Brotherhood until when?

Regina Robert, Staff Writer

College is the time to pursue passions, meet new people and make lifelong friendships. Many college freshmen are introduced to Greek life as an outlet to form those connections. Fraternities and sororities sell this gimmick of friendships to cultivate leadership skills and provide guidance to become a better version of yourself. In reality, a membership to these organizations usually includes large fees, extensive commitment and hazing — which is the imposition of humiliating tasks as part of a program of initiation. 

Stories like Danny Santulli’s are a painful but eye-opening reminder of what goes on behind the facade of brotherhood. Last fall, Santulli was a freshman at the University of Missouri, where he was rushing for Phi Delta Gamma, more commonly known as FIJI. During his initiation, Santulli and his fellow pledges were instructed to accomplish dangerous activities that led to hospital visits, such as climbing inside a trash can filled with broken glass. Santulli experienced a fatal incident that occurred on Pledge Father Reveal Night, when the boys were marched shirtless and blindfolded to the FIJI house basement. Once there, the pledges were instructed to finish bottles of alcohol that were taped to the boys’ hands. Due to the amount of alcohol Santulli was forced to drink, he became extremely intoxicated and fell, hitting his head. Santulli was rushed to the hospital, but his body succumbed to intoxication and injury. According to the lawsuit filed by his parents, Santulli was left unresponsive, unaware of his surroundings, unable to communicate and [with] a significant injury to his brain.”

Hazing in Greek life has been the topic of ongoing discussion throughout the years due to the extreme harm it has caused to members and pledges, but it is not likely to stop. Hazing has become an integral part of the fraternity system because it stems from tradition, and tradition does not change quickly or easily. The practice of mistreating the pledges, or lower members, is a prominent part of any fraternity, whether it was having them do errands, clean the house or, in Santulli’s case, drink until blacking out. It is part of the experience and “fun” that comes with joining Greek life.

While this does not apply to all fraternities or Greek organizations — some organizations do have strict rules and codes on hazing and the treatment of their pledges and members —  it is important to question and examine if they are worth joining. When rushing, be careful, look out for fellow pledges and if something is taken to the extreme, speak up about it. Hazing should not cost you the rest of your life.