“W HAT M AKES A G OOD B ROTHER? - FROM HEAT TO HEROES” - A HOT EXPERIENCE FINDS TRUE BROTHERHOOD
ENGAGE. COLLABORATE. INSPIRE.
‘H’ W ORD” - E NOUGH
ABOUT HAZING, ALREADY! L ET’ S GET REAL AND MOVE ON, MAKING HAZING A THING OF THE PAST .... 3
“REMOVING HAZING: REPLACING FALSE TIES WITH G ENUINE A CCOMPLISHMENT ” - NOW IS THE
North Central District
CHALLENGE AND OPPORTUNITY
What Makes a Good Brother? From Heat to Heroes What makes a good Brother? This seems to be an often asked, but never satisfactorily answered question. We can all probably name a few traits such as integrity, genuine interest in service, and good musicianship, but there is one qualifier that we often forget about. This is something that we rarely get the chance to see in others or even exhibit ourselves. What’s more is that in the moments we show this, we probably are not even thinking about it. The Western Michigan University Bronco Marching Band had the opportunity to travel to Ann Arbor for the season opener the University of Michigan. The game came after a very hot week of band camp and would prove to be the pinnacle of epic band camp weather. The Bronco Band left WMU at 7:30am and had morning rehearsal under a cloudless sky with temperatures around 90 degrees. After a short lunch, the band put on their hot and heavy band uniforms and marched their physically taxing "Street Beat" from the rehearsal area to the Big House (Michigan Stadium). The band arrived on the field roughly two hours before kickoff with a field temperature of 138 degrees (temperature, not heat index). By game time, it had only cooled down to 129 degrees. The moment the band arrived, they were instructed to get rid of their jackets and the pants followed soon after. Luckily, since the band did not have time
Joe Norton Mu Delta 2011-2012 NCD President
to return to the buses to change after morning rehearsal, everyone still had on their secondaries (official BMB Shorts and Tshirt) under their heavy wool uniforms. Furthermore, there was no water awaiting the band when they reached the hot field. This would not come for another 20 minutes. By the end of the game, five BMB members were hospitalized for heat exhaustion, another ten were admitted to the stadium med station, and countless others were required to take frequent breaks to the tunnel for water and to cool off. A massive storm would later roll in with insanely torrential rain and lightning, causing two game delays and eventually ending the game just over a minute before the end of the third quarter. This is not a story about the woe of the Bronco Band or about the heat, but rather about the amazing things that people did during this time to keep up both the spirits and the health of their fellow band members. For instance, the staff members that went in search of water had plenty of opportunities to stop in cool areas to recover but did not waste time as the other 250 band members were their priority. When water finally came, the first load was only enough for those who were in desperate need and the less dehydrated members passed the water along without complaint, despite their thirstiness.
I saw people make sacrifices that day by pulling themselves up and fighting through the heat not for themselves, but to help take care of their fellow human beings. I heard words of encouragement such as "keep strong," and never words of belittlement such as "tough it out, wimp," or "stop whining." I never even heard whining. Come half time, band members were helping others focus on the task of performing and not letting them focus on their fatigue. That day, I saw amazing people do great things, not because they took an oath or were charged to do so. It was not because someone expected them to be the strong ones because of their position in a chapter or in the band, nor was it because they wanted something to look good on their résumé. These amazing people did what they did for one reason – they are amazing people simply doing what needed to be done. Many of these amazing people happened to be brothers, which made me proud to be in Kappa Kappa Psi, but many were simply your ordinary band members, which makes me even more proud simply to be a member of a college band. So what is that one trait, that one qualifier we often never see tested? It is being a good person. Good people make great brothers. A great brother is someone is does what is right for their fellow man, their band, their chapter, and their brothers not only because a document or creed told them it was right, but because it is genuinely right by them.
Removing Hazing Replacing False Ties with Genuine Accomplishment Hazing is a continuing plague in many aspects of America. Unfortunately, we see it in some college bands. Even worse, we see it in some band members that we look to as leaders (whether students, directors, or alumni). While most band members do not haze, everyone has a responsibility to actively remove hazing from the life of the national college band movement. The fundamentals are universal: Care about how others are treated Form strong relationships Do not tolerate abusive behavior Create genuine and appropriately challenging tasks that actively build better musicians and leaders.
Malinda Matney, Ph.D. 2011-2013 Vice Chair Board of Trustees
Kappa Kappa Psi has actively worked to address this problem on a larger scale. Rather than simply react to every individual act of hazing (sadly, this is work that Kappa Kappa Psi’s national leadership still must do), Kappa Kappa Psi has charged a task force with recommending and designing a more comprehensive, long-term plan to move forward and eradicate hazing from the college band movement. This is a tall order, one that needs every band member to give his or her best efforts.
