BY Katie Johnstone
SC Staff Writer
We don’t talk about hazing. We don’t haze. But somehow, hazing happens every year and takes thousands of innocent lives. Definitions and acts of hazing are submerged in the greyest of areas. But what can we do?
Hazing is tradition, and hazing is going through what the ones before you have done suffered. Hazing builds bonds. Hazing unites the group. Hazing makes others respect you, right?
Wrong. Last week, from September 24th to September 28th, East Stroudsburg University took a stand against being a bystander and hosted National Hazing Prevention Week.
There were tables. There were conversations. But most importantly, there was action.
On Monday the 24th, Kappa Alpha Psi hosted the movie “He Ain’t Heavy,” which replicated a new member process for historically black fraternities in the divine nine.
As an introduction to the movie, we were handed paper bags in case we couldn’t handle the content. Brothers and sisters from each Greek organization sat in Stroud 117 and watched grown men get paddled, beaten, humiliated, and broken down.
Some women turned their heads; some laughed. The men remained stone-faced and a few made snide comments.
From morning to mid-afternoon on Tuesday, Greek Life sat at a table to allow others to sign the anti-hazing pledge. There were some snickers from those passing by. Between every interested student, there was someone else who rejoiced at the stereotype.
On Wednesday September 26th, students (Greek and not), faculty and staff honored those lost to hazing by wearing all black.
Of all the days, I thought that maybe this would be the day where we would bust. You can make us sit in a room, require attendance, but would anyone actually take the time out to change their outfit for those lost?
Surprisingly enough, it happened: black sweat shirts with letters stitched upon them, and women in black dresses and shirts.
Thursday, ESU held a speaker on hazing. Tim Wilkinson, a former Greek Life Adviser here at ESU, stood front and center in the Keystone Room. He brought it back.
He questioned why we joined Greek Life, even if initially it was to party. He asked us how hazing fit into the equation of Greek organizations, sports teams, high school students or the military. He asked us the purpose and questioned what we considered hazing.
“If you remember anything from the zillion slides I’ve prepared, remember to ask yourself before you act,” he said.
He’s pretty good, because I remember. On Friday of Hazing Prevention Week, another pledge was held in the University Center for students and the like to sign.
Friday may be the last day of the week, but East Stroudsburg University shouldn’t ignore the history that has been made. In the four years that I have been a student here, I had never so much as heard of “Hazing Prevention Week”.
My national organization of affiliation, Sigma Sigma Sigma, would ask me how my chapter supported the week. We didn’t. We didn’t even know what it was.
We didn’t have support to make true awareness.
ESU Greek Life has something to be proud of by just attending. This week has cast a new light on the easy road. It’ll take time to fix the stereotypes this campus may have.
It’s time for the five percent of students and the entirety of the Greek system to step up or go home.
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