The recent hazing arrests are not the first time UCA has had problems with hazing and most likely won’t be the last. However, every instance of hazing at UCA should be punished harshly to dissuade others from doing the same.
Within the past week, five Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity members were arrested in connection with a hazing incident that required the pledge member to receive medical attention.
Several UCA organizations have been busted for hazing in the past. Last April, the UCA Cheerleading squad was caught hazing one of its younger members by chaining her to a pole in near-freezing conditions.
When this was discovered, the perpetrators were taken to the police station and handed over to their faculty adviser. No legal action was taken, but disciplinary action was supposedly pursued. Because this was handled internally, the girls’ names were not released.
Hopefully the university has learned its lesson and will treat all future hazing incidents as harshly as it did this one. Dangerous and cruel hazing rituals deserve harsh punishment. UCA should continue to treat abuse of pledge members as the crimes they are.
Most UCA organizations have followed the anti-hazing policies. Several fraternities take the policy very seriously and teach all members about the policies in an attempt to set a good example for future pledge classes.
However, according to a story on arkansasmatters.com, some students believe hazing is still just another part of the fraternity initiation process. Hazing looks fun and normal in college movies, but in real life it is dangerous.
In extreme cases, fraternity pledges have died. Last December, fraternity members killed a pledge member in a hazing ritual in Pennsylvania. Another incident in Russellville in 2012 left a student in a medically induced coma for six days with severe liver damage. Hazing is a potentially deadly act and every time a fraternity is busted for it at UCA, the entire university suffers.
Some students are attracted to the violent aspects of fraternity life popularized by television and film, but these are not the people the campus needs representing it.
The university should continue to treat all hazing incidents as crimes, but it is not the best defense against a culture of hazing. Members of student organizations that have hazing issues should speak out against it.
Understandably, most students have reservations about turning over fellow organization members to authorities. However, there are several levels of authority who can deal with these incidents before they become criminal. Group leaders, such as fraternity presidents, older team members, coaches or even faculty advisors should all be consulted on hazing problems before they get out of hand.
Traditions are important for organizations with storied histories. College fraternities have existed for a long time and have as many traditions as any type of campus organization. However, not all traditions should continue. Dangerous traditions such as hazing should be left in the past and have no business being part of UCA’s future.