As a brother of Phi Kappa Tau, Rush is one of my favorite events at Kenyon. Potential new members get to be courted by Greek organizations while they have an excuse to go bowling and eat wings, among other things. However, there’s a not-so-subtle undertone to Rush that only rears its head once the new members commit. I’m talking about everyone’s favorite Greek pastime: hazing.
I’m not here to preach from my ivory tower about how hazing is wrong — that’s the administration’s job. But in reality, the administration does just enough to be able to say they don’t condone hazing without actually putting their foot down and stopping it. This pledging season I want to see the College walk the walk and actually attempt to stop the hazing that goes on right in front of us.
Shortly after Rush Week, Assistant Director of Student Engagement Ally Hays sent an email to all Greeks reminding them about Kenyon’s oh-so-strict anti-hazing policy. Here are some of the things that the College will not allow that I’ll address in this column:
· New members cannot be restricted from communicating with others (taking away cell phones, changing Facebook/social media passwords, no face-to-face communication with those other than members, etc.).
· New members should not have to wear anything specific (besides approved exceptions, like business casual attire for meetings or ceremonies).
· New members should not be expected to sleep anywhere other than their own assigned residential space. Organizations can also not expect the new members to remain in a space (lounge, etc.) for any reason other than new member education and/or other pre-approved events.
· New member programs should not interfere with the academic life of any student.
Under Kenyon guidelines, new members can’t be required by the active members of their organization to wear anything specific or carry anything on their person. New members also can’t be required to sleep anywhere that isn’t their own residence hall. So, when late March and early April roll around, why are numerous new members locked into sitting at their respective tables on Old Side and sleeping on the floor of their organization’s division housing? I lived near one fraternity at the end of last year, my friends have rushed sororities; I and the rest of campus knows these things happen, and there’s no way the administration doesn’t.
It’s not a gargantuan task to find anything that would be called hazing according to the policy. If the administration is really against hazing then I want to see them stop it. Start with Peirce, if you see new members wearing something that looks out of place, ask them about it. You’ll get stonewalled, but it’d be comforting to know that the administration is practicing what they preach. If you see people who are obviously first-years lined up in the freezing February night, send them inside. Their master will come soon enough and you’ll have the culprit walk right up to you.
I doubt hazing will ever go away but I’d like to see more action from the administration in stopping what happens in front of all of us.
Griffin Burrough ’18 is an economics major from Austin, N.J. Contact him at email@example.com.