Hazing: harmless or hurtful?

The+girls%27+lacrosse+team+poses+with+new+team+members%2C+who+are+wearing+green+outfits+as+part+of+their+welcoming+to+the+team.+

courtesy of Megan Arbor

The girls' lacrosse team poses with new team members, who are wearing green outfits as part of their welcoming to the team.

In January, Duke University chose to temporarily suspend sorority activities due to a hazing event which left a vying member for a sorority house in the hospital. While the school partially lifted the temporary band shortly after the incident, the headlines left many angry.

However, the situation which happened in Durham is not uncommon. Handfuls of colleges across the nation have been exposed for practicing hazing, whether it be towards athletes, pledges, or even just new students.

Hazing is defined as the imposition of strenuous, often humiliating, tasks as part of a program of rigorous physical training and initiation. However, many see certain tasks for newbies as welcoming, an opportunity to learn how it will be to run with a certain group.

For a handful of sports teams and clubs at Central, there are many welcoming activities that raise questions. Is this allowed? Is it too demoralizing?

While the instances at Central are not quite as drastic as ones experienced on college campuses, there are many obscure rituals which are practiced by a handful of groups within the school. On announcing the new varsity teammates, the girls lacrosse team woke up their players early in the morning and had them dress in a variety of interesting outfits. Other clubs and teams have new members perform songs or do dances.

So, is this hazing? At the end of the day, there is really no one answer to these questions. For some, welcoming tactics may be humiliating. Others may find them sufficiently entertaining and enjoyable. No matter the view one takes on hazing, it’s vital to remember the importance of not taking things too far.