Fraternity pledge details UA’s culture of hazing

“Who wants to drop?” They’re asked as they run errands.

They’re asked as they do physically strenuous tasks on basement floors, “Who wants to drop?”

They’re asked constantly as their schedules are consumed with the duties and hazing associated with pledgeship, “Who wants to drop?”

Greek pledges at The University of Alabama live a life narrowly focused on making it to initiation into their fraternity of choice. For them, a word like “drop” is used as a weapon, daring them to quit in front of their pledge brothers.

“Basically, they tell us, like, the whole time we’re doing stuff they’ll be like, ‘Who wants to drop? Who wants to drop?’” a University of Alabama fraternity pledge told The Crimson White. “So they kind of like, put you on the spot. And at that point you’re thinking, ‘There’s no way I’m going to drop in front of all these people.’”

The pledge asked to remain anonymous, expressing concern that he would face immediate retribution from his fraternity if identified. He represents a group of pledges who, on Oct. 10, sent an anonymous email to The Crimson White saying the group has “reached our maximum, where we can no longer take the brutality of pledgeship and something must be done.”

The email followed the University’s response to another anonymous email, which was sent on Sept. 16 to UA administrators, demanding changes in pledgeship and threatening to take the issue to the national media. Less than 10 days later, the University suspended pledgeship for the week of Oct. 1-7. Dean of Students Tim Hebson said the action had nothing to do with that email.

“We get letters all the time, and usually they mention specific incidents if there’s a problem, and that one didn’t mention any specific incidents,” Hebson said Oct. 8. “If I acted every time I got a letter based on false information, I would be acting all the time. We only act on what’s factual.”

Physical Abuse

The fraternity pledge who spoke on the condition of anonymity described a series of hazing incidents and said he witnessed another pledge with a head injury that appeared to be serious.

“I saw a pledge bleeding out of his head, out of the back of his head,” he said. “So a kid I was with went up to him and asked him why he didn’t go to the hospital. And he said he was afraid if he went, someone – they’re obviously going to ask him what happened, and who did it, because that just doesn’t happen to you. So he just went to his room, his dorm – and I don’t know.”

The pledge said the back of the student’s head, from halfway between his hairline and crown down to his hairline, was raw. Detailing the same story in the email, the authors wrote that the pledge said he was afraid that if he went to the hospital or told anyone what happened it would happen again, the next time worse.

Less violent, but still physically straining and sometimes painful hazing incidents are common, the pledge told the CW. The pledge described one of these tasks as “bows and toes,” usually conducted on the concrete floor in the basement of a fraternity house. Pledges are ordered into a pushup-like position, but only allowed to only use their elbows, and forced to stay in the position for up to five minutes.

“I’ve heard people doing bows and toes and an active will come up and kick them in the ribs,” he said.

Alcohol also plays a major role in the physical abuse of pledgeship, the pledge said.

“So during pre-swaps, you can be forced to drink – a lot,” he said. “Well, it’s probably eight or nine beers, but it’s in like half an hour. So you don’t really get drunk, you just can’t physically keep the carbonation in your stomach and you have to throw it up.”

Psychological Abuse

Fear and intimidation, the psychological sides of hazing during pledgeship, often keep pledges from reporting injuries or other hazing incidents.

“I’d just say, basically, 24/7 you’re nervous, worried about getting a text or after getting a text you’re more worried about what could come next,” the pledge told the CW. “You’re always kind of looking around – even just walking from house to class, you always have to be watching out, looking around.”

When asked why he didn’t drop out of pledgeship, the pledge said actives in the fraternity threaten “blackballing,” or permanent alienation from the greek community.

“They, like, force it into you that if you drop, you’re going to be blackballed by the largest greek system in America,” he said.

Executive Director of the Counseling Center Lee Keyes said fear and intimidation are common characteristics of abusive situations in general.

“The use of fear and controlling behavior is common among perpetrators of all violence and abuse, with one intention being to maintain access to the victim,” Keyes said, speaking on abusive relationships in general, not hazing specifically.

Psychological, as well as physical, abuse could also explain why some – only 10 percent, by the pledge’s estimate – actives in fraternities participate in hazing at all.

“It is a well known fact that many, but of course not all, of those who have been in abusive relationships perpetuate the abuse themselves,” Keyes said.

When speaking about the psychological effects of pledgeship in his own experience, the pledge said that he has found himself doing things he wouldn’t have under normal circumstances.

