STOP! Don’t even think about glossing over this article. It isn’t another boring opinion with the argumentative thesis of “hazing is bad and fraternities and sororities shouldn’t do it because it’s bad.” Read the whole thing. You’ll be glad you did.
To save you from reading our lovely student handbook, I will paraphrase the clauses on hazing.
It’s a lot of stuff, but it basically means if you do something to someone because they are affiliated with your group, even somewhat, and if that something may cause any kind of stress to that person, then you are hazing, and it’s prohibidado.
One common example of this is the “hell week” during the candidate period of a fraternity. A common practice of fraternities is to force their candidates to live in the fraternity-owned house for the duration of hell week. Candidates are also required to eat only the food provided to them by the fraternity members.
Personally, I am glad to say that I never had to go through this. Though it does seem like a pleasant bonding experience, I would rather have my freshman experience be limited to the residence hall that I was forced to live in (because my permanent residence is out of state) and eating the food from the university owned dining halls using my meal plan (that I was required to purchase because I lived in a first-year residence hall, because my permanent residence is out of state).
Wait a minute … I had to take out a loan so I could afford that meal plan and those housing fees. So, not only am I subject to the oppressively totalitarian mandates that are university housing code, but I am also trapped in the vicious claws of corporate banking! Through the stresses of debt, plus the uncertainty of acquiring a job immediately after graduating, I have been reduced to a hollow shell of a man. The constant nervous breakdowns have left me with an incredibly weak stomach, disabling me from eating any food other than Hot Flyers and lukewarm milk. This limited diet, imposed by undue stress, has left my physical well-being in jeopardy. With all of the stress placed upon me due to forced living arrangements, prepaid meal plans and crippling debt, I have come to the conclusion that, by its own definition and the definitions stated by Ohio law, the university is hazing me.
Think about it. I want to be a member of the University of Dayton student community (the fraternity). In order to join, I need to pay tuition (fraternity dues). However, paying the “dues” for the “fraternity” is not enough. I have been forced to live in the “fraternity”-owned “house” for more than a year. I have been forced to eat whatever food the fraternity provided as well. Moreover, purchasing the meal plan has compelled me to refuse going to off-campus eateries with friends, as my diminished capacity to purchase food and groceries has reduced me to a state of stomach-slavery, with Dining Services as my master! Am I to let this blatant abomination pass me by as I sit, shuddering at the thought of my own recent tribulation, watching the poor freshmen struggle under the weight of this oppressive regime?
In the future, perhaps the university should write a few immunity clauses in the student handbook, or perhaps be a little more explicit when defining its terms. You see, when someone strongly enforces a particular policy, they need to make sure that they’ve got the policy well-defined, or else they will be subject to (lighthearted) ridicule.