How hazing hurts reputation of black Greek life
Lawrence C. Ross, The Grio | March 8, 2011

So seven members of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority were charged with hazing a University of Maryland pledge. The Zetas allegedly followed the usual modus operandi, beating the pledge with an oak paddle, pushing her against a wall, and causing what the police say were “severe bruising on the arms and chest”. And now that this has become a police matter, all of the accused Zetas are shocked, shocked I say! that this pledge has been hazed. How did this happen? In the words of one of the accused lawyer, his client “abhors” hazing. Yeah, right.

Now we go through the usual dance of the people saying that these accused Zetas are innocent until proven guilty, and that the pledge shouldn’t have “allowed” herself to be hazed in the first place. The Zetas involved will probably get off with a slap on the wrist, some sort of community service, and the national organization will get a lawsuit that will cost at the minimum, thousands of dollars, and at the maximum, millions. But do you know what I wish would happen? I wish Zeta Phi Beta’s national headquarters wouldn’t wait until the accused are declared guilt to make a decision on their fate. I wish Zeta expelled the accused immediately and without a hearing. Maybe then we could get the attention of black fraternity and sorority members.

You see, hazing isn’t something that you just happen to run into or just happen to do. No, hazing is a very deliberate and specific process. It’s a conspiracy of individuals who all pledge to themselves a code of silence in order to protect themselves. If you’re going to haze pledges, you have to set up an illegal underground pledge program, identify the members of your chapter or organization who aren’t trustworthy, exclude them from knowledge of the illegal pledging, and then figure out when and where to haze your pledges. The idea that you’re in the room where hazing is going on, but you didn’t participate, is as absurd as saying that you were in the pool, but you didn’t expect to get wet. You’re there, you’re guilty, whether you throw a stroke of wood or not.

And that’s why I wished Zeta dropped the hammer on the accused. Forget that the accused ranged in age from 20 years old to 26 years old, or in the words of my mother, are grown a** women who should know better. The very existence of an illegal pledge process, and that the accused participated in it, injuries or not, would be enough for an immediate expulsion.  (Read more)