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James
06-01-2002, 09:26 PM
This is probably the most comprehensive, yet brief, history if hazing, I have read on the net. It s from the Kappa Sigma ideabank http://www.kappasigma.org/ideabank/historyhazing.html

No source for it is given.


HISTORY OF GREEK HAZING


To most fraternity men, hazing in its various forms is regarded as a perpetual problem -- regrettable in many ways, but like the common cold, always with us. In actual fact, this widespread impression is completely mistaken and misleading.

Hazing is a comparatively recent development in fraternity life, foreign to our basic principles, and increasingly harmful to us every year.

Hazing as we know it has its roots in Europe, for it is certainly not an American invention. To understand what happened in this strange story, one must keep in mind three words -- penalism (Europe), fagging (G.B.), and hazing (U.S.). While related, these are also different in some very important ways.

Penalism, on the European continent, goes back to the Middle Ages; we have detailed descriptions of it from the early 1400's. "The underlying idea ... was that the newcomer to the university was an untutored, uncivilized man, who had first to be polished before he could become a regular member of the university; before he could taste the sweets of a student's life he should suffer hardships." says one authority. To make the "freshman" aware of his proper mode of behavior, he was subjected to weird dress, physical abuse, coarse jokes and extortion of money or dinners for the hazers. He was called by the French a "yellow beak" or bec jaune, a name later contracted to the Latinized word "beanus" -- apparently the origin of our U.S. term "beanie" (the green freshman cap once worn), and about the only clearcut American borrowing from Continental practices.

In the 1600's this ceremony was accepted as an official act by a number of European universities, which even required that to receive a masters degree the student must produce an official statement that he had successfully completed it. Yet penalism was dangerous, with many serious injuries and some deaths recorded. Parents were much afraid of this barbarous custom. As the medieval period ended, and the modern industrial era began, penalism was abolished in the 1700's.

Fagging was strictly an English practice which began to take clear shape about the 1770's in the English aristocratic prep schools, and to a lesser degree in Oxford and Cambridge. Also a form of "shaping up the freshmen," fagging differed from penalism in its emphasis upon personal menial service, and drudgery. Each upper-classman selected a "fag" from among the new boys, made him run errands and clean up his "digs" or quarters, and administered physical punishment along with verbal abuse to the miserable fag. Justified as a means of teaching humility and proper behavior, fagging led to bullying, permanent injury, deaths, and suicides, also.


Penalism was a one-event initiation of sorts, but fagging was a round-the-clock year-long proposition which seemed to go on forever, with no way to get even until you got your own fag several years later. Fagging reached its high point in the nineteenth century, but has disappeared in the twentieth.

Hazing, although it had some slight use in English nautical circles (crossing the Equator, etc.), is regarded by the English themselves as an American word and practice which became prominent only after 1850. It stressed horse-play and pranks, not personal service (like fagging); it was erratic and occasional, rather than an everyday affair.

Probably it derived from frontier crude humor, like the chivarees (chari-vari) originally. But it also could turn violent and produce injuries and deaths. Nevertheless we should remember that there was a basic distinction between the two: American hazing stressed crude pranks, while English fagging centered upon personal servitude of a very undemocratic kind.

The first American colleges in New England and Virginia had neither penalism nor fagging. Instead they had dozens of strict rules for freshmen, borrowed from English practices, but enforced by the faculty rather than by older students.

At Harvard, these college laws required that freshmen run errands for all upperclassmen, never be "saucey", to obey every upperclassman's order,"... and not to urinate on the college wall or the upperclassman's 'cusjohn'" This was typical of all Eastern schools. However, such laws were dropped or ignored in the new Western colleges (west of the Hudson( after Independence.

Pranks and student violence were plentiful, but on a free enterprise, unsystematic basis -- smoking out, demands for free beer, hoaxes and the like.

About 1850 or so, hazing on a class basis -- that is, hazing of freshmen by sophomores, usually -- began to develop in the Eastern colleges. It had developed even earlier at the military academies -- West Point and Annapolis, and their college imitators. This tendency was greatly increased by large university populations and the use of athletics in the 1880's.

Large numbers made students search for some means to build class unity, and sports teams seemed to require school spirit for psychological motivation. Hazing was one answer, and it became a new American college tradition at the Ivy League and older state university institutions. This was not exactly fagging, though rather compatible with much in fagging (class unity, school loyalty, etc.).


Almost immediately an anti-hazing reaction occurred, very obviously by the 1880's. Opposition to hazing was motivated chiefly by two convictions. First, hazing seemed much too imitative of European practices and too opposed to American democratic cultural traditions. Second, it was considered a step backwards toward medievalism and even barbarism at a time when moral reform and Progressivism were the wave of the future. Nevertheless, hazing spread rapidly, amidst noisy and intense controversy, and the universities did not really take steps against it until the 1940's and 1950's.