For instance, at swaps, pledges are told to do things “just for the entertainment of your actives or sorority actives,” such as grinding on random girls or other “sexual things,” the pledge said.

“I wouldn’t say any sexual harassment boundaries would be crossed, but it’s definitely not something you would just go do because you felt it was all right,” the pledge said. “You know it’s wrong when you do it.”

University Response

In an Oct. 10 statement, Vice President for Student Affairs Mark Nelson listed several measures the University uses to prevent hazing. Nelson cited limited house hours each day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., a shorter pledge period and a hazing hotline that is monitored daily.

Those measures, however, are mostly ignored, according to the both the Oct. 10 email and the source interviewed by the CW.

In the email, the pledges said the daytime house hours are used for hazing and spent mostly in places “pledges dread such as basements, band rooms and attics.”

The hazing hotline is also of little or no use, the pledge said. The one time he had heard of the hotline being used, the actives from the house named in the tip looked through all of the pledges’ phones.

“They just went through everyone’s phone looking for the Hazing Hotline number,” he said. “Looking for any texts – to a girlfriend, to someone’s parents, brother, sister – looking for anything about hazing.”

The University often relies on a self-reporting policy for dealing with hazing situations, Hebson said.

“What we tell the people, the new member educator, if there’s something that happens in that pledge program and that person doesn’t report it, he can be referred to judicial affairs,” Hebson said in an Oct. 2 interview with the CW.

Hebson said he believes the policy has been a “very, very positive thing.” The source, however, said self-reporting is something that just doesn’t happen.

“Basically, some of the only times I’ve heard of anything getting out is two pledges will be walking to class, and there’ll be a random student behind them that hears something, [and] they’ll go tell them,” he said.

The source also said the Oct. 1-7 pledgeship suspension didn’t change anything.

“The University has eight weeks of pledgeship, and I think they cut it down to seven,” he said. “What the University says means nothing to the fraternities and their pledgeship. Like we’ve had weeks off, technically, from pledgeship and we just wear normal clothes, not pledge gear, but we still have all our pledge duties. I’ve heard from almost every pledge I know in many different houses that after the eight weeks is up, it’s just kind of no big deal, you’re still a pledge, you’re just not dressing like one. That’s the only difference.”

Moving forward after his initiation, he said he doesn’t see himself being one of the brothers who hazes pledges.

“I can’t see myself, like, doing this back,” he said. “After feeling what it’s like, I wouldn’t want to ruin a kid’s first semester.”

Editor’s note: This story uses an anonymous source. To read the reasoning behind The Crimson White’s decision to not disclose the identity of our source, click here.

  • Asher Elbein

    Great reporting, guys. Well written and structured, and super informative to boot. Kudos.

  • Tyler Bartlett

    Great use of the “source.” Anonymous sources are always perfectly reliable.

    • robert_foster

      Two things:

      1) The source is anonymous to the reader, not the author.

      2) If you aren’t familiar with “said the source, who spoke under condition of anonymity because he/she isn’t authorized to speak/negotiations are ongoing/he’s afraid he’ll get his ass kicked/etc.” then you haven’t read a newspaper.

      • Alex Austin

        It doesn’t matter if the source is anonymous to the author. All that matters is that the source is known to the readers.
        Secondly, I point you to my above comment. If this pledge fears for their physical safety, then they should leave the system, go public, with name, in the paper and lay out what happens. It is illogical to do anything else.

        • Ethan

          Are you really basing your argument on what a “reasonable” and “logical” pledge would do? You expect a pledge, presumably a freshman, new to the university, with no friends, no established support system, etc. to “logically” throw away the only friends he has made so far? Good luck with that. If you want to solve this problem you have to fix the system from the top and work your way down. You cant expect pledges to do it themselves. Obviously, this is only logical.

          • AUfraternityman

            How do you know he doesn’t have other friends or an existing support system? He is a pledge which means he obviously had enough social skills to get a bid or multiple bids.. Also if it really was bad enough, yes, I do expect him to “logically” throw away all the friends he has made so far. If it bothered me THAT much I wouldn’t want to be friends with them anyway and therefore wouldn’t have a problem throwing them away. But luckily, I’m not a little puss so that wasn’t an issue for me.

