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					     Section II

Responsibility to Others
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If we believe that fraternities are, in fact, ideal vehicles to foster all the most positive
and honorable aspects of men and manhood and, if we are true to Alpha Sigma Phi’s
purpose To Better The Man, then, one truth is quite obvious: hazing has no place in
our Fraternity:
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The Origins of Hazing
Some believe that hazing has its roots in ancient and primitive rites of initiating
adolescent boys into manhood through a series of trials designed to prove
worthiness and fitness as a member of the tribe or societal unit. After all, a man
who could not hunt food and defend his village and family was not of much use as
a citizen or, frankly, as a husband and father. While there would certainly be a
logical reason for such “rite of passage” ceremonies, the excesses to which some
fraternities and sororities have gone has no similar pragmatic justification.

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Hazing, as we see it today, may actually grow out of a basic primeval, animalistic
urge within men. Some researchers have suggested that often men who haze were
verbally or physically abused as children and hazing gives them a way to rebuild
their self-worth. As far as the Greek system is concerned, there is speculation that
hazing in fraternities may have begun in the 1940s and 1050s when World War II
veterans returning to school on the GI Bill, brought military practices to fraternity
rituals, including hazing.
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“The real secret to a responsible initiation is to have responsible men in charge,”
Baber offered in an interview with the Tomahawk of Alpha Sigma Phi (1994).
This is where chapters must rise to the challenge of leadership. Consistent with
this idea is an elimination of any semblance of a caste system between pledges
and initiated Brothers.

     Hazing is about power and
     control, not tradition                 Click Once
The Effects of Hazing
Regrettably there continue to be instances of hazing occurring every day. The
following recent incidents indicate that we have much work to do in eradicating
hazing from the fraternity experience:
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•Fall 1999. A University of Michigan fraternity is suspended for injuring a pledge
with a BB shot in his groin area.
•Fall 1997. A pledge of Sigma Alpha Epsilon dies after consuming enormous
amount of alcohol after receiving a membership bid at Louisiana State University.
•Fall 1997. A pledge of Phi Gamma Delta dies after consuming enormous amounts
of alcohol after receiving a membership bid at Massachusetts Institute of
•Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority is suspended at DePauw University after burning
pledges on their wrists with cigarettes.
•A Southeast Missouri State University student dies after his fraternity brothers hit
him in the head during a hazing ritual at Kappa Alpha Psi
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•Indiana University student is hospitalized after being struck 100 times in the
buttocks, neck and face by members of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.
To date, at least thirty-eight states have legislation making hazing illegal. As
The Laurel of Phi Kappa Tau notes, “Penalties range from misdemeanors to
felonies. A felony conviction is a permanent record, something individual
men or women cannot hide from corporate recruiters.”
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Between 1923 and 1997 there were over 170 reported cases of injuries and
deaths that were related to fraternity hazing incidents. The injuries reported
included burns, cold exposure, heat exhaustion, food poisoning, laxative
poisoning, gunshots, asphyxia, electrocution, cannon and beer-keg explosions,
exacerbation of previous cardiac and blood disorders, and other forms of
physical, sexual, and psychological torture.

                                       And so, let us begin, in chapter houses,
                                       chapter rooms, chapter lounges, and
                                       residence hall rooms across the country.
                                       Let’s talk about what Fraternity means. And
                                       let’s remember what Alpha Sigma Phi
                        Click Once     stands for when we initiate new Brothers
                                       into our fold.
Some of the more specific and blatant acts endured by prospective Greek brothers
and sisters during hazing include being:
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•Forced to eat and drink against their will enormous amounts of alcohol or various
concoctions of other drinks and food
•Deprived of sleep
•Abused physically including paddling
•Forced to enter the chapter house through the back door
•Treated as a servant and subjected to extreme forms of embarrassment including: ridicule
in public, forced nudity, forced to wear certain distasteful clothing, discouraged from
attending classes, forced to commit various disgusting sex acts
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Hazing activities are defined as: “Any action taken or situation created, intentionally, whether
on or off fraternity premises, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment,
or ridicule. Such activities may include but are not limited to the following: use of alcohol; paddling
in any form; creation of excessive fatigue; physical and psychological shocks, guests, treasure hunts,
scavenger hunts, road trips or any other such activities carried on outside or inside of the confines of
the chapter house; wearing of public apparel which is conspicuous and not normally in good taste;
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engaging in public stunts and buffoonery; moral degrading or humiliating games and activities; and
any other activities which are not consistent with fraternal law, ritual or policy or the regulations
and policies of the educational institution.”
Most of the aforementioned incidents involved alcohol, which indicates a cler lack of
judgment on the part of the chapter leadership, specifically the new member educator
and chapter president who are directly responsible for insuring that their prospective
brothers are treated with respect and dignity.
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Alcohol’s Role in the College Fraternity
You could call it an epidemic. Almost every day, the news media reports another
incident of underage and binge drinking on the campuses of our colleges and
universities. People get hurt. People die. But the problem continues.
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Alcohol use and abuse has been ranked the number one problem on college
campuses for years. Alcohol is considered the most widely used drug among college
students. Even though most students experiment with alcohol prior to their arrival
on campus, the frequency and amount of alcohol consumption markedly increasing
while at college. Alcohol use and abuse by today’s students is a significant factor in
physical violence, unwanted and regretted sex, sexual assault, automobile accidents,
missed classes, low grades, property damage and deaths on campuses across the
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Virtually every study of drinking behaviors on college campuses shows that the
most problematic drinking occurs within Greek organizations. The causes and
reasons behind such destructive behavior are puzzling, but some factors that come
into play include lack of institutional responsibility for, or disinterest in, the
behavior of Greek members, to the powerful influence of a chapter’s culture that
rewards and maintains high levels of drinking, to lack of advisory support and
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The problem is puzzling. Why has drinking become so pervasive? Why is
there more underage drinking today than ever before? Health officials, campus
administrators, sociologists, psychologists and many parents grapple for
answers. But the problem is as diverse as our society. Alcohol abuse crosses
all socio-economic, religious, and ethnic lines. It negatively impacts student
life at small campuses and large. And it has created a reactive whiplash as
solutions are sought and implemented.
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While most in-depth reports of underage and binge drinking report that the problem
has become systemic, men and women’s general fraternities and sororities can
easily be singled out. No one will deny the reputation, some say deservedly earned,
that fraternities have with alcohol. And some say that fraternities need to be part ofOnce
the solution, not the problem.
For the past several years, individual fraternities and organizations like the North
American Interfraternity Conference and the National Panhellenic Conference have
studied the abuse of alcohol, how it affects our members and what impact it has on our
future. Many Greek-letter organizations have reacted with policies to establish
substance-free or alcohol-free housing and alcohol-free events-regardless of legal
drinking age-with enforcement being as strict as revocation of a chapter’s charter.

