Hazing: a dangerous craze or ‘these are the days?’

The College should crack down

Hazing is as pleasant, and makes about as much sense, as the Jimmy Carter era. People must not realize this, because if they did, they wouldn’t do it. So what is hazing?

In essence, it is an act of power and control by “superiors” or upperclassmen and initiated members of a team or club, over “inferiors,” new members trying to gain acceptance. But instead of a hearty handshake, along with a “welcome to the team,” many people get potatoes thrown at them. I would assume this is not fun. Nor is being told to drink as many beers as it takes until it starts flowing out your ears.

So why is this stuff happening here at Williams College, the pinnacle of higher learning?

Ah, yes: fraternity. I imagine that the line of thinking goes like this: “If I spend the night hugging the toilet, and my teammates Fred and John hug their toilets too, then our mutual toilet hugging experience will no doubt create an unbreakable bond of brotherhood and mutual respect that couldn’t possibly be shattered. Not ever.” The things we do for a sense of belonging are, as you can see, limitless. And there are many people out there who are willing to take advantage of this particular human folly.

This said, it should be quite obvious that something needs to be done. All school clubs and varsity teams should be put to question, not merely the easy targets. The coaches and the team captains and other people of influence (who are hopefully not under the influence) should know that hazing is not to be condoned in any capacity.

I don’t mean to imply that all teams and clubs are guilty. But hazing does occur here at Williams College, and it really shouldn’t. So instead of fighting about who hazes and who doesn’t, who deserves the hazer of the year trophy and who the runner-up is, the athletic department and the administration should put aside their diplomatic evasion tactics and come up with a set of guidelines that everyone knows about and is highly encouraged to follow.

By “highly encouraged” I mean that those who break the no hazing rules should be forced to eat a plateful of fried worms, drink three gallons of beer and then sing the school song in pig Latin. In under three minutes.

The College Should Let It Be

People love good stories. In fact, the only thing that beats a good story is a romantic encounter under the starry sky with the celestial bodies burning bright in the distant galaxies. Thus, to rid college students of the hazing tradition is to rid them of one of life’s great pleasures; without some hazing experience under the old proverbial belt, what can we look forward to telling little Mikey Jr. when he asks “What was college like?”

Hazing also breaks down limitation barriers and helps create positive expectancy. For example, it is common for a freshman to walk into initiation with little confidence: “Man, I can only drink two beers before I start feeling sick.” “Nonsense,” says the captain, “You can drink much more than that…”

Another benefit of hazing is that it expands the imagination. For example, the following philistine view point is often heard: “It’ll take me hours to drink this much. Hours, dude, hours,” says unsophisticated Joe. “But my dear friend,” replies the Keg Master, “That’s why we invented the funnel. Yes, that’s right, we invented it for people like you. And we also have beer goggles that help you see things in a way you’ve never seen them before. In fact, you’ll probably be tempted to write an email to all your friends about your upcoming revelations thanks to our ingenious devices…and this is only open to you because we love you, because you’re part of the team.”

It goes without saying, then, that a good hazing experience can build more character than many double sessions combined. Hazing can be seen as complete dedication to the team and to survival. After all, doesn’t Williams want athletes that can face the most severe obstacles and still come out on top?

And then there’s the feeling of fraternity. Can you picture any experience that is more fraternal than stumbling into a bathroom late at night dressed in silly attire ready to hug the toilet all night long only to find two other teammates dressed in the same silly attire already beating you to the toilet hugging? That is a moment that cries, “They feel my pain. They are me, and I am them.” All this would not be possible if it weren’t for the helping hand of a little hazing.

Isn’t it clear, then, that administration should not get involved in what goes on behind closed doors?