            This is the most I’ve ever posted on an internet website. Feels pretty low and like a colossal waste of time. Is this what being a GDI with no friends to get drunk with feels like? I’m not normally a “blogger” or “tweeter” but seeing all these low-life, friendless, annoying losers insulting a system as great as the greek system out of pure jealousy and ignorance makes me sick. Because those are the only reasons to hate the greek system. Jealousy you didn’t get a bid from a respectable fraternity yourself, and ignorance of all the great things they accomplish both for their members and their communities.

            And logically, pledges have the MOST power to stop the system from cycling if they wanted to. All they have to do is all quit, which, if it really was too much for a normal person, wouldn’t be an issue. Without pledges there is no future. Simple as that. Not hard to understand. No pledges=no brothers=no dues=no fraternity. But guess what? That’s not happening, because every normal college student wants to be in a fraternity until they get walked to the mailbox and told they aren’t good enough (In slightly kinder words..Usually.)

          • dsmm

            Please don’t insult all the normal college students who do NOT want to affiliate with ANY Greek organization. They made that decision before ever entering UA or any other university. Many of them are quietly amused at the behavior of the Greeks and their need to conform and fit in at almost any cost. Many, many high achieving non Greek students with a great network of friends graduate with honors and go on to successful lives and careers. They somehow manage this without a Greek affiliation, much to your dismay :-)

          • Ethan

            Your “colossal waste of time” in that post proves what a colossal douchebag you are. I don’t normally waste time on these boards either, but you’re comment is just begging for the record to be set straight.

            For the record, I was defending the greek system you insensitive prick. I was showing how much the system means to the freshman/pledges and the massive opportunities it can give them. Because of this, its hard for any freshman to simply throw that away, and it is extremely unfair for someone, like the guy whose post I was responding to, to expect them to quit and report everyone at the first sign of hardship. The greek system is made up of some of the best and coolest guys and girls I ever had the privilege to meet at the Capstone. I think every freshman should at least try it out.

            All I was saying is that, on the rare occasion some extreme hazing incident happens, it shouldn’t be put upon the pledges to fix it. It should be you, the AUfraternityman’s of the world, the brother’s of the house, to step up and fix the situation. To call on the pledges to endure it and change such a poisonous culture over years of membership is stupid and idiotic.

    • Audemus_Jura_Nostra_Defendere

      Anonymous sources have been at the heart of some of the best investigative reporting in history. It’s not a new thing. Go rent “All the President’s Men.”

  • Alex Austin

    Nothing against the reporting done or anything but something bugs me here. So you have a pledge who has the guts to talk to the CW about hazing and what he has witnessed. And yet he not only continues to be a part of the system that he obviously thinks is harmful both physically and mentally, but he keeps himself anonymous. That is his prerogative, but I have always been one that says, “If you have the guts to say it, put your name to it.” I mean, how much does the system really do for any of these people? The answer is, in many cases, absolutely nothing. The Greek system, at least at this University, is a racist, sexist, unintelligent, backwards system and needs to be abolished by the university administration as soon as possible.

    • Chris Dodson

      While I agree, the culture of the University and the size of the Greek System doesn’t really allow him to leave. If he up and leaves, his pinned as “that guy” by about 1/3 of the student population. So, yeah, there’s too much pressure for him to leave.

      • April

        I find it a bit pathetic that 1/3 of a student population would give a crap. It’s just Greek life. You’re in school to get a degree. So get one.

      • marvin

        one thing i think people are overlooking with the whole “i cant quit because ill be ostracized by 1/3 of campus and my life will thus suck” argument is that kids quit from EVERY pledge class EVERY year. I know of classes where 10 kids have quit. I see them every week on campus and they are doing just fine outside of the greek system. And even have plenty of friends within the greek system.

  • John Horn

    Rub some Vagisil on it.

    • treyirby

      lol i love random sexism and “that dude is so not manly here’s a woman thing dur” comments.

    • Sean

      What an enlightened opinion you have. I bet that solution could be applied world wide! World hunger? Rub some Vagisil on it. Gang violence? Rub some Vagisil on it. Too stupid to know what you’re talking about? Rub some Vagisil on it. It’s the panacea we’ve always dreamed of!

      • Louis DeShields

        Sean, you have made it clear that you absolutely despise the greek system in every way, shape and form. You should probably go troll on another article, since that is what all your life seems to consist of.

        • Sean

          Louis, you have made it clear that you absolutely despise common sense in every way, shape and form. You should probably stop replying to me and whining about things I’ve never said, because, really, it’s pathetic.

