Wasn’t hazing a thing of the past? - Macleans.ca
 

Wasn’t hazing a thing of the past?

Video shows bizarre hazing ritual at UAlberta


 

The story sounds like something out of a coming of age college flick: desperate to pledge, students are deprived of sleep, closed into a small, urine-soaked wooden box, and forced to eat their own vomit. All in the name of becoming part of a popular fraternity on campus.

Unfortunately, for a hand full of University of Alberta students, this was allegedly the reality of completing the four-day initiation process to the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. The alleged hazing went beyond an embarrassing experience for these students. It compromised their safety and well being, and begs the question of whether or not the fraternity system needs to undergo some serious changes.

Related: No one wins in campus hazing rituals

Video footage obtained by student newspaper The Gateway, shows the grueling initiation process pledges of the Delta Kappa Epsilon went through in hopes of becoming part of the fraternity in January 2010.

One of the videos shows what one pledge  was subjected to after accidently buying two small cans of beans instead of the one large can the members wanted:  “Do you have a problem following instructions? Because if you do, your life is going to become extremely difficult . . . Do you have a learning disability? Are you retarded?”

The videos progressively get more and more bizarre, according to the Gateway:

“The video also shows the pledges being told to do wall sits, being pressured into taking a bite out of a raw onion, and being pressured into eating raw eggs, to which one brother says, ‘go salmonella.’

Video footage also shows pledges attending an off-campus dinner, where they eat food that is intentionally disgusting and then smoke a cigar as quickly as possible after eating.”

An anonymous source referred to simply as “Joe” in the article explained that after doing this, some pledges get sick and vomit, and are expected to eat it to clear their plates. Joe goes on to describe another hazing method referred to as “the Hilton,” a small wooden box pledges are forced to go into several times during initiation for 15 minutes at a time, which is sometimes covered in ketchup or urinated on beforehand.

This is not first time the DKE fraternity has been in hot water.  The Yale chapter of the prestigious fraternity, that lists George W. Bush as alumni, came under fire recently after fraternity pledges were heard shouting offensive obscenities at women while marching through the campus. A Youtube video surfaced just days before the Gateway story was published showing students shouting chants such as “My name is Jack, I’m a necrophiliac, I (expletive) dead women,” and “no means yes; yes means anal.” Two cases of sexual assault were also reported in late September at two separate fraternity houses at the University of Minnesota including at a Delta Kappa Epsilon house.

Since the Gateway story was originally released, the U of A has launched an investigation into the allegations, with joint investigations being conducted by the fraternity’s international headquarters and alumni group. More stories also surfaced about the alleged hazing rituals.

While the story is obviously a rare example of a fraternity gone wrong, it is kind of spooky to think that something so alarming could be going on right underneath the noses of a university community. The allegations of hazing at the DKE fraternity at the U of A have done more than just enforce a negative stereotype. As with the cases at Yale and the University of Minnesota, they have brought the whole Greek system into question.

These cases involve more than just an embarrassing prank. They involve the safety and well-being of students.

I agree with Gateway editor in chief Jonn Kmech, who stated that fraternities and sororities are not the problem here, and that the rest of the U of A fraternity and sorority system needs to speak out against these practises in an editorial published shortly after the original article. However, I think that in light of these allegations, these fraternities and sororities need to do more than just openly condemning such actions.

They need to make a conscious effort to prevent such actions from happening again, and demonstrate to the public how they’re doing so. You can condemn an action all you want, but it doesn’t stop it happening over and over again.

The DKE International Risk Management Policy boldly states that the DKE will not condone hazing in any way, along with the acts of sexual abuse and harassment, and use of illegal drugs in their fraternities. Yet it is unclear what methods of accountability DKE has for its fraternities who don’t follow this policy. If it’s unclear in the policy itself, then it’s probably unclear to the several chapters as well what consequences will befall them if they don’t follow it, if any at all.


 

Wasn’t hazing a thing of the past?

  1. Is it not also reprehensible to condemn the character of an organization based entirely on anonymous and unfounded allegations? Many of the things said are indeed reprehensible but they seem quite drastic.

  2. Nowadays, the media have a tendency to elevate college hi-jinks to the status of major news.

    In Yale a group of roughly 6-8 young men had a few too many drinks and marched through campus yelling objectionable things. Is this really big news? Does this actually represent a fundamental decay in civility, an organized attack on women’s rights, or a broad climate of injustice on campuses nationwide? Of course not. It’s a few young men with a few too many drinks being obnoxious. Impolite? Yes. Worthy of international media attention? Hardly.

