All Around the Liberal Arts: California hazing

By April DeJarlais

Hazing is a tradition in many sororities and fraternities across the country. The ritual can range from innocent acts of indoctrinating hopeful pledges to ludicrous stunts that primarily succeed in stroking upperclassman egos.California Polytechnic State University’s The Mustang Daily reported on the school’s past hazing events and interviewed students and faculty for opinions. The university’s hazing history includes the alcohol poisoning death of student Carson Starkey last December.

CPSU’s associate director of Student Life and Leadership, Stephan Lamb, was quoted on his thoughts of how hazing began.

“My theory is the origins came from the hazing of GI’s that came back from World War II. A lot of hazing looks like boot camp. They tear people down then build them back up. I think the experiences from war carried over into social organizations,” he said.

The number of fraternity and sorority members who defeat multiple national armies and drop devastating nuclear weapons within their college careers has yet to be calculated.

Rather than subjecting pledges to humiliating and physically intensive “boot camp” hazing, fraternities and sororities instead choose more sophisticated methods intended to prove courage and group loyalty.

One hazing activity, spiritedly titled “Don’t Fuck Your Bro,” requires pledges to pass around a bottle of liquor during a song. The pledge that ends with the bottle must drink it.

One can only imagine the self-sacrifice as pledges hastily snatch the bottle from their neighbor in order to save their fellow brothers.

CPSU fraternity member, name given as John, gave a quote in support of hazing that could only be a tribute to the tradition’s possible military origins.

“It teaches your body to be able to push through things that you thought you would never be able to get through before. That is at least the theory with all this stuff,” he said. “The old adage is ‘whatever I’ve gone through you can too’ when an old brother is talking to his younger brother.”

John’s liver and brain were unavailable for comment, as they were trying to process and remember what he did or drank during his hazing.