          The greek system has done some good things. You apparently think the only thing it does is haze people, though, and since I think abusing people is bad, that means I hate all the greeks.

          You must be the brightest kid.

        • James Elder

          Code of Alabama Section 16-1-23 deals with hazing. It is a class C misdemeanor. Read the section before you go spouting off pro-hazing statements. Your beloved fraternities can lose funding if found guilty of violating the law.

      • John Horn

        Seems you’re well acquainted with feminine products as well as sarcasm. Summer’s Eve meet Sean .Sean..Summer.

  • Terry Chaffin

    “I’ve heard people doing bows and
    toes and an active will come up and kick them”

    “The one time he had heard
    of the hotline being used”

    “some of the only times I’ve heard
    of anything getting out”

    I’ve heard a lot of things but that doesn’t make them facts, or make me a primary source.

  • YouaTroll

    This is either Watergate or complete trash.

  • Rachel Shuttlesworth Thompson

    I would really like to know why someone participates in a system that has so little respect for its members. I do not think I would stay in a system that treated me so badly. I cannot see how a benefit you would receive from it down the road is worth being a part of this torture.

    • Jerry Sandusky


    • AUfraternityman

      We respect our brothers, why should some entitled little freshmen who thinks he’s hot shi t get the same privileges we earned? And hey Jerry, insulting people based on looks isn’t cool. I’m sure she looks like Jessica Alba compared to anything else that loser behind her has touched…

      • Allison Russell

        You guys are really making frats look good. Not really though….

  • Lee Pittman

    This article is very aggravating to me, what is your motive for publishing this? To begin with I am a Libertarian and I believe in complete freedom. Why do the actions of a fraternity affect you? If it is by choice that they are joining one then, why is pledgeship a problem? It is a choice to join a fraternity, you are not forced to join at all. If you don’t want to go through pledgeship then do not join a fraternity. Do not ruin the experience for everyone. I think pledgeship is to easy as it is now, lets go back to what it was in the 80′s and 90′s. Pledgeship is a bonding experience for a pledge class, it brings them closer together. It breaks down any group association they had before and brings them together into a family that will always be there for you. Pledgeship is not pointless. You are buying into a system that brings you closer with people you hardly knew at the beginning of the year. If you don’t like the idea of it, then don’t try to change it for those that do.

    • robert_foster

      “Oh hey, my dog’s a Libertarian.”
      “How do you know?”
      “Well, he doesn’t know anything about the world, so I just kind of figured…”

      • Lee Pittman

        Personal attack? That is a low come back. Also the stereotyping is pretty profound. You think since I am a college student, I don’t understand the world? I would love to sit down with you and have an educated debate on economics, politics, foreign policy, etc.

        • robert_foster

          Your stance as a libertarian is pointless given that a personal philosophy doesn’t override the world we actually live in. Why is this a problem? Because these fraternities act as University-sponsored organizations operating on University-owned land and are conducting themselves in an abhorrent and at times illegal manner (providing alcohol to minors, assault, negligence, coercion). You can believe in absolute freedom as much as you want, but considering the University has a pretty cut-and-dry anti-hazing policy and anti-hazing pledge that all greek organizations must sign, it doesn’t really matter.

          • Lee Pittman

            The reason the University came up with the policies is because people were complaining about hazing. I don’t disagree with the University, they were trying to cover their own ass, but I disagree with people trying to change something they are not a part of just because they disagree with it.

          • Sean

            “Hey, Nazi Germany, can you stop with the whole killing Jews thing?”
            “What do you care, you’re not part of it.”

            I apologize for going all Godwin’s Law, but come on. That’s is the weakest pile of mess attempt at defending your position on the freedom of choice I’ve ever seen. That’s not libertarianism, that’s anarchism.

          • Lee Pittman

            That is the most ridiculous argument I have ever heard. Did the Jews want to be killed? No. I said if it is by choice to go through physical hazing then let them. If you are being forced to do something against your will that is not okay and should be dealt with. However we are dealing with a persons voluntary choice.

          • Sean

            Do the pledges want to be beaten? Apparently, not all of them do. And I was referring specifically to your argument that people shouldn’t interfere with things that are wrong, both morally and legally, if they’re not part of it. In fact, your entire argument seems to be that organizations can do whatever the heck they want, and if anyone doesn’t like it, then they should just not be part of it. Which sounds like the same sort of thought that supports cults. It’s the, “Hey, they’re not bothering me, why should I do anything” apathetic train of thought, one that allows bad things to happen all around you with your knowledge and gives a person a flimsy excuse to feel guilt free.

