Fraternity Hazing – Who is Protecting UVic Students?

A Man with his head in the sand

The current UVSS policy on GLOs

A recent article published by The Gateway, the University of Alberta’s student run newspaper recently published an expose on a hazing incident involving the U of A DKE chapter. Pledges were allegedly forced to stay within the fraternity’s house for days with little sleep. They were allegedly forced to consume large amounts of food, when some pledges vomited they were allegedly forced to eat their own vomit. Pledges were allegedly confined in small places, forced to listen to loud repetitive music and were allowed approximately two hours of sleep over the course of three nights. The U of A DKE chapter has since had its status as a student group suspended by the Dean of Students and the U of A IFC – their Inter-Fraternity Council. This has raised some questions about UVic’s current situation with GLOs. Questions pondered after the jump.

The University of Alberta chapter of DKE has had its student group status suspended, hit the block quote for what that means.

The suspension of DKE’s student group status means that they lose the privileges that come with student group registration, which includes the ability to book space at the university, rent university equipment, or use the university name and insignia. This suspension has no impact on individuals within the fraternity.

Clearly, the U of A folk aren’t fooling around. Their action was swift and decisive. Should the allegations prove to be true, it’s likely that the U of A IFC would not allow DKE back on campus. Barring that, the DKE website has a very clear risk management outline that is very strongly anti-hazing, and the DKE’s will likely lose recognition as a chapter should the allegations prove true.

The University of Alberta handled the situation quickly and with their students welfare in mind, but what would happen if something similar were to happen here at UVic? The DKE’s are set up here in Victoria, like it or not. I’ve spoken to several members and the general consensus is “We’re not going anywhere.” I have no problem with the presence of DKE members in our student body, and in fact am proud to call some of them friends. However, in a few years once this well-meaning, founding group of DKEs moves on, who is protecting students from a similar fate as the U of A pledge class? What if another fraternity were to set up here in Victoria with less accountability than the DKEs?

At the UVSS’s most recent AGM, our student voting populace chose a head in the sand policy that ignores fraternities and sororities. With a policy like this, should students encounter hazing at one of these non-recognized fraternities there is no course of action the UVSS can take to prevent the hazing from continuing. One of the large talking points at the AGM was concern over safety of those present, and was subsequently why a secret ballot was the method of voting rather than the usual raised hands. Shouldn’t the UVSS be concerned about the safety of students at all times, not just when a few timid voters request it?

Keeping the recent turn of events at U of A in mind, shouldn’t there be a watchdog group making sure students are safe? The fraternity is closely connected to the UVic, and while the UVSS may choose to ignore them, they will still be on campus, actively recruiting students to join their group. This in itself is not a problem, but hazing is not an uncommon occurrence within the Greek system. The UVSS needs to stand up and defend its students. By recognizing GLOs, the UVSS can then create policy that will protect students from hazing rituals and reprimand groups that choose to haze their prospective members. Student safety should be paramount to antiquated rhetoric about how GLOs are sexist, racist, elitist and whatever other negative word you’d like to associate with them.

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    • Really?
    • November 2nd, 2010

    Hazing is illegal, end of story. The UVSS recognizing them does not prevent this. Spending student resources to babysit these institutions is insane. Any members or groups that participate in these barbaric acts of initiation should and will be prosecuted under the law and the UVSS as a watchdog does not change this. This is a simplistic and subversive way to get under the fold of the UVSS and use and abuse student resources. Just want to make sure you know we can all see through this sad attempt to sway opinion. Students spoke loud and clear. If you want to join a frat or sorority goto UBC.

  1. Re: Really?

    A few points, if I may.

    1. I am not in any way affiliated with any fraternity, nor do I desire to be.

    2. Yes hazing is illegal, but if you’ll click through my links you will note that it still happens. With UVSS recognition, the board gains a modicum of control over this. Without recognition, students that need help would have to find the appropriate channel. The police are unappealing as legal action takes years and requires students to come forward without anonymity – something many anti-GLO activists were hesitant to do at the relatively anonymous AGM this year.

    3. A UVSS watchdog group could be entirely funded by the GLOs. Want to start a chapter? Charge ’em! Want to host an event on campus? Charge ’em! Want to use the UVSS graphix department to promote their events? Charge ’em! Want to keep your chapter on campus? Charge ’em yearly dues! Earmark some of this money for Pride and the AVP.

    4. GLOs don’t need student resources seeing as how they charge membership fees. I’m not advocating the UVSS giving GLOs money, quite the opposite actually.

    5. Of course I’m trying to sway opinion – so are you. I feel the U of A example is a good one; a frat was caught operating against policy and action was taken. Video was sent to the campus newspaper, who broke the story which allowed an investigation to begin.

    6. Look at the failure of prohibition and the war on drugs. It’s becoming more and more evident that outlawing something dangerous pushes it underground, making it more dangerous and unsafe. There are ways to keep students safe, make money from GLOs and prevent issues like hazing.

    • An ounce of prevention…
    • November 3rd, 2010

    …is worth a pound of cure.

    I like the idea of a “watchdog group funded by the GLOs” like you’ve spelled it above, but that option was simply not on the table during the AGM. Maybe if it was, the result would have been different. Between a choice of GLOs having free reign, and an institutional ban on using any of our resources to support them, I like the ban.

    The GLOs claim that they are here to stay. We’ll see. This is not the first time this has happened. GLOs have tended to die out at UVic over the past thirty years. One will start up, be prevented from benefiting from institutional ties… and then they’ll disappear. One or two GLOs existing outside of the institution doesn’t really constitute a dramatic change on our campus. But incorporate them into the rules, and pretty soon there will be dozens of them and… ba dum… suddenly we’re a UBC clone. Yay!

    • Who should be protecting pledges?
    • November 3rd, 2010

    The cops.

    In fact, the very idea that the university needs to serve as a watchdog for everything students do off campus is silly. If my roommate and I have out-of-control house parties in Fairfield, do we need to have the university come and shut it down? No. That’s… the cops.

    The University and the Students’ Society’s mandate ends at the edge of campus.

    • Andrew A
    • November 5th, 2010

    I would argue that a watchdog function *was* on the table at the AGM.

    The UVSS would not be the watchdog though, the University would have been. The whole issue came to the AGM because the University would not sign off on a letter that the National Pan-Hellenic Council required for the Sorority interest group to create a chapter without UVSS approval. If in the future the Sorority undertook practices that the University did not approve of, the University could have sent a letter to the National Pan-Hellenic Council to revoke it’s support of the Sorority and as a result, the NPC would cease to recognize the chapter.

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