Frosh rebuke

We at the Record commend College Council (CC) for taking swift action following the complaints against Frosh Revue for violations of the College’s anti-hazing policy. Based on the policy, we believe that CC was right to punish Frosh Revue for actions that occurred during its annual “Hell Week” that clearly crossed a line. Hazing is a serious offense that cannot be tolerated on this campus, and CC sent a strong message to the community in this regard.

We believe that, given the options available to CC for punishing the student group, CC took the most appropriate avenue. However, the punishment handed down by CC will not impact Frosh Revue that significantly because Frosh Revue does not receive funding from CC. Thus, we worry that the punishment may not prove to be effective. The part of the punishment that we believe will have the most positive impact is the requirement that the group go through training with the Office of Student Life, which will hopefully have a positive impact on the group culture.

It is a shame, however, that it seems that those who came forward with the accusations of hazing are the ones being punished rather than those who actually committed the hazing. It is this year’s first-years who will direct next year’s show and have to go through training rather than those responsible for the hazing. We at the Record recognize that it is difficult to separate the culture of a program from the perpetrators of specific acts of hazing, and for this reason, we believe that punishing the entire group may have been the best avenue to prevent this from happening in future generations of Frosh Revue. We also believe, however, that the College should punish the directors in a separate process from that of CC. As directors, they accept responsibility for the group and for their own actions, regardless of what happened in the past. Hazing is a violation of the College’s code of conduct, and this should not go unpunished. There should also be an investigation into previous years’ directors. This is likely not the first year that acts like those brought to the administration’s attention have occurred – it is just the first time that any first-years have formally complained.

We at the Record would especially like to applaud the first-year or first-years who came forward with these accusations. It is difficult to bring such accusations to light, but we as a community need to encourage and protect those who do so. It is often only through reporting that the College becomes aware of violations of its anti-hazing policies, and it is only through this awareness and the consequences that follow that we can strive to change the culture in these programs. These first-years have set a great example for the rest of the community, and hopefully others will see this example and not sit by and watch as they or others in their groups are subjected to hazing.

Comments (6)

  1. Honestly, this high-and-mighty language is ridiculous. Laughable. Get off your high horse, Williams Record. Unless you’re going to submit sports teams to the same scrutiny (which I know you will never do, given your probable reliance on the donations of alums who played sports), shut your gaping mouths. One of your highest-ranking editors last year, a member of the class of 2014, was a member of Frosh Revue. She surely gave you a glimpse into what the FR process is like, and you didn’t find anything disagreeable about it then–but now, because the institution has decided to take a stand against it, you feel obligated to do the same? Your commendation of the frosh who “stepped forward” actually serves as a condemnation of yourselves for not doing it first–or did you not know the terrible, horrible, completely inexcusable details of Frosh Revue? How could you have stood by while freshmen were intimidated and threatened? Why didn’t you break the story when it was fresh? When you heard about it from your friends who were a part of it? Or was it, in fact, that you knew that they were not actually being intimidated or threatened, but that they were party to a grand comedy, a great cosmic joke, and now you’re happy that those who were ‘in’ on the joke have been punished because you never understood the joke in the first place? Jealousy kills. I have felt nothing but disgust at your poor reportage for years now. Your paper is a rag and you hold the respect of very few of your classmates. I say these things even though I myself have written for the Williams Record, because I know that this newspaper is not in fact a “newspaper” but in fact a repository for all of the blandest, silliest, and most uninteresting ideas circulating through the Williams community. For the love of God, have an original thought, rather than one inspired by the institution of which you claim to be critical.

    1. You seem more upset that the hallowed, sacred (read: ridiculous) traditions of your pseudo-secret group were exposed more than anything… Or maybe I just don’t understand why you think it’s fine that several people involved were clearly upset/uncomfortable by the whole thing? Maybe in past years it was different and everyone “in” on the “cosmic joke” was down (which, sure, makes it OK, I guess), but clearly that didn’t happen here, did it? Other student groups have gotten in huge trouble for much less than “Hell Weeks”, but you think you’re better than that? You think Frosh Revue deserves better treatment?

      I’m sure everyone is jealous of you guys, yeah.

    2. Frank, two things:
      1. Your ad hominen attack on the paper is excessive, malicious, and counterproductive.
      2. The fact is, a student complained. The fact that the hazing was perpetrated by a group that you were a member of four years ago doesn’t diminish the seriousness of the accusation. It doesn’t matter how ironic and meta your joke is if it’s hurting people.

  2. response to THIS ^

    “you think you’re better than that? You think Frosh Revue deserves better treatment? I’m sure everyone is jealous of you guys, yeah.”

    … Have you ever actually had a conversation with anyone in Frosh Revue? Way to externalize your own feelings, dude. In reality, Frosh Revue is concerned with putting on a great show, not with constantly congratulating its members for participating, and CERTAINLY not with comparing itself to other groups. The campus wide notion that Frosh Revue is an elitist cult is an invention born from ignorance.

  3. The word hazing has a dangerously extensive ambit–one insufficiently delimited by this editorial. ‘Discomfort’ and ‘upset’ alone are piss-poor metrics for levying any kind of punishment. What first-year is not made upset and uncomfortable by the various trials of orientation and First Days? This opinion takes as given an indictment that should be held to stricter scrutiny.

    Is it important to encourage and protect whistle-blowers? Absolutely. Should we, with this editorial, censure on the basis of accusation? Absolutely not. Williams-the-nanny should not be jumping in to ease every first-year discomfort in the hyperactive worry that bad press might follow. The college needs to discriminate between truly unsafe hazing practices and discomfort-inducing initiation rites.

    I know nothing of the particulars in this case and it’s possible something manifestly unacceptable transpired. From what I know of Frosh Revue, I’m inclined to to think not.

    Whatever the case, it would be nice if this imbroglio prompted the Record and administration to more pro-actively root out the very, very horrendous hazing practices that occur in our beloved varsity sports teams. Given the culture of silence that attends these practices, it seems ridiculous to rely on misc. accusations, especially when these result in the brutal vitiation and social exclusion we all know attends whistle-blowing.

  4. As an alumn who was in Frosh Revue back in the day, it’s definitely true that the group fosters a insular, strange, and sometimes degrading and intimidating culture in an attempt to create a more tight-knit group of first-years. When I was at Williams, I know for a fact that members of the administration and JAs were aware that this was going on, but it was perceived to part of the group’s eccentric theatrical shtick. This moment is an opportunity for Frosh Revue to engage in some quality omphaloskepsis on the question of whether the aforementioned culture is integral to Frosh Revue’s identity as a first-year improv group. I don’t think it is. Personally, the culture and the directors’ antics absolutely detracted from my otherwise positive experience.

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