          • Lee Pittman

            You keep missing part of my argument. Let people do what they want as long as it doesn’t hurt other people. That is where you draw the line. If someone chooses to be hurt then let them. If a pledge doesn’t want o be beaten then don’t join a fraternity that physically hazes. It is simple. People don’t need to be taken care of by you or anyone else. Let people make their own choices. And to say it is like a cult is ridiculous. We are talking about hazing not suicide or death.

          • Sean

            Well. How convenient. Hazing hurts other people. We should probably STOP HAZING PEOPLE.

            Your argument isn’t that physical harm should be curtailed, it’s that physical harm should be labelled and avoided. You’re not suggesting we stop hazing. You’re suggesting we label the frats that DO haze and put an “enter at your own risk” sign. That’s not “as long as it doesn’t hurt other people.” That’s “if it DOES hurt other people, sucks to be them.” It’s victim blaming.

            And hazing can, in fact, lead to death. It has in the past, and it very nearly did at this University. But, hey. Let’s say there’s a kid that wants to be part of a fraternity. He wants to have a core group of friends, a support group to help him with academics and the post-graduate experience. And let’s say he even knows that the fraternities haze and can get physical with it. How is he to know which frat is going to force him to perform sexual acts, which frat is going to kick him and which frat is going to force him to sit on red hot metal? You act as if all hazing is equal, and all pledges know EXACTLY what they’re getting into when they pledge. Then you suggest the leave if they don’t like the activities, ignoring that the harm has ALREADY OCCURRED, which, supposedly, goes against your beliefs.

          • gtu

            I doubt they came up with the policies “because people were complaining” — more likely the emergency room at DCH during pledgeship

          • robert_foster

            I generally (and I use that broadly) agree that a private organization has the right to conduct itself in whatever way it deems fit. If a greek organization existed on private land it purchased and its only funding was through donations and other fundraising efforts, I might toe the line of “then just don’t join,” within reason anyway.

            However, since greek organizations exist on University land, are University sponsored and receive at least some funding from the University, and because it is a public University that receives state and federal funding (one could also make the case that students are like taxpayers and thus have a right to know where their tuition goes), the University and by extension the greek system should be held to some reasonable level of accountability regarding many things, be it hazing or whatever else is deemed important enough to warrant a signed contract at the beginning of each year.

          • Lee Pittman

            I understand your argument, the University has the right to restrict pledgeship to what they deem appropriate. I disagree with people trying to change something, because they don’t like it. If people were being grabbed off the street and attacked by fraternities then I am right behind you for punishing them. However if it is that persons choice to be hurt, then let them do it. As long as it isn’t hurting anyone else besides themselves then let them do it.

          • Asher Elbein

            Except…. there a lot of people who are part of the system trying to change it.

          • Sean

            Then why are you disagreeing with the person who is a part of the system and disagrees with it?

          • AUfraternityman

            Aww he thinks his group of losers is actually considered a real Fraternity by anyone who matters… So sad. Sack up. You’re like a whiney liberal complaining about political correctness. Just shut up and be a man.

          • AUfraternityman

            And just to clarify, you’re NOT part of the system, you were denied a bid remember?

          • AUfraternityman

            Just wanted to reiterate and rub it in your face that you aren’t a part of the system because you weren’t good enough at not being a socially awkward loser to maintain an interesting conversation with actual fraternity men. Really you just weren’t even a good enough human being. I haven’t even met you and I don’t blame them one bit for walking you to the mailbox and telling you the academic fraternity down the road may be a better fit for you…

    • Sean

      “Hey, a group of guys is beating the living crap out of that kid over there! We should stop them or call the cops or something!”
      “No! I’m a libertarian. Stop interfering with their freedom!”

      It’s funny how you say you’re for “complete freedom,” but I get the feeling you’d've asked The CW not to publish this.

      • Lee Pittman

        I am exercising my freedoms by commenting on it, did I say “I don’t think they should have published this?” I said it “aggravated me.” Also your case is absurd. It is a choice to join a fraternity and when a person joins they know what comes with it. If you don’t agree with it then do not join, but don’t try to change it for those that are part of it. People aren’t being forced to join, they are joining by choice. It is part of your freedom to join. If I want to volunteer myself to go through pledgeship then let me. It is my choice, not yours.