Why do we care? Time and effort spent hazing is not time and effort spent creating great musicians or superior leaders, or providing music to our campuses. Instead, time and effort spent hazing only destroys the lives of the hazed, the hazers, and the community around them. People who haze cost everybody money, through tuition and other increased fees. Risk management costs have risen sharply primarily because of the damage of hazing in our past and the threat of hazing to our future. Financially, hazing is a dominant threat to campuses. A perception of hazing threatens the growth of college bands. Instead of bringing in outstanding college musicians on some campuses, bands who haze attract only those who tolerate or accept hazing – not outstanding musicians and leaders. Leaders walk away from hazing. People who tolerate hazing destroy educational opportunities. When people look the other way, they permit the hazers to absorb the time and energy that every band leader would prefer to put into developing concerts, learning more challenging music, delving into leadership, and other ideas big and small to promote college bands and those who perform in them. People who look the other way hand leadership over to hazers. College bands are intended to lead the culture, not be dragged down into the lowest behaviors we see around us. Every musician is called to join in the work. The work is already in front of us – every member of the college community, including faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni. This is not simply a student concern. Everyone is called to not simply stand by and wait for action, but to make action happen. I’m just a student, and not a student leader. What can I do? You do not need a title or position. “Just students” can do much to eradicate hazing: Say something. If you see or hear something that looks or sounds questionable in your band, ask questions and speak out with your fellow band members. Even something as simple as “why in the world would we do that?” is effective in reducing so many actions. Hazing thrives in secrecy. Talk about it. Challenge it! Ensure that every member of your band is fully aware of the calendar of events, and is an active participant. Sometimes hazing thrives when some events become “optional” with a wink and nod to allow those who don’t like hazing to leave and look the other way. Be active everywhere in your program. Become fully aware of every possible resource for hazing prevention within your band program and your campus, and make that information widely available to members of your band program, alumni of your program, and even parents of band members. When people talk about how great/valuable/funny hazing is, challenge that position. Do not shrug and laugh at a “back in the day” story. This can be a moment to educate the person telling the story and to remind today’s band members that we are not back in that day. These steps do not make you an unfun person, nor a weak one. Opposing hazing, and supporting the true values of college bands, makes you a strong person who wants everyone around you to enjoy music and grow to be excellent in every way. You will notice that this work is about values, accomplishment, and relationships. In most areas of society, it is not the strong performers who haze, but the weak ones. Hazers actively seek to reduce the quality of your ensemble (or an athletic team’s performance, or a fraternity or sorority’s academic engagement). Hazers fear real work and quality. This work will not be easy. Those who threaten the true values of college bands will try every method to silence those who oppose hazing. However, living up to our work calls us to be strong. Keeping college bands vital into the future requires our strength. Now is the challenge – and the opportunity.
Hazing is morally wrong because it has the potential to hurt. It’s just that simple... My son will be going to college in less than two years. He is in his junior year of high school, and we are working on our list of potential colleges. When he arrives, he will be eager to fit in at the small, private college he chooses. There, he will want to find friends, make a place for himself, and find his family away from home. He will likely join some campus organizations, quite possibly a fraternity since his dad has been so involved in fraternity life. And it scares the hell out of me. There’s a part of me that sincerely hopes he doesn’t join a fraternity. I worry that he will be hazed. See, here’s how it could go… Some sophomore in his fraternity who has been elected “pledge educator” will firmly believe that he understands the best way to build unity in his chapter. In his mind, the harmless activities they do – which might include yelling, alcohol, embarrassment, servitude activities – are part of the fraternity’s tradition. They build character, he thinks. Break the pledges down so we can build them back up as brothers, the reasoning goes. Because, after all, who knows better the mechanics of building character than some 19-year-old pledge educator? Clearly, by this fraternity’s way of thinking, my son’s parents did not do a good enough job of that. What this young man won’t know is my son’s history. He won’t know about his abusive birth father who beat his mother in front of him. He won’t know about the birth father’s sexual abuse of his sister in the room next to his. All this naive pledge educator will see is my son’s pleasant demeanor, confident smile, and smart mouth. He won’t see what lies much deeper inside. The pledge educator won’t know how my son
