Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Hazing: more than a problem on school campuses

Wedging toilet paper in their butts and lighting it on fire, eating sand-covered hot dogs, paddling, chugging milk, blind folding, kidnapping, exposure to the elements, and calisthenics.

No, this is not a list of torture techniques used during the Abu Ghraib prison scandal; these are actual hazing techniques used by organizations here at UTSA.

According to Texas Education Code, Chapter 37, Subchapter F, “‘Hazing’ means any intentional, knowing, or reckless act, occurring on or off the campus of an educational institution, by one person alone or acting with others, directed against a student, that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in an organization.”

Penalties for hazing include prosecution, a Class B misdemeanor for individuals failing to report incidents of hazing, a Class A misdemeanor for causing bodily harm or injury, and a felony for causing accidental death.

Organizations are also subject to the Texas Penal Code for hazing. Punishments include fines ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 and the offending chapter may be banned from campus for a set period of time. Phi Gamma Delta is currently experiencing this punishment and is banned from the UTSA campus from 2009 until 2013.

The latest case of hazing by an organization at UTSA was against the UTSA chapter of the Greek service sorority Phi Mu. Among the many offenses Phi Mu was found to be guilty of was failure to report hazing. Organizations also cannot use consent as a defense to hazing if the members agreed to the acts in violations.

Hazing may seem appealing or even traditional in some organizations, and they continue to make up excuses for why hazing is good. Some excuses used are that hazing builds respect, it’s a tradition or the attitude that “if I was hazed, so should they be,” according to UTSA’s hazing information website.

What students may not realize is that some activities that seem harmless, such as scavenger hunts, making new pledges perform work, and blindfolding, are actually considered hazing violations.

“I would just drop out of a sorority if they were trying to haze me,” freshman health major Megan Elledge said.

“I have not experienced any [hazing],” junior liberal arts major Randsom Clark said. “I would not let anyone haze me.”

Hazing is not just a problem about during college. Sports teams, the US military, and even small businesses are also organizations that have been known to haze new members. In early 2011, a U.S. marine stationed in Afghanistan reportedly committed suicide after being hazed for falling asleep on duty, according to the Marine Corps Times. Hazing not only causes physical harm, but it can be mentally devastating in certain situations like a warzone.

“I think hazing is something that is unnecessary to become a brother of a fraternity,” sophomore business major and Kappa Sigma pledge Zachery De La Rosa said. “Based on stereotypes in the movies, I did expect some kind of hazing, but nothing like that ever happened.”

Over the last five years (2007-2011), four UTSA organizations have been found in violation of hazing: Phi Mu 2010, Phi Gamma Delta 2009, Sigma Phi Epsilon 2008, and Delta Sigma Phi 2007.

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