The root of this disclosure is to discover why alcohol has become such a focus in
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fraternity life and how do we redirect that focus. For Alpha Sigma Phi, this has
primarily meant a solid return to our founding principles and to place academic
achievement, service to others and development of close friendships at the top of our
chapter’s agenda.

                                          Virtually every study of
                                          drinking in college shows
                                          that the heaviest, most
                                          frequent, and most
                                          problematic drinking is
                                          done in college
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To date, here are a few ways Alpha Sigma Phi is addressing this issue:

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•Continue to recruit responsible men to our organization
•Implement an effective risk management policy that includes
advocating use of third party vendors at social events
•Actively give support to all applicable laws and regulations concerning
•Provide incentives for chapters choosing to have substance-free
•Provide education on the issue
•Provide discounts on liability insurance to incident-free chapters
•Support campus initiatives in risk management
•Mandate that each new colony and chapter adopt substance-free
housing policies                                                         Click Once
While the issue is still being studied, and resolutions are being sought, Alpha
Sigma Phi specifically asks of all our members, undergraduate and alumni alike, to
be responsible and legal. The fraternity’s future is in the hands of its newest
members to accept the challenge of returning to the founding principles of Alpha
Sigma Phi Fraternity, while abandoning the notion that fraternity is built around a
bond of alcohol.

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  The issue is really quite                The Fraternity’s future
  simple… unless Greeks                    is in the hands of its
  solve their drinking                     newest members to
  problem, they will cease                 accept the challenge
  to exist!                                of returning to our
                                           founding principles,
                                           while abandoning the
                                           notion that fraternity
                                           is built around a bond
                                           of alcohol.                  Click Once
  Alpha Sigs can play an important leadership role on college campuses by doing
  the following, as recommended by the BACCHUS/GAMMA Peer Education
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1. Reform the Chapter Norms. If we continue to tell brothers that everyone is
   drunk and running amok on campus, they will continue to try to “fit in” to that
   perceived norm. The chapter needs to start communicating positive, healthy
2. Emphasize “Life” Skills. Your brothers heard the lecture in high school on
   alcohol. They do not want to hear it again. But they do want to hear about
   other matters pertinent to their daily lives like stress, social situations, and
   relationships, and how to cope with these, without abusive drinking.
   Encourage the chapter to seek out way sto provide programming in these
   important areas.
3. Make personal Responsibility Mean Something. This means that brothers
   will be held accountable for their actions. The chapter doesn’t need new or
   tougher policies on campus or within the chapter; we just need to follow
   through and take seriously the ones we have.
  4. Empower Fellow Chapter Members. When the Greeks are asked to
     organize their brothers to take care of their environment, they want it,
     own it, and protect it. When something belongs to them, when they have
     a clear stake in an issue, they will be motivated to make the best of it.
  5. Have peers Teaching Peers. College students make decisions based on
     attitudes, not information, and their attitudes are formed primarily by the
     influence of peers. They listen better to each other. Have chapter
     members teach each other, so that administrators are not prompted to do
     so instead.
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These five strategies can help position college fraternities and sororities to take a
leadership role in the area of alcohol education and prevention. This in turn will
ensure a bright future for Greek Life to remain a true complement to the college
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