Letter to the Editor: Response to Ettinger on sorority recruitment

Ben Connelly

After reading a recent article in The Daily on hazing during sorority rush, I found myself unsurprised to hear that some people have a hard time during the process. That’s a well-known fact; however, I have never heard of the idea that this would qualify as “hazing.”

Picture a room filled with other people. You’re required to be there, but you aren’t sure exactly why. All of a sudden, a man walks on stage and starts asking people to stand up if they’re part of a group mentioned. “Rich,” “Poor,” “Mentally Ill,” “Addicts,” he applies labels to all sorts of people. You start getting uncomfortable and emotionally conflicted. You don’t have to stand up, but you know if you don’t, people will judge you even more.

This activity is the Diversity and Inclusion ENU, which, yes, falls under NU’s definition of hazing, even though it was probably the most liked of any of the ENUs. NU sees hazing “defined as any … situation created, intentionally or unintentionally, whether presented as optional or required, to produce: mental, physical, or emotional discomfort; servitude; degradation; embarrassment; harassment; or ridicule for the purpose of … affiliation with … in [an]… organization, regardless of an individual’s willingness to participate.”

What else falls under it. A sports team? An acapella group? If you mess up during an audition and feel like you embarrassed yourself, does that mean you were hazed? If SHAPE asks you to discuss your personal experiences with peer educating, if you get uncomfortable does that mean you were hazed?

Of course not. The University definition isn’t this wide so it can be applied to everything, it’s this wide so that any weird, awful offense not normally under the definition can be treated as such, and appropriately prosecuted. Calling everything hazing simply delegitimizes actual cases of hazing that happen on this campus, and works against solving the problem, not for it.

I’m not writing this to be condescending, but people have to understand that the sisters that participate in rush put seemingly endless hours toward meeting new people and picking new members. They aren’t doing this to “haze,” they’re doing this to bring a new pledge class into their family. Much of the drama is based off of stereotypes of certain organizations, not the organizations themselves. In fact, at the end of the day, the only remaining complaint is the weather.

And I’m afraid that’s a little trickier to solve.

— Ben Connelly, McCormick sophomore