Last week, Miami’s Interfraternity Council (IFC) suspended all fraternity activity due to reports of hazing and enforced an early initiation deadline for all new fraternity members.
Prior to the suspension, Miami had seven social fraternities (and one sorority) recently either under investigation, suspended or banned from campus. There was reason to freeze fraternity life long before last Tuesday, but the university waited until now.
We have known that these problems existed for a long time. In 2015, Sigma Nu was accused of forcing pledges to drink 100 beers during rush and preventing them from showering or shaving, and Phi Kappa Psi was suspended at the same time for hazing-related underage drinking — and that’s just what got reported.
Just think about the stories you’ve heard from friends or classmates who went through pledging, or even what you went through yourself.
This decision follows those of Ohio State University, the University of Michigan and Indiana University, who all recently suspended fraternity-related activities. Several more schools around the country have shut down Greek life altogether in the last year, following alcohol-related deaths of fraternity members.
No Miami students have died in incidents of hazing. But it took the deaths of students elsewhere to spur this response.
It is evident that this move comes not in reaction to an increase in hazing activity but in reaction to the actions taken by other schools. In other words, it’s no secret that most Miami fraternities have been engaging in hazing for years, and, in typical fashion, Miami has only chosen to take clear and firm action now that other schools have done so first.
IFC made the right decision to suspend all fraternity activity while the university investigates hazing allegations. This is the most direct action the university has taken to combat its hazing problem.
But it would be naïve to think this move will put a full stop to hazing and other problems associated with Greek life, regardless of how long the suspension lasts.
Don’t think that just because pledges were officially initiated last Friday, they will be treated as full and active members. Some — if not all — upperclassmen in fraternities will continue to carry out the hazing traditions they once endured. And, even though fraternities won’t be able to rent bars or host house parties, social activities will still occur underground.
Hazing is a criminal activity in Ohio, and though allegations can be anonymously reported through EthicsPoint, they can’t be investigated (and hopefully stamped out) unless individual students report these incidents to police and come forward by name.
You can report hazing to MUPD, OPD, the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, your RA — pretty much any Miami employee.
If we want to live up to our name as the “Mother of Fraternities,” it’s time to look out for one another.