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Utah Phi Delta Theta Chapter returns; U Florida student commentary on pledging

Opinions from Utah and Florida student columnists are their views, not necessarily the moderator’s.

from the Utah Chronicle:
The Chronicle’s view: Oh behave Greeks

Issue date: 8/28/07 Section: Opinion

Recruitment Week is in full swing for the fraternities and sororities, and with it comes the return of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity to the U.

Phi Delta Theta was present at the U two years ago, but had its charter revoked after a hazing complaint from a student who claimed to have been kicked in the mouth by one of his fraternity brothers.

Though the hazing might have given the fraternity a spotted past, the reinstatement of its charter gives the fraternity a fresh start — not only for Phi Delta Theta, but for Greek Row as a whole.

Fraternities and sororities at the U have, in a sense, had a giant bull’s-eye painted on their backs. As with organizations such as the Associated Students of the University of Utah, university athletics and The Chronicle, it is easy to take one slip-up as a reflection of the entire organization.

In the case of Phi Delta Theta, the actions of a few members caused the disbandment of the whole fraternity and, in addition, shed a bad light on Greek Row.

It is a new year, though, and a new chance for Greek Row to create a new image for the fraternities and sororities. Greek Row is a staple at the U and has the potential to grow instead of dwindling house by house because the public has a poor perception of what being greek means.

Though the past two years have remained relatively quiet, it seems as though the greeks have been plagued with shrinking recruitment numbers, friction with neighbors and trouble with the administration. All of that can change, though, if all greeks take on the responsibility of representing Greek Row in a positive way by discouraging hazing and physical harm, staying on the good side of the law when it comes to drinking and parties, and even by going the extra mile to show non-greek neighbors how well-mannered the greeks really are.

Additionally, new members should use their pledgeship to foster a level of respect between themselves and their brothers or sisters that does not include the possibility of bad relationships.

Greek Row is an important facet of student life at the U. It provides many students with a good outlet to make lifelong friends, participate in a variety of community service projects and is, most importantly, a place where students can ease the stresses of school with fun. It has been around forever and we hope it stays around forever, thanks to the greeks’
efforts to do their best.

____________

Greek life has more ups than downs
By ANDREW MEYER, Speaking Out
They meander across campus, maps held high in front of their faces, barely knowing where they are going in the next four minutes — let alone the next four years. Yes, UF’s newest batch of fresh-faced, doe-eyed freshmen is here, and they are, for the most part, clueless.

Though they may be woefully ignorant now, these laymen to the college scene will be veterans in a few short months, already jaded to the club scene and house parties. Many of them will move on to bigger and better things, expanding their circles of friends through the gift and the curse known as Greek life. Well, I’m here to tell you that hedonism has its price, and not all fraternities are created equal.

Welcome to Rush Week, boys. It’s your turn to be the chicks at the party. You will be hit on and gamed like a busty blonde without a boyfriend. Yes, there are fraternity dudes everywhere bearing both free pizza and toothy grins who would do a tiger shark proud. They know all the best after-parties, and they’d love to see you there (and while you’re at it, bring your friends!). But though you may get treated like a piece of meat this week, fret not. That’s nothing compared to what they have in store for later.

Ah, yes, the oldest and grandest of all American collegiate traditions: hazing. Join the wrong fraternity, and you probably won’t be just fresh meat. You might be tenderized and beaten to a bloody freshman pulp. Don’t believe me? In June 2005, one fraternity member filed a hazing complaint against his house. The complaint specifically detailed one hazing ritual called “scrubbing.” Scrubbing is the act of cleaning a laundry detergent-soaked floor with nothing more than your knuckles, scrubbing away until your blood mixes with chemicals and you enjoy a sensation like that of Tyler Durden in “Fight Club” when he pours lye over his hand.

Don’t get it twisted, though: not every fraternity at UF is a beacon of sadomasochism, and university policy forbids hazing. But if you’re going to pledge yourself to an organization, you had better make damn sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. A fraternity can be an unbelievable brotherhood, a place where you meet 30, 60 or 100 of your newest and best friends with whom you will share the good times you’ll remember for the rest of your life. At most fraternities, those experiences will involve utterly insane parties, copious amounts of alcohol, bonding, barbecues, football, more parties and everything that you’ve dreamed college would be.

It’s possible some fraternities may require you to pay your pound of flesh for admission. Yet be not afraid of what I have described, for if you keep your eyes and ears open, and aren’t scared to ask questions, you will easily determine for yourself who your friends are and who just wants to spank you with a paddle.

Personally, I think you’re crazy if you’re a guy at UF and you don’t go Greek. I highly recommend joining a fraternity as long as you do your homework. I was Greek for two of the best years of my life, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Andrew Meyer is a senior majoring in telecommunications.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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