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Bidding For Lives

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Bidding for Lives

College life brings many thoughts to mind...friendships, football , pizza, late nights, parties, fraternities, sororities, as well as racial discrimination, binge drinking, hazing and . The latter part of this list may not come naturally to most people, but they are frightening realities of the Greek system. Parents send their children to college assuming they will be in a safe, educational environment while enjoying all the benefits campus life has to offer, including fraternities and sororities. They do not expect a phone call in the early hours of the morning notifying them of their child's . Since March of 2000, over 60 people have died in events associated with fraternities, alcohol and/or hazing (Marklein p. A3). Greek life and all its implications should be examined more closely before anyone commits to join such an organization.

Thousands of college students across the country participate in the Greek System at their university. People generally become members of Greek organizations to aid in meeting new people and to participate in a social and community service organization. At many schools, the Greeks have their own headquarters or houses where the members meet, live, eat, and host social functions. The University of Alabama's website claims, "Greek life is a jointure - a time when friendships are cemented and close ties are woven between members through living, studying, working, and competing together. These relationships go beyond ordinary friendship and become like those of family - often lasting a lifetime" (Greek Life). These "friendships" are sometimes established after pledges endure humiliating and dangerous hazing leading up to initiation.

Often overlooked, excessive drinking plagues students on college campuses nationwide, but the drinking practices of sororities and fraternities have spiraled out of control. A national survey of college students by Harvard researchers found that nearly half of males and more than a third of females engage in binge drinking. Among Greek students the numbers skyrocket: 86% of fraternity members and 80% of sorority members living in chapter houses are likely to engage in binge drinking (Marklein). The frequent focus fraternities and sororities place on alcohol encourages excessive consumption, unfortunately causing the development of alcoholism and incidents of alcohol poisoning.

The term hazing is defined as "any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person" (UMass). Whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of food, liquor, beverages, , brutal treatment, extended isolation, sleep deprivation, and forced physical activities that adversely affect physical health and safety are just some known acts of hazing that Greek members may force their "brothers" and "sisters" to undergo. Imagine getting an update from your college student. Your freshman son calls home, reporting he has just made the lacrosse team and is excited to receive his fraternity pin the next day. The following morning the phone rings, but it is not your beloved child. A policeman calls to inform you that your son had just died of alcohol poisoning, his body being found face down on the floor of his fraternity house. This scenario reflects the reality of Lyn Bailey, mother of fraternity hazing victim Gordie Bailey who was found in his fraternity house with racial slurs written all over his body and a alcohol level of .328 (Allan). Countless students seeking entry into the Greek system are subjected to these dangerous, often ly, initiation rites.

Hazing practices, combined with



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