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March 17, 1988 - Image 26

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-03-17

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exciting anymore," says ATO
president Scott Kaul.
The liability-insurance crisis
is a national problem; fraterni-
ty hazing only seems like one.
Twenty-seven states now have
criminal laws barring hazing-
physical or mental-of pledges.
The National Interfraternity
Conference has helped lobby
for some of the legislation and
has been formally opposed to
hazing since 1979. But laws are
not elixirs. "Our greatest tool is
education," says NIC's Brant.
To that end, special-interest
groups have turned the issue
into a cause. The most promi-
nent is called CHUCK-Com-
mittee to Halt Useless College
Killings-run by Eileen Ste-
vens of Sayville, N.Y., whose
son Chuck died during a hazing
incident at Alfred University Offensive display: Marchers in
10 years ago. She speaks at
about 30 campuses each year
and is heartened by the growing outrage she finds. But she isn't
optimistic. "We may be fighting a losing battle," she says. "It
seems they want to haze and that they want to be hazed."
Some apparently do. Last fall the Fijis at Arizona State were
charged by the university with several instances of abuse includ-
ing forced vomiting, paddling and restricted sleep. And Jewish
pledges were forced to recite the following: "My number is 6
million. That's how many Jews were killed and I should have been
one of them, sir." Wait, you haven't heard the worst yet: according
to Fiji president David Martin, the brothers who insisted on the
anti-Semitic chant were themselves Jewish. The university threw
Fiji off campus for two years.
At Oklahoma State in the fall of 1986, 11 pledges to the Farm-
House fraternity got a taste of what it was like to be in China


black face at Delta Kappa Epsilon's Tulane parade

during the Cultural Revolution. According to the pledges, they
were forced to line up against a wall and listen for hours to
"humiliating" criticism. "FarmHouse built brotherhood and uni-
ty," one former pledge said, "through terror and humiliation."
At least he lived to tell about it. The most recent fatality took
place at Rutgers in February. Law-enforcement officials say
that as part of an induction ceremony at Lambda Chi, pledges
and a few of the brothers began drinking heavily. James Callahan,
an 18-year-old freshman, collapsed and later died. While criminal-
justice authorities investigate, Rutgers is taking steps to revoke
university recognition of the chapter's charter and has suspended
social activities of all Greeks.
The combination of hazing and criminal charges has been a
particular problem for black
fraternities. The worst inci-
dents have run from harsh beat-
ings to actually branding the
skin with a frat's insignia. Says
Charles Wright, a vice presi-
dent at predominantly black
Coppin State College in Balti-
more, "The number one prob-
lem facing black fraternities in-
volves membership intake. We
should not be making slaves of
ourselves." In a macabre way
the initiation rites amount to a
brutal form of servitude. Ac-
cording to authorities, in the
spring of 1986 four black
pledges at Long Island Univer-
sity told a dorm adviser that
they had been beaten by frat
members; one suffered broken
ribs. Campus officials informed
authorities, 'but by the time a
grand jury was convened the
pledges had been accepted as
brothers. They refused to break
RODNEY MARKHAM their fraternal vows of silence
g parade at Texas Tech and denied that the beatings

Rowdyism: Interfraternity brawl during last fall's Homecomin


APRIL 1988

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