    On an Alberta campus, an anonymous allegation is made to a newspaper with a long history of antagonism toward fraternities in general, and this one in particular. The supposed video that proves these allegations is unavailable – only the briefest of segments is released, which show snippets of strange behaviour but prove none of the actual allegations. We don’t know what the video is of, where it was taken, and the context of any of it. There is no independent verification of any of this incident. Vague statements are made concerning the protection of the video’s source, which of course implies that we are now dealing not with college frat, but rather with an imposing and criminal society intent on retaliation. An anonymous fellow appears on television claiming all sorts of insider information, though of course he’s also afraid to show his face for fear that this dark shadowy group will certainly seek revenge.

    Did these things occur at this frat house? We’ll likely never know. But it is woefully unfair to condemn this group and its members with unsubstantiated rumours and innuendo. This is junk journalism. No complaints have been registered with any authorities against this group at any time. According to the U of A’s Dean of Students, there have been no problems with this group in his 2-3 year tenure. This is a non-story. Sounds juicy, to be sure, but at this point, it’s all just so much creative writing.

  3. I personally would never join a fraternity because I feel that these organizations are meaningless. They are essentially a sports team without a sport. They are a functional pyramid scheme where by each generation is encouraged to fund the debauchery of the next as repayment for the same being done for them.

    That being said, when I hear opinions that people should not be subjected to hazing rituals I get angry. What you are really saying is that: “I don’t believe people should have the right to choose to engage in activities I don’t agree with.”

    These are consenting adults participating in private organizations on private property. It does not matter if you view them as teenagers. They are, in point of fact, adults and fully capable of making such decisions.

    I’m not sure what is fact and fiction in these articles. I can say however that it seems interesting that none of the so called “victimized” pledges from the event in question have come forward. How could they? It would be like a customer at an S&M club going to the press and complaining that they got spanked by a large man in leather with a handlebar mustache! But it does seem odd that in these guys 60 some years on campus only a handful of people seem upset enough to make secret videos and talk to the papers… but not call the police during the actual event or as far as I can tell after.

    I find the condemnation of law abiding, however deviant, activities to be disgusting and frankly it is time that people on the Right and Left learned to mind their own business.

    It was not too long ago that society was trying to stop homosexuals from practicing their deviant behaviors. Minority religions faced open persecution until very recently in our society for their subjectively odd rituals.

    So long as it is within the limits of the law, it is not for us to dictate what an adult is free to consent to on his or her own time. The examples of prejudice mention above are permanent stains on us as a people. Maybe it is time we learned a lesson from past mistakes.

    Why would you even concern yourself with the practices of an organization which you obviously find reprehensible? I don’t think it is fair that Priests can’t get married. But then I don’t want to be a priest for many more reasons then that. Would it be my place to say that Priests should not be subjected to the faith? Should I try to stop the church from offering them the opportunity to become a priest? They have occult rituals too don’t they?

  4. If you rush a frat like this, you have weighed your options and decided “I want to be a dick next year,” so I don’t feel particularly bad for the pledges.

    Frankly, I don’t give a good God Damn about any of these DKE frat brothers; do your worst, make an example to so all of the normal fraternities will continue to act like human beings. Maybe the U of A will then have a couple years off from this Ass-Clownery.

    Till then I’ll just shut my big yap.

  5. Oh, so they will be the next generation/leaders of the Western “Civilization”? What a fantastic Western Civilization. Since, I am from Pakistan, I am dirty, uncivilized, but the Fraternities and Sororities at North American universities are churning out tomorrow’s leaders who will be revered worldwide just because they are from “Western Civilization”. I wonder why North America is becoming such a shitty place to raise children with proper manners and culture.

  6. Having spent some time among the frat types during my U of A days, with limited exposure to the current culprits, the Dekes, I suspect the other fraternities are only marginally better behaved; therefore in no position to condemn. The secrecy associated with frat initiation rituals create an environment where a few misguided members can all too easily cross the line with little consequence.

  7. Moe,

    How about you shut up and continue living in the third world Pakistani shithole you call home?

  8. Stevie just brought this to a level of dumb I haven’t seen in a while. Good job.

  9. RobAnthony,

    Can anyone deny that Pakistan is a racist third world shithole?

    Foreigners should give their mouths shut about Canada.

  10. Hazing is imbecilic and dehumanizing to all who take part in ‘pranks’. But so are the unsettling shenanigans shown on “Punk’d”, the seemingly popular TV show created by Demi Moore’s idiotic and immature husband Ashton Kusher. Were I the recipient of hazing or being punked, I’d sue.

  11. Awesome. Sounds like a lot of fun and some people take things too seriously.

  12. Honestly this isn’t the first of stories like this at all. People know what they are getting into when they pledge to some degree; none of this is a surprise. And if they don’t know they wouldn’t have gotten that far or shouldn’t be pledging in my opinion. No one has to join a Fraternity it is a choice, so by doing so you are choosing to accept what it takes to get in, you don’t have to be there. ∆KE for life.