For over a century, hazing was virtually unknown in American college fraternities. As products of the American Revolution, fraternities prided themselves upon being peculiarly American, different from and an improvement upon European college life. Moreover, fraternities founded between 1825 and 1890 were very much religiously influenced, and they considered fagging and penalism both undemocratic and vaguely immoral.

Pranks and jokes there were, but altogether separate from fraternity ideals and practices. Neither moral education, supplemental mental education, or brotherhood seemed compatible with hazing, and fraternity men before 1870 were hardly aware that it existed. Until the Eastern anti-fraternity colleges, and the pro-German state universities began to encourage hazing in the 1880's, that is.

Fraternity men learned about hazing from the freshman-sophomore class battles, and from the football and other sports rallies designed to promote school spirit and unity.

One finds very few mentions of hazing in fraternity circles before 1890 and the big university era. After all, chapters which were rarely larger than twelve members, which had no pledge period, which preferred not to pledge freshman, which lacked houses and whose initiations were seldom highly developed were unlikely to make much use of hazing.

All this suddenly changed in the 1890's. Nearly every national fraternity "discovered" the hazing problem in its own ranks, and denounced it harshly as contrary to all fraternity ideals and past tradition.

But the fact was that hazing was widespread and growing, against the will and legal sanctions of the alumni. Gradually, fraternities learned to say as little as possible about specific hazing tragedies, while continuing to assault the general practice.

By the 1920's, this procedure was stereotyped into ritual soul-searching at NIC and Dean of Men's Conventions, and the undergraduates now believed that hazing was invented by the Founders -- secretly, of course.

Hell Week took seven days--the formal initiation took thirty minutes; reflecting their relative importance in campus life. The deaths went on and the adverse publicity along with it.

Surprising to some, less surprising to others, fraternities for women went through a similar experience during this same period of years, 1880 to 1940, albeit in a milder and more ladylike form. Mock initiations and "riding the goat" were the common outlets for sorority hazing. Apparently there were no deaths, but the evil effect upon idealism and dignity were the same.

It will probably surprise nearly everyone to learn that the relative importance of fraternities in the college hazing picture was quite minor until the very end of this period. Military hazing drew most of the press headlines, magazine articles and congressional investigations prior to the 1930's. Athletic and freshman class hazing was a close second.

There were sectional differences, also, with most cases in the Northeast and South. Consequently, fraternities got off comparatively lightly with the public, the parents of their future rushees.

Since World War II this picture has altered subtly, but drastically for the fraternity system. Without any great change in the amount of Greek letter society hazing (in fact, it declined somewhat), circumstances combined to make it many times more harmful than had ever been true before. Here are some of these circumstances:

1. State legislation against hazing began to appear early in the 20th century, and became fairly general by 1950. For the first time, hazing itself was illegal, rather than only deaths or injuries resulting from hazing.

2. By 1950 hazing of freshmen had ceased, and even the military academies seemed quiet. Instead of being 5 percent of the hazing population, college and high school fraternities became more like 83 percent. Thus fraternities now seemed to be the only hazers.

3. Anthropologists entered the scene, with the rediscovery of VanGennep's work on rites of passage describing adolescent initiation rites of primitive savage tribes. Books like Thomas Leemon's Rite of Passage in a Student Culture pictured the details of a 1963 Hell Week as a college throwback to savagery.

Meanwhile, deaths still continue, and efforts to eliminate Hell Week have been unsuccessful -- unsuccessful in putting a final end to initiation deaths and serious physical injury or moral outrage, that is. For how is it possible to say that the problem is solved because "there are so few deaths," when the fraternity system went through its first century and more with no deaths or injuries whatsoever?

Why has it been so hard to eliminate Hell Week and hazing? First, we have lacked the imagination to come up with an equally or more interesting alternative to fill the vacuum left by hazing abolition. Second, the unwillingness of fraternities to attack the problem systematically and openly. Fraternities did not die because of secrecy and privacy: why should we expect them to put an end to hazing?

Thus we find ourselves in the 1970's, regardless of hazing statistics, in a position where suddenly the fraternity reputation for hazing is the most extensive, and the least tolerated by public opinion, since our origin. Mostly this is the result of the three factors just mentioned, factors we can do nothing to change.

