A response to ‘A pledge against greek hazing’

After reading the column, “A pledge against greek hazing,” in the March 24 edition of the Minnesota Daily, I was stirred to respond with a personal perspective coming from a University of Minnesota greek member.

Unfortunately, hazing is a problem around the country for some greek organizations, and I am not attempting to argue otherwise. However, it is not only greek organizations where hazing is a tradition. I have been a student at the University for three years, and while I have never heard of hazing occurring in one of the greek chapters here, I have heard of countless other organizations that haze their members. I believe this piece targets fraternities and sororities that may have a history of hazing on a national level but have had no incidents here on our campus.

By gathering national information, the column is unclear about what is true specifically at the University of Minnesota. I can say with all honesty, although I admit I may be biased, that the greek organizations at the University are genuinely some of the best in the country. We live up to our values as we take a strong stand against hazing and other negative stereotypes that the media attempts to associate us with.

My own chapter, for example, has such strict anti-hazing policies that we are not even allowed to be quizzed on the history of our organization, so as not to put girls in uncomfortable situations.

As Interfraternity Council fraternities and Panhellenic Council sororities, our organizations all have immensely strict national rules that our headquarters demand we follow in regard to social events, chapter programming and hazing. This keeps us in check and allows us to focus on the true importance of the benefits we can receive from our organizations, as opposed to the “barbaric behavior” outlined in the column. This cannot be said about almost any other student organization.

Looking on to the argument that students join greek organizations in order to “fit in with a crowd,” we belong to a school of about 50,000 students. Who, at one point in their college life, has not felt a desire to find a place where they belong? Any person joining any organization on campus will join for the same reason: They’ve found a place where they can fit in. Greek organizations are not so different from others. We are all brought together by shared values and ideals. There is not one day of my time being greek that I have not been pushed to become a better version of myself — not through hazing tactics, but through constant encouragement, a network of peers who inspire me to be the best I can be and a set of values that have become deeply ingrained into the deepest core of my being.

I live every day of my life trying to better myself, my individual chapter and the greek community as a whole. If I didn’t have something bigger in my life to succeed for, I couldn’t imagine where I would be today. There is not an organization in the world that comes without flaws — fraternities and sororities included. However, before students buy into the hazing rumors that sweep the media of our nation, they should first look to the living examples that greeks set every day.

As a greek, I am not defined by the inaccurate accusations of widespread hazing around the country. As a greek, I am defined by the values I live by daily, the inspirational leaders I have met through my organization and the lifelong lessons that my sorority has taught me.