        • Sean

          I said “I get the feeling.” And, as I’ve said to your dragon brethren, please prove to me that all pledges know they will get hazed and exactly HOW they’ll get hazed. I pledged for an honors fraternity when at UA. We had a pledging process that lasted an entire year. Not once were we physically or psychologically abused. Nor did I expect it.

          Partly because IT’S ILLEGAL. You’re defending a group’s freedom to DO THINGS THAT ARE ILLEGAL. And, y’know, infringe on a person’s right to their health.

          This article is not stopping you from letting yourself be abused. It’s shining a light on abuse and illegal activities that, frankly, need to be stopped. Pledging does not require hazing. There need be no super-heated metal chairs. No kicks in the stomach. No forced sexual activities. If you think those are required to create a bonding experience, you may have some issues. And by that, I mean you definitely have issues.

          • Louis DeShields

            @SeanOnce:disqus comparing an honors fraternity (Academic fraternity) to a real fraternity is nonsense and ridiculous. “How do the pledges get know how they will get hazed?” you may ask, well I respond to you with this…They know they are going to get hazed through many things. The internet, word of mouth etc. Do your research before you join. You have to be a complete moron to join a fraternity and just expect to automatically be in, let’s be real here. C’mon. And WHO are YOU to say pledging does not require hazing? You never went through a real greek pledgeship with a pledge class so you have no clue what you are talking about. Quit getting into OUR business on what WE should do. Mind your own business. You wouldn’t like me watching you play World Of Warcraft on your computer and telling you how to play.

          • Sean

            Oh, so a “real” fraternity is one with hazing? Despite the anti-hazing policies all fraternities sign? Interesting. So, tell me… were you born a complete tool or did you just end up that way?

            There is a difference between hazing and a pledge process. Getting kicked in the stomach? Hazing. Being required to dress a certain way and perform certain consensual and not harmful tasks, even though they may be embarrassing? Not hazing. Magic! I’m willing to bet the multi-cultural fraternities don’t have much physical abuse in their pledging process. But then I guess that means they’re not real.

            The University of Alabama actually says pledging doesn’t require hazing. In fact, it says hazing isn’t allowed. Much like underage drinking at a frat. Or rape. But apparently, you’re in a frat, and that means rules and laws don’t apply, right? I look forward to the day I see your arrest record.

            And, no, I wouldn’t want you watching me play WoW. One, because I hate that game and it means you’re forcing me to play it. Which, since you’re not certain about what defines consent, forcing people to do things they don’t want to do is BAD. And, two, you’d be in my room, you creeper. But, yeah, playing a video game and asking me to let you beat the crap out of people in peace… same thing. Heck, you should come over and kick this bag of puppies I found! Oh, and there’s a baby for you to punch, too.

          • John Horn

            Sean- Your pretentious smugness oozes forth not only in your writing but in your mugshot or what you might refer to as your profile picture as well. Your condescending air to anyone who disagrees with you on any matter is typical of liberal minded leftists who view the world with disdain. You prefer to view yourself as tolerant but that is so long as everyone agrees with you. Anything short of that and the dissident is cast as being a racist bigot, amiright?

          • Sean

            I like how people attempt to take the high road and begin by immediately and hypocritically insulting a person. It’s hilarious.

            Sorry I’m not tolerant of intolerance. I won’t tolerate racism, sexism, hatred, violence or evil. Because that’s not what tolerance is. People that pretend it is have absolutely no understanding of the word or the idea and simply want to cower behind their disgusting nature. A shame, really, because a willingness to understand could lead to maturity and growth. But the fact that you see those things as “pretentious” and “smug” shows me exactly where you stand on the issue. The fact that you hunted down and responded to a post written two years ago in some sort of attempt to inflate your ego tells me where you stand on maturity, too. As does pretty much every word you wrote.

            You’re allowed to disagree with me. Many do. Many friends, many intelligent people, many people smarter and better than me. What they tend to not do is be hateful, vitriolic and discriminatory.

            And the picture was one taken professionally when I was a member of the University of Alabama’s men’s a capella group. The fact that you have to attack my image and not my substance in order to attempt to score points puts you even further below most people in your corner. Congratulations. And you upvote your own post? That’s just sad, bro.

