it comes to new students joining a new organization and something that is larger than themselves. There has always been the need to prove that they are worthy enough to join that organization and to feel accepted. It is the first step to social approval and acceptance within an organization. Research involving hazing in Greek life has been shown why it goes on, but it is still not sure on to as why it is still going on considering the negative instances that have resulted from it. In Greek life it is all about the organization as a whole and it is the sense to the new comer that is trying to join the organization how important it really is. The feeling or need to join an organization that has such importance may not reflect on the individual who is trying to join nor their self being. Hazing is just another method that can be used to see how badly that individual wants to be a part of that certain fraternity or sorority. The harsh integration process for imitation would heighten the importance of the group itself but not actually heighten the importance of the individual trying to join that particular group organization.
The Greek life culture has always been involved around partaking in other activities such as partying and drinking, these outside factors are another reason hazing in the Greek life culture is popular. The Stop Hazing Organization recently posted a study that had to deal with college students in Greek life that may have experienced hazing in one way or another. The study said that 73% of college students that are in a social fraternity or sorority have experienced hazing behavior at one point in time. Now that is a very high percentage, too high of a percentage for something that is notoriously very negative. With these types of statistics, it needs to be further researched on why hazing is not being taken more seriously and how to find a better way to prevent hazing and stop it from happening in the future in general. When it comes to hazing it is all about making sure that the individual is trying to “prove” themselves to the organization so that they can be accepted. In this case when it comes to fraternities and sororities that new incoming members will go through the process of hazing, so the individual has satisfaction with that. When it comes to joining the fraternity or sorority the organization comes first so the fact of the matter is these organizations do not want to get to large, so it is up to the individual to show the organization that they do want to be a part of it and will do whatever it takes. Fraternities have hazing events over a several weeks span, joining a fraternity is completely voluntary so in return this will either show the commitment to the fraternity or there will be a self-withdrawal. The commonalities with the found research is it is all about the individual trying to prove their loyalty and commitment to the fraternity or sorority through the hazing that goes on. The unknown part about all of it is why does it have to be through hazing and not any other methods used in Greek life.
Future Research: What Needs to Be Done
When it comes to hazing, there are still instances going on to where there are always fatalities each year on college campuses. The main reason this has been researched is to find out why it happens and the culture that comes with it. The main issue is, is that it keeps happening time and time again. What is a plus within this research is that hazing is really starting to catch on as a punishable act, which was not the case some time ago. Forty-four states have passed hazing as a punishable act, which at the very least can be a misdemeanor.
Knowing this fact, there needs to be more research on why there isn’t more awareness of it on college campuses and how to stop it from continuing in the future. What is common throughout the research is that the laws are known, and in most cases the phycological effects are known. What is not known throughout most of the research is why hazing keeps happening on college campuses all over the country, and as to why it is still a part of the Greek life system knowing the negative effects that come with it. Despite the trending arrests and criminalization of hazing instances, it remains very popular in the Greek life system.
The further research that needs to be done involving hazing is the remain reason as to why it is still prevalent within the Greek life system. Greek life is promoted all over college campuses to better the individuals that want to join these organizations, but as seen by this previous research is it is still a growing problem throughout. Getting to know why hazing is still going on needs to be more sought out. The justification for more research is clear and simple, why does hazing keep happening with legal consequences that are in place, and as to why college campuses and Greek life organizations are not doing a better job of preventing it. There needs to be more research done on a personal level with more college students to get more opinions on why hazing is still a common trend within Greek life in general. Hazing among Greek life still remains a constant issue in dealing with national importance.
With that being said, the explanations for the proposed study is more on a personal level with these college students. The previous research does a good job on calculating the statistics of hazing, but there needs to be more analysis and questions asked as to why it keeps happening in Greek life and the type of hazing experiences that these college students encounter. If there is more research done on getting straight to the source which in this case would be the students themselves then there will be more directs answers, thus, be more efficient solutions to the negative phenomenon within Greek life.