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Old 06-13-2002, 05:08 PM
DWAlphaGam DWAlphaGam is offline
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Hazing Article

I saw this and thought it might be of interest to everyone:

From (

Hazing: Not Just Fun and Games

Michelle A. Finkel, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital

By Erica Heilman

Hazing has a long tradition, not only in college fraternities, but in sororities, the military, athletic teams, and student organizations at both high school and college levels. Though many people think of hazing practices as harmless school-time antics, hazing has actually been associated with more than 50 deaths in college fraternities, countless injuries, and devastating emotional effects.

Like victims of domestic abuse, people who are treated for hazing-related injuries are often reluctant to identify the cause of their injury, and for this reason, there are very few reliable statistics on the prevalence of hazing practices. There has also been very little research on the subject in the medical community. "Hazing is an important public health issue that has been largely ignored," says Dr. Michelle Finkel, emergency medicine physician from Massachusetts General Hospital. Finkel's article, "Traumatic Injuries Caused by Hazing Practices," was published in the May, 2002 issue of the American Journal of Emergency Medicine. Below, she shares some insights from her research.

Dr. Finkel, what is hazing?
MICHELLE FINKEL: The working definition I use actually comes from hazing expert Hank Nuwer, and it is: committing acts against an individual or forcing an individual into committing an act that creates a risk of harm in order for the individual to be initiated into or affiliated with an organization.

How prevalent are hazing practices today?
It's hard to say because, for a variety of reasons, the numbers are just not out there.

First, people don't report it. Kids don't want to report it because it's very embarrassing, and they don't want to get their fraternity or sorority or their group member brothers and sisters in trouble. So my suspicion is that there's a tremendous number of underreported hazing incidents.

Also, I just don't think that hazing prevalence has been studied that much. There was a study done at Alfred University, which involved college athletes, but it is the only significant study about hazing that I came across in my research.

What were some compelling numbers or results in the Alfred study population?
There were 325,000 athletes surveyed in the Alfred study, and 80% of respondents reported that they were subject to, and the quote is, "questionable or unacceptable activities as part of their initiation into a collegiate athletics team." That's four in five people, which is pretty amazing.

One in five said that he was subjected to, quote, "unacceptable and potentially illegal hazing." When asked to describe the nature of this "unacceptable and potentially illegal activity," they described activities such as beatings, kidnapping, and abandonment.

Who gets hazed?
The population tends to be much more male than female, however, the number of women getting hazed is probably increasing. The population also tends to be more white than African-American. And then, obviously, a victim of hazing is going to be somebody who is trying to join an organization. It will most likely be someone who's in college, someone who's an athlete, or someone who is in the military.

When does hazing happen?
There are certain times of the year, which correlate with the beginnings of semesters, when hazing incidents are much more common.

How significant is the role of alcohol in hazing practices?
Alcohol tends to be a very big player in a lot of the different traumatic hazing injuries. Alcohol itself can cause the injury, for example people can aspirate, or choke to death from alcohol, and people can stop breathing from too much alcohol. Additionally, alcohol can make people do stupid things, which can result in other traumatic injuries.

What are some of the most common hazing practices that you came across in your research?
There are many practices that can result in traumatic injury. First, there is assault, which involves beating up the pledges, and perhaps abandoning them somewhere. There are also a lot of issues with falls, where pledges are made to go up on a roof, or some high place, especially after they've been drinking. There have been several drownings, where pledges had been forced to swim either in bad conditions or, again, drunk.

Branding, or burning, is another hazing practice. It is traditionally associated with African-American fraternities, but is happening more and more now in other places.

Another common hazing practice involves forcing people to do excessive exercise -- or any kind of calisthenics -- to the point that it's dangerous. They can die of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

There are also a number of hazing practices that are less traumatic, and more psychologically abusive. Things like forcing people to get up early, forcing somebody to carry all your things, things that are humiliating but maybe not quite as harmful.

There are also a lot of humiliating sexual acts that pledges are sometimes forced to do. Some very, very troubling things. All the way up to sexual assaults and sodomy.

What is particularly tricky about identifying a hazing-related injury in the emergency room?
It's very hard to identify these folks, in the same way it is difficult to identify victims of domestic violence. This is a broad group of people we're talking about. And like victims of domestic violence, the victims will sometimes hide the reason that they're there, because they're embarrassed or because they don't want to hurt their fraternity or whatever organization they're trying to join. So these are people who are not necessarily going to give you the story. As a doctor, you're trying to find something out that they may not want to tell you.

Also, we see a lot of traumatic injuries in the emergency department. It's often hard to tell if this traumatic injury is specifically related to hazing, or if it's just another person who's just had an accidental fall, or something like that.

Are there any clues that can assist doctors in identifying a victim?
The most important thing is having a high awareness of the problem, and who it affects, so that you can spot it. And then it is a matter of just asking. If there are a lot of inconsistencies in somebody's answer -- that's a bad sign that they're trying to hide something.

And what do you do if their answers are inconsistent and you suspect they've been the victim of hazing?
In most cases, these people are adults. You can't force an adult to do something they don't want to do. But you can always, before you leave the room, say to someone, "I just want you to know, we're here in the emergency department. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you feel unsafe in your present situation, you're welcome to come back." They may not be ready to talk about it just then - but letting them know that they can always come back is essential.