        • Alyssa Dinberg

          You’re assuming that incoming freshman, from all across the country, understand the politics of the, one of a kind, Greek system here at UA. There is also a difference between pledgeship and abuse. Would you be okay sitting back and doing nothing while your neighbor and her kids get beat everyday? Yes, it’s her choice to leave but at the same time, not everyone is strong enough, has the resources/knowledge to leave, or even realize there are other ways of living. These kids are brainwashed into believing this is the only way to be successful here at UA and leaving the Greek system isn’t an option. That is called emotional abuse. Freedom of choice shouldn’t even be included in the debate here.

      • Dragonborn

        I don’t think you understand libertarianism. You are free to exercise your rights as long as they don’t infringe upon others rights. In your scenario, out of context, a libertarian should call the cops or intervene.

        But that isn’t what’s happening. Random people aren’t getting beaten up, people who have purposely joined a club in which a grueling physical initiation is required for entrance. Think along the lines of the Karate Kid. They aren’t being forced to join, and once they get through their trials they get the benefits that come with it: backing of the machine, awesome parties, beating up new initiates, drugging and raping women, the list goes on…

        So don’t act like some innocent bystander is getting hurt. You play with fire, you get burned!

        • Sean

          I understand libertarianism. I wonder if the original commenter understands it.

          That “grueling physical initiation” is illegal. It’s assault. Are pledges told “We’re going to physically and psychologically abuse you” before they pledge? I doubt it.

          Seriously. How is this even a discussion.

          • Lee Pittman

            It is by personal choice to go through pledgeship and initiation. They are not being forced against their will to be hazed. That is a voluntary action, which is libertarianism at its core. If I were to walk up to someone and attack them that is assault and battery. However if I walk up to someone and say punch me in my face and they do. That isn’t assault or battery. I chose to get hit in the face. If I want to then let me, don’t say I cant do something, because you wouldn’t do it.

          • Sean

            Pledging does not have inherently illegal activities included. This argument is akin to saying domestic abuse is okay because a person that marries or dates someone they know can sometimes get physical when upset consented to being abused. That is a dangerous line of thinking that ignores many psychological complications with abuse.

            Further. These fraternities have signed anti-hazing policies. That means there should be ZERO hazing. Which means people pledging should expect ZERO hazing. Your argument is massively flawed.

          • Louis DeShields

            @SeanOnce:disqus after reading most of your mindless and pathetic arguments against greek life here at alabama, it has come to my understanding that you despise us and everything we do. Which is fine, I understand that you are jealous. But quit bickering about this so called “fraternity hazing” you speak of, you have no clue what on EARTH you are talking about.

          • Sean

            Yeah, that’s gotta be the answer. Clearly, I hate frats. Not like I dislike violence and abuse, some of which has sent kids to the hospital. Ignore the fact that, frankly, I don’t care if you’re greek or not. If “everything you do” was abuse people, then you’d be right. But I know for a fact that’s not true, assuming “you” refers to the entire greek life system.

            But, hey, after reading this single mindless and pathetic argument against not being part of greek life and in support of freshman abuse, it has come to my understanding that you despise those not in fraternities and sororities and everything they do. Which is fine, I understand that you are jealous. But quit pretending physical abuse doesn’t happen, particularly when commenting on an article detailing how physical abuse happens, lest I come to the conclusion you have no clue what on EARTH you are talking about.

          • Louis DeShields
          • Sean

            Ooh! You’re one of THOSE guys!

            “Hm. This person is raising valid points about something I like doing, beating the crap out of people, is bad. What should I do? Oh, I know! Tell him to shut up via Will Ferrell!”

            Your wit and skill at debate will carry you far in the burger flipping business, my friend.

          • AUfraternityman

            Sean just take a look at your picture. What greek(this means it’s real) fraternity would want someone like you in it? They may as well buy vagina repellant and smear it all over their walls. What the HELL would someone POSSIBLY be jealous of you for? It is honestly funny to me that you could even believe that for a second..

            And you have absolutely no right to tell anyone they don’t know what they’re talking about Mr. Academic fraternity (because you weren’t good enough to get in a real one). You don’t have a damn clue what goes on in a real fraternity house, other than what you read on liberal media websites or what occurs in your DREAMS you pathetic moron. Even at the most notoriously ruthless and violent fraternities, it isn’t as bad as you probably think. It certainly isn’t bad enough to stop 100+ year old traditions because one clumsy pledge hurt his worthless self.