Consider the present public image of fraternities (for hazing is the only fraternity activity which has easy nation-wide publicity), and what a horribly negative, unattractive thing it is. We are associated with primitive barbarity, savagery, torture. We are considered a symbol of immaturity and uselessness, an association of students who refuse to grow up and accept responsibility. We are regarded as a dangerous, violent organization by most parents, hypocritically saying we have abolished hazing while every year we kill some of their children by illegal, and hence criminal, random activity.

We are the only such organization, in the public view, for everyone else has given it up, for twenty years. What a handicap to bring to rush, or to negotiations with personnel deans, or conversations with parents!

All this for the sake of a practice borrowed from American frontier crudeness, from European medievalism and an English upperclass snob affectation (fagging). It is insane. Only our own ignorance can account for this disaster.

Tom Earp
06-02-2002, 10:48 AM
James, you have outdone yourself on this posting! My Kuddos to you!!!

As a Freshman at NW Mo St. We were requrired to wear beanies! 1960 the year! They always shaved the head of a Frosh who was a jock and with his permission to show the Class what we were!

Well it went a little to far as they grabbed me and shaved my head well half using force to do it! This was in front of the entire school on the Ad Min Building!

They walked us 8 blocks to the Town Square and after that, I started an insurection and all hell broke loose!

Last year that the school allowed Freshman Hazing! Another first for me!!!!!!

We talk about GLO hazing and we take the heat for it in the media but it still goes on at other levels!

AlphaGam1019
06-02-2002, 02:50 PM
Originally posted by Tom Earp
James, you have outdone yourself on this posting! My Kuddos to you!!!


lol, yeah! great job cut and pasting! ;)

Kevin
06-02-2002, 05:45 PM
Very informative James... Thanks.

justamom
07-27-2002, 10:03 AM
First time to see this. Very interesting and informative. As much as I hope my son will go Greek, I must say I do have some worries.
Consider the present public image of fraternities (for hazing is the only fraternity activity which has easy nation-wide publicity), and what a horribly negative, unattractive thing it is. We are associated with primitive barbarity, savagery, torture. We are considered a symbol of immaturity and uselessness, an association of students who refuse to grow up and accept responsibility. We are regarded as a dangerous, violent organization by most parents, hypocritically saying we have abolished hazing while every year we kill some of their children by illegal, and hence criminal, random activity.

Fraternities MUST have the support of PNM's parents. We are given two choices, either we must believe that the chapters our children are considering do not participate in dangerous activities OR, we must trust that our children will not allow themselves to be "damaged".

James, I recall something you said. You believed that by the time the dangerous activities begin to escalate, the pledge" was so involved with the GLO, it would be nearly impossible to walk away.
I wish I could recall the exact way you said it, but it does haunt me. I could never fogive myself if I promoted something that in the end would/could kill my own child.

James
07-27-2002, 11:11 AM
Here is that post, from the following link:

http://greekchat.com/gcforums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=10323&highlight=hazing

Originally posted by James
Justamom,

Hazing may not work quite the way you think. Generally its an incremental thing. Kind of like seduction, not many men good at it just jump to pawing you, they build up to it with fun activities built in.

So there may be very little even mental hazing in the first couple weeks. There won't be any physical hazing until the pledges have iinvested some time and the mental hazing has created a good group identity. Further, even people with "strong self-esteem" can be hazed because their sense of self can as easily be applied to not quitting. Especiall when a person has invested considerable time.

Very few boyfriends become abusive early in a relationship,they do it after the other person has committed significant time and doesn't want to consider the time wasted by abandoning the relationship. Throwing good money after bad.

The same thing applies to hazing, after a lot of time committment, also a lot of fun, as well as the image of the prize (especially in strong Greek systems where Greek life is strong). It becomes important to the person to finish the program to JUSTIFY the abuse. OTherwise it was wasted . . .

Plus, a lot of forms of even physical hazing are considered a normal part of our culture.

madmax
07-27-2002, 12:05 PM
Originally posted by James
This is probably the most comprehensive, yet brief, history if hazing, I have read on the net. It s from the Kappa Sigma ideabank http://www.kappasigma.org/ideabank/historyhazing.html

No source for it is given.


HISTORY OF GREEK HAZING


To most fraternity men, hazing in its various forms is regarded as a perpetual problem -- regrettable in many ways, but like the common cold, always with us. In actual fact, this widespread impression is completely mistaken and misleading.

Hazing is a comparatively recent development in fraternity life, foreign to our basic principles, and increasingly harmful to us every year.


Hazing, although it had some slight use in English nautical circles (crossing the Equator, etc.), is regarded by the English themselves as an American word and practice which became prominent only after 1850. It stressed horse-play and pranks, not personal service (like fagging); it was erratic and occasional, rather than an everyday affair.




