Leading the Fight Against Hazing
lthough most chapters do not haze, the practice creeps into our chapters far too often. Unfortunately, in just over two years’ time, the Fraternity has had to close 11 chapters for hazing, which is why we call it the number one killer of fraternity chapters. There is zero tolerance for hazing in Phi Gamma Delta, on the campuses where we operate, and in society. It is contrary to our values, and it has no place in our fraternity. While hazing itself is an action, it is rooted in an attitude – an attitude that causes some people to do things to pledges in the fraternity setting that they would never do to their friends or mere acquaintances in other settings. The hazing attitude says, “These guys want to be Fijis so bad that they will do anything I tell them to do.” For some people with that attitude, “anything” might be seemingly innocuous requirements, but for others, “anything” could include dangerous behaviors involving alcohol, physical pain or mental stress. Here is the reality: No one knows what the “anything” limit is for any individual. But the hazing attitude – “these guys want to be Fijis so bad” – puts pledges’ well-being and the chapter’s future in the hands of any individual brother. Experience has shown that is too great a risk to bear. Therefore, we invite all those with an interest in the present and future of Phi Gamma Delta, and their own chapter, to Join the Fight to eliminate and prevent hazing. The Fraternity is committed to the elimination and prevention of hazing. Just over a year ago, the Archons adopted a new comprehensive Hazing Prevention Plan. Paramount in this plan is a
THE PHI GAMMA DELTA|SPRING 2020
recognition that no single action or policy will solve this problem. Instead, we aim for the cumulative impact of efforts around several key areas.
Rethink the Joining Process Phi Gamma Delta is rethinking how a man “becomes a Fiji.” This begins with the recruitment process, shifting our time of acclimation and evaluation so that the new member period is not an excuse to “weed out” those whom we did not get to know initially. The Fraternity will soon introduce a new New Member Education program that honors our foremost value of Friendship – focusing first on building the foundation of fraternity through productive and meaningful bonding experiences. Later this year the Fraternity will also introduce the framework for a continuing member development program. Too often a brother’s formal development as a Fiji ends at initiation. Our goal is to extend learning about the Fraternity and the Ritual throughout a brother’s undergraduate career and relieve the pressure to try to teach a man everything about being a Fiji before he is initiated.
Increased Training & Education We will provide increased training and educational opportunities to our New Member Educators and chapter officers to explain the Fraternity’s expectations regarding education and treatment of new members. Beginning last year, all Chapter Presidents and New Member Educators are required to complete online courses and signed agreements prior to the start of their New Member Education Program. Last summer, we launched The Summit, an annual conference, to provide training, strategies and tactics for both new member education and recruitment. Additional training and educational resources are