For many high school and college-aged students, fitting in and being with the socially deemed “cool crowd” is a main concern. 

The question is just how far will some people go to be in with the so-called cool crowd? The concept I’m talking about here is hazing.

Hazing takes place in many different forms and in all different organizations. Whether it be a sports team, a club or Greek Life, I would like to take a look at some of these cases of hazing and why they are taking place.

According to an article on Elite Daily, “At Tulane University, pledges for Pi Alpha Kappa were put under boiling water for the most physically enduring pain they’d ever had.

Sarah Morrison / Equinox Staff

Sarah Morrison / Equinox Staff

Fraternity brothers used boiling water containing pepper spray and a ‘crab boil’ seasoning mixture containing cayenne pepper to pour over their victims’ backs.”

This level of hazing does not even rank close to some of the worst incidents.

Also according to Elite Daily, in 1999 the state of Vermont passed an anti-hazing law after University of Vermont hockey players forced freshmen team members to drink warm beer until they vomited and perform something called an “elephant walk.”

For the sake of my readers, I will not go into detail about what this elephant walk entails.

However, I will say it includes being humiliated and sexually assaulted by other teammates.

Urban Dictionary can give you a pretty graphic description if you are interested in reading about what these young men experienced.

In the absolute worst of scenarios, extreme forms of hazing can even lead to death. At the State University of New York, hazing was taken to a level so extreme that one young man died as a result.

According to Elite Daily, “In March 2003, Walter Dean Jennings III was pledging Psi Epsilon Chi when he was forced to drink numerous pitchers of water, often to the point of vomiting. He ended up drinking so much that his brain swelled and he died from water intoxication.”

Okay, so the point is clear. In our society, hazing has been taken way too far. I think it is more than worth it to take a moment and ask ourselves, why?

Why do so many young people put themselves through humiliating rituals just for the satisfaction of being recognized on a certain team, club, fraternity or sorority?

Personally, I believe that this should by no means be tolerated by anyone. For myself, I know that if I were ever interested in joining a new club or team here on campus, the moment I came across anything that seemed to come up on my radar as hazing, I would report it.

Maybe the form of hazing wouldn’t be life-threatening or would not seem like a big deal to some but small scale hazing only leads to larger scale hazing. Forms of hazing will only be funny until whoever is in charge becomes bored and comes up with something bigger, better, more extreme.

I strongly encourage anyone who has experienced some form of hazing to speak up and report what is going on.

I do not believe that anyone should risk their life merely for recognition in a certain social group. An individual’s self worth as a person most certainly outweighs the approval of others.

Hazing rituals have been reported for countless years. This is an ongoing issue where many young people are caught between wanting to fit in and not wanting to feel a lifetime of humiliation and embarrassment.

Personally, I have been a part of dozens of clubs, sports and other organizations throughout my academic life. I have played ice hockey close to my entire life, I have played lacrosse and field hockey, have been a part of multiple clubs in high school and college and I am blessed to say I have never endeavored a form of hazing to my knowledge. I believe teams, clubs and Greek life, whatever it may be, should look to new ways to get people involved.

Being a part of a group is about unity, teamwork and strong collaborative efforts. It is not about humiliation and near death experiences. What may seem funny to some could end up much more dramatic than an innocent joke.

We have seen an influx of attempts to stop hazing on high school and college campuses so it is safe to say we are trying to head in the right direction.

Some of these steps, according to Team Captains Network, include developing strong, positive, responsible leaders, providing positive alternatives to hazing, meeting with leaders to discuss views and policies on hazing, cite examples of imitations gone bad, install a buddy system and encourage newcomers to report any anticipated or actual hazing.

Taking these precautionary measures could help build a safer, healthier, happier and friendlier environment for high school and college campuses everywhere.

Everyone should feel comfortable joining whatever club or team that may be of interest to them without the fear of hazing standing in their way.


Sabrina Lapointe can be contacted at

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