Are there guidelines that are set up for identifying and dealing with hazing abuses?
None. There are really none. There's absolutely no protocol for hospital workers. It's brand-new stuff for the medical community. When I did research on the subject, I found almost nothing in the medical literature. It just hasn't been considered a medical issue.

I think that doctors and nurses read about it in the paper, but they don't really consider that those folks who are being hurt are coming to the emergency department.

And even if we can't stop it, we have a responsibility to be available to them, so if they need to come talk to somebody in the future, they know at least that we are available to them in the emergency room.

Dr. Michelle Finkel is an attending in the Emergency Department of the Massachusetts General Hospital.

Copyright 2002 Healthology, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Old 06-13-2002, 05:38 PM
Kevin Kevin is offline
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Those numbers for athletes are very surprising!

I'd say that hazing incedents are decreasing amongst GLO's (from what I've seen at least) and increasing amongst non-affiliates.

Yet we still are the victims of stereotypes associated with hazing!

That study from Alfred (which considering the source and subject matter I'd call more than questionable) has some pretty alarming numbers for athletes.

As far as the other stuff the article basically told us what we already know. Hazing is, unfortunately part of our culture.. Only through awareness and education can we really combat this. Most national GLO's have in place strong education programs and strict policies regarding hazing... (I'd assume many locals do as well).

We need education about this stuff in our high schools and middle schools. People need to know that if an organization requires this of you than it is simply not worth your time, energy or effort.

SN -SINCE 1869-
Mu Tau 5, Central Oklahoma
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Old 06-14-2002, 11:22 AM
hoosier hoosier is offline
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That Alfred sports/hazing study flawed

The Alfred study doesn't use the common definition of hazing, so their study results are very exaggerated.

For example, Alfred defines hazing to include "reporting to campus before other students are required to report."

Therefore, if 110 members of the football team report to practice in mid-August for the common "two-a-days", all 110 are "hazing victims", says Alfred. This definition also makes victims of the soccer teams, cheerleaders, marching band members, and other fall teams and support groups.

I hate it that "Chuck" died at Alfred, but their research data stinks.
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Old 06-14-2002, 11:39 AM
dzrose93 dzrose93 is offline
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Okay, so the article says that: The population tends to be much more male than female, however, the number of women getting hazed is probably increasing.

Probably increasing???? Doesn't sound like a very scientific statement to me. I am irritated by the fact that this woman is throwing out her personal opinion and not citing any facts to back up her thinking. Based on the risk management regulations that have been implemented by schools and Greek organizations the past several years, I would say that the number of women getting hazed is "probably" decreasing.

Last edited by dzrose93; 06-14-2002 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 06-14-2002, 01:12 PM
FuzzieAlum FuzzieAlum is offline
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Funny, I thought it was a good, accurate article.
Alpha Xi Delta
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Old 06-14-2002, 01:20 PM
Chop1228 Chop1228 is offline
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So why was only the greek system targeted and shut-down at Alfred? Sounds like a bigger problem with other groups than fraternities. I know at my school I know about more sports teams that haze than fraternities.

Lambda Chi Alpha
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Old 06-14-2002, 06:28 PM
Tom Earp Tom Earp is offline
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Thumbs up


Greeks were known as the Hazing Groups, PERIOD! We catch all kinds of heat when it happens!

Yes, it happens in Highschools, Sprots teams and any other thing that you would mention.

But we take the heat for it!

I had a young man in the store today who is a SPE memember in another Kansas School and we were talking about this very thing! He said he was hazed and hazed the next 3 classes. He finally figured out it was wrong and fought to have IT CHANGED! I Salute Him and his Brothers of SPE!

This needs to be done! Hazing and Alcohol abuse is only going to hurt us all!

I hope that all of the Internationals at Alfred U Stand up and say wait a minute!

i know we as LXA on GC are doing a Grass Root thing to get the Brothers to back our chapter there!!!!!

I hope anyone who has a chapter there do the same!

I know of LXSA, KS, DZ, there Well the one who had the problem!

Give them your support!!!!!!l

LX Z # 1
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Old 06-14-2002, 07:21 PM
lifesaver lifesaver is offline
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Yes it happens in our community, and we are taking steps to eliminate it. You dont end 150 years of habit overnight. Shit, LXA ended pledging 30 years ago and we still have soem chapters out there who use the term. Ya dont climb the mountain overnight.

But yeah, lets look at the millitary WAY before we look at greeks. And I'm not even talking about rough physical training to prepare for millitary service. ask ANYONE who was ever in the navy aboard a ship what happened to them the first time they crossed the equator. Lets just say it involves a cherry, a mouth, whipped cream, and the fattest basterd on board. "Oh but its tradition" BullShit. Sounds like all of us about 30 years ago. I think I counted 1 maybe 2 references to military in the article... oh, but I guess since they have their own hospitals and dont come through her "emergency department" it doesnt count. Fluck off.
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Old 06-14-2002, 07:41 PM
Tom Earp Tom Earp is offline
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Damn ACK ACK youse do get riled up, but so right!

LX Z # 1
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