About 1850 or so, hazing on a class basis -- that is, hazing of freshmen by sophomores, usually -- began to develop in the Eastern colleges. It had developed even earlier at the military academies -- West Point and Annapolis, and their college imitators. This tendency was greatly increased by large university populations and the use of athletics in the 1880's.



I think the writer contradicts himself. If hazing became prominant after 1850 then how can he say hazing is a recent development? Isn't 1850 about the time when most fraternities started?

madmax
07-27-2002, 12:11 PM
Originally posted by James
Here is that post, from the following link:

http://greekchat.com/gcforums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=10323&highlight=hazing




James.

I cant post your post but you refered to hazing as something that is built up to in a graduale process. Is this speculation on your part?

dzsaigirl
07-27-2002, 12:27 PM
Speaking of beanies, I was required to wear a beanie at every rehearsal, football game, and every time I went into the bandhall when I was a freshman at SMU. And when not wearing it, I had to produce it on request, meaning, it had to be on my person at all times. In addition, if an upperclassman were to take it, we had to kneel and sing "oh where, oh where has my beanie gone"... blatant hazing, among the many other things they made us do. BTW, this was in 1996.

Fortunately however, I have never been hazed by a greek organization...

Double standard for non greek orgs? Discuss amongst yourselves...

justamom
07-28-2002, 08:54 AM
Thanks James!

KappaKittyCat
07-28-2002, 09:55 AM
Three words about an institution that has been hazing freshmen males for over a hundred years and is applauded by most of the country for its doing so: Carolina Military Institute(a.k.a. "The Citadel"). VMI, West Point, and the Naval and Air Force Acadamies do it too, but to a slightly less publicized extent. They've been known to physically abuse, torture, and even kill freshmen. And yet Americans approve of it in the name of making a "better military man."

Hmm... Seems like we have a bit of a double standard going on.

Why do we hold onto such horrid practices in the name of tradition? I do not understand.

James
07-28-2002, 12:45 PM
I think he is saying that hazing in fraternities[/] is comparatively new.

But I also believe we have anti-hazing statements that go back close to the turn of the century so its hard to say.

Maybe its a difference in the severity of hazing? Meaning deaths or reported deaths?

Originally posted by madmax
[B]

I think the writer contradicts himself. If hazing became prominant after 1850 then how can he say hazing is a recent development? Isn't 1850 about the time when most fraternities started?

James
07-30-2002, 04:20 AM
Madmax,

Sorry for the delay in responding . . .

ITs more from general knowledge. Organizational Psychology was/is my concentration. And I have read about absue in various forms both on an individual and group level.

Hazing is a form of abuse but it also fits other patterns. The problem is that its become such a political/social/emotional issue that its hard having a real discussion about. Its about at the level of date rape.

Did you want to discuss it some more? Or maybe you had some more specific questions?

What was really kind of fascinating was the similarities between recruitment for fraternities and cults.

Originally posted by madmax



James.

I cant post your post but you refered to hazing as something that is built up to in a graduale process. Is this speculation on your part?

DeltAlum
07-30-2002, 12:08 PM
Hi James,

The original post is pretty interesting. I was particularly surprized by the comment(s) that Greek hazing was pretty much overlooked in the Press early on, and that the military took the brunt of the criticism. That would seem to validate a post on another thread in this forum that the very first anti-hazing law in the U.S. was passed by Congress because of problems at the U. S. Naval Academy.

Good stuff.

Little E
08-06-2002, 01:45 AM
School hazing seems like it used to be very prevalant. My college used to have fight in a local park between the freshmen and sophomore classes. They took clubs and beat each other. The yearbooks show dr's out and the town watching. Then when they decided that wasn't a good idea they moved to greased pole fights. Hazing seems like it was very accepted. Now we worry about alcohol and interviewing actives. kinda funny. But that history is interesting.
Tau Love
Lil E

Corbin Dallas
08-06-2002, 09:00 AM
My uncle is also Rose alumnus, from the 60's. He said when he was there, class hazing was on the decline, but some of the stuff they still did. Freshmen weren't allowed to walk on the sidewalk in front of the main building, or use the main entrance. He got his glasses broken, and he was thrown in the lake twice in one day for this, because he was running late to class. they had a freshman/sophomore baseball game, and at some point in the game, the freshmen took out their pipes (showing they were men i guess) and the sophomores rushed at them and tried to take their pipes away, to show they weren't men. it became a big brawl, and was called the pipe rush. they also had a cord day, where the freshmen and sophomores would wear their cords (corduroy pants) and they would end up in a brawl and it wouldn't stop until everyone had been stripped of their cords. also, the freshmen of course had beanies to wear.