responds to frustration or humiliation. Why should he? Because my son places a high value on being “one of the guys,” he will go along with it. He won’t want to wimp out. His desire to belong will overrule his better thinking. He’s a teenager, after all. I have no idea how that fraternity’s silliness might affect my son. It is entirely possible that a bunch of stupid activities meant to bring my son into their fraternity will actually drive him to a pretty dark place. If they humiliate him in some way, he won’t respond well. It’s enough to scare a father to death. There are hundreds of reasons why hazing is wrong. I’ll let others talk about how it goes against the values of your campus organization, or how it actually tears at the cohesiveness of a group. I don’t care to recite the anti-hazing laws or the national policies of your organizations. Those are all fine and valid reasons not to haze. They should be enough. But, my reason is more personal. I do not think that the average college student organizing “silly” activities that qualify as hazing has any idea of the harm he could be inflicting on a young man or woman he is hazing. Unknowingly, he could be doing deep psychological damage. Even to just one kid. And, that’s morally wrong in my mind. Inflicting harm on another person, intentionally or not, is abhorrent. There are thousands of good kids out there searching for a place to belong on their college campus. You can’t tell from looking at them, but they’ve been through a lot. Some, like my son, spent years in the foster care system. Others were abused, or dealt with addictions of their parents. Some have spent years finding the right balance of medications to keep
T.J. Sullivan CEO, CAMPUSPEAK www.tjsullivan.com them productive. You have no idea what hidden harm lies beneath that kid’s smile. You have no idea what they are willing to endure to belong. You have no idea what injuries you are reopening. You have no idea how that kid is going to be affected in the moment you haze, in the weeks that follow, in the years to come. National Hazing Prevention Week starts today. I’m proud to have played a role in starting it, and I did that because I worry about my son. I want him to be able to go to college, make friends, join a group, and be a happy young man. As a student leader, you have the opportunity right now to stand up on your campus and simply say, “Hazing is wrong.” Don’t wait for someone to die, or be rushed to the hospital. Don’t wait for your college or university to crack down. Don’t wait for your national organization to put you on probation. Stand up now and say, “Hazing is wrong.” It’s immoral, and there are better ways. There are no valid reasons to haze. Not one. In 25 years as a fraternity man, I’ve never heard a justification for hazing that is more valid than the importance of treating every person with dignity. Plain and simple. As a fraternity man, I’ve always known this. As a father, I am 100percent certain. If we are able to eradicate hazing, it will be because student leaders like you made it happen. It has to come from you.
What Your District Officers are Doing With Leadership Conference just around the corner, preparation has been well underway to make this a worthwhile set of workshops for all chapters. Although it may seem far off in the distance, the road to convention is already being paved as well! - Joe Norton, President
Aside from compiling this publication, I have been working to prepare to begin notifying chapters about awards and other upcoming programs. I cannot wait for block season to roll around! - Jason Mlady, VPP
I have been working to provide excellent discussion topics on the NCD Facebook page while also rebuilding my VPM database of information. I am looking forward to receiving MEP submissions! - Chris Grapis, VPM
Recently, most of my effort has been put into planning workshops for the District Leadership Conference on October 9th, but I have also been filling out reimbursement paperwork as well as keeping the ledger nice and tidy. - Kyle von Neumann, Secretary/Treasurer
Using the “H” Word
Have you ever had the feeling that you have heard so much about hazing that Jason Mlady talking about it just one more time would be Gamma Pi hazing in and of itself? Personally, I know 2011-2012 that it seems that any more talk of hazing NCD VPP may very well push me off the deep end. Like it or not, though, it is still going on. This week we are called to pay special attention to our practices, as we kick off National Hazing Prevention Week. Why did hazing ever come to be in the first place? I have always assumed that it was to build up camaraderie between brothers (or sisters, peers, acquaintances, coworkers, etc.) by creating a memorable shared experience. Now, I may not know each of you personally, but it would probably be a fairly safe hedge to bet that you would rather share a common positive memory with your friends than sharing a horrid, unforgettable scene as a “cherished” memory. Fortunately, many student organizations have progressed past the days of hazing being commonplace to a much more positive, synergistic approach to bonding. Still, though, our favorite topic (hint: it starts with an “H” and rhymes with “blazing”) is popping up left and right, constantly bombarding us
with concern about every little activity our organization does. If you have yet to hear enough about the topic, feel free to do a quick Google search and comb through the 5.14 million hits on the word “hazing.” That could be a fun way to spend an afternoon or twenty! In all seriousness, though, it is important to not forget the seriousness of the topic of hazing. I know brothers from past membership classes here at Purdue that went through processes that are, today, known as hazing-related events. It would not be a shot in the dark to say that many of you may know a brother, sister, or just a friend who may have been through a similar situation. One thing that Gamma Pi has been doing recently, thanks to the great leadership of our local Vice President for Membership, Mark Hamilton, is going through our Membership Education Process line by line, identifying any part of the process that we may feel is unnecessary, pointless, or can be interpreted as hazing. I challenge your chapters to do the same in some manner. Saying “hazing” three times and clicking the heels of your red ruby slippers is not going to make it go away. What can we do? We can keep being the best brothers possible, and foster a true environment to strive for the highest!
25th—Delta Omega Colony Installation 30th—Dues and Personnel Reports DUE
9th— District Leadership Conference 18th—Alpha Beta First Degree
1st—Fall Activity Reports DUE
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This publication created, edited, and formatted by the North Central District Vice President of Programs. Many thanks go out to brothers Malinda Matney and Joe Norton, along with T.J. Sullivan, for this month’s submissions! AEA, Jason