It’s most significant that Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), one of the largest U.S. fraternities, has banned pledging. The fraternal organization says the reason for the change was the toll that hazing has taken on recruits, as well as the damage to the organization’s reputation. SAE calls its decision to eliminate pledging “historic.” For those who may not be familiar with what goes on in fraternal circles on college campuses, there is typically a months-long induction period featuring “secret rituals” and lots of “stupid” stuff done to pledges. During pledging, according to reports, recruits have been subjected to “forced drinking, severe paddling, humiliation and other abuses.” At least 10 deaths since 2006 have been linked to hazing, alcohol or drugs at SAE events, more than at any other fraternity, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.
SAE now becomes one of only a handful of about 75 national fraternities — and the most prominent — to eliminate pledging. Hopefully, the ban that took effect on March 11 will result in broader changes among Greek organizations on college campuses. There have been more than 60 fraternity-related deaths since 2005. Many victims were freshman pledges, considered the most vulnerable because many are away from home for the very first time. I strongly believe that all national fraternities should follow the lead of SAE and ban the pledging system. There is absolutely no reason for the sort of thing that led SAE to take its action to be a part of college life. Hopefully, most parents with youngsters about ready to enter college will agree.
Sources: Claims Journal and Bloomberg News
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