          • I Got Blisters on Me Fingers

            I was told immediately before beginning pledgeship that I will be pushed to my limits and it would get rough. All of the above were implied. I was also told that I would not be forced to comply with anything that would endanger my health or the health of those around me. Then I was given the option to leave before ever beginning a pledge period. A honest option, not an intimidating one. I chose to stay.

        • Louis DeShields

          Finally! An intelligent GDI who actually understands.

          • Mitchell

            @SeanOnce:disqus: I’d love to hear your opinion on the comparison of high school athletics and fraternity hazing. To help you get started, I’m just going to put a few things out there.
            High School athletics (Lets say the football team and the wrestling team) – Coaches constantly screaming in MINORS faces, require a great deal of time devoted, and “conditioning” which almost always has bows and toes (and other things) involved. They do all of this to “earn their spot on the team”. Hazing? Nope, deemed perfectly acceptable and is a LONG STANDING TRADITION.

            Fraternity pledging – Requires a great deal of time, involves ADULTS which 100% voluntarily choose to participate, get put on bows and toes and have actives scream at them. They do it to “earn their place in the fraternity”. Long standing tradition? Yes. Hazing? (By today’s standards) Absolutely yes! Shut down their program! Kick those fraternity members out of school and run their lives with criminal charges!

            See the double standard?

    • Dragonborn

      Exactly, maybe instead of complaining about hazing, they should just leave the fraternity. If these guys do so much harm to you, why live with them for the rest of your college experience? And no one is forcing them to stay in the fraternity anyway, apparently they get asked to drop multiple times per day.

      • Sean

        Or maybe, y’know, violence is bad and people should try to, y’know, prevent it? You don’t know every student’s story as to why they’re pledging. And sometimes you hear stories about hazing, but they seem ridiculous, and the really bad ones get caught, right? Meanwhile, people are being physically and psychologically abused and everyone thinks they’ll just leave.

        Not responding to this is like not calling the cops when you find out your neighbor beats their spouse.

        • Walter Sybil

          It’s very sad that you are stating that “violence is bad” when it comes to fraternity hazing. You are arguing about the prevention of “violence” to Greek members, while their are children getting abused by their parents everyday and their are innocent people getting murdered and raped everyday. There are American soldiers risking their lives for me and you and your choosing to exclaim your opinion on violence and hazing and death when it comes to college kids getting roughed up every now and then? I am all for speaking your mind and all but if your going to disagree with violence and hazing PLEASE do it for something that actually matters. And about pledgeship….you don’t know ANYTHING about it. You don’t understand how close I am to every single one of my pledge brothers and the older guys that “hazed” me. Yeah pledgeship sucks but I would do it again in a heartbeat to know the things I do now and to have the best damn friends I will ever meet. You and everyone who has written about the negative parts of pledgeship need to realize the positive affects as well. You want hazing to end because of kids complaining about being told to dance with girls and doing “bows and toes” which is a workout I did and others during high school sports practices.

          • Sean

            Were this an article about soldiers fighting overseas or child abuse, I would be telling anyone that says “It’s okay to let soldiers die” or “It’s okay to let kids be abused” that they’re wrong. But this isn’t an article about that. It’s an article about abuse in fraternities pledgeship. So… that’s what I’m talking about.

            The idea that THIS violence and abuse “doesn’t matter” is at the core of what’s wrong with this system. It doesn’t matter because, what? It’s just a college freshman? Are these people undeserving of the right to not be abused? You can call it camaraderie, but it’s clearly abuse and bullying. I may not have experienced “true” pledgeship, but I have managed to gain several close friends without abuse occurring. It’s weird, but friendships can occur without someone kicking you in the chest. As I’ve mentioned, while it was for an academic fraternity, I still had to go through a year long pledgeship with several tasks and events involved. No abuse ever occurred, and I became extremely close to many of the members of my pledge class and the people who were already members. So, yeah. There’s a positive. And it doesn’t require hazing. I’m not saying pledging a frat is bad. I’m saying ABUSE is bad. They are not the same thing.

            I want hazing to end because 1) it’s illegal, 2) it’s morally wrong, 3) ABUSE IS BAD, no matter if it’s child abuse or freshman abuse and 4) seriously, how are you defending abuse, it’s bad.

        • Walter Sybil

          Okay well do something about it then. STOP THE FRATERNITY HAZING! TAKE STAND FOR YOUR BELIEFS. If only you were there 100 years ago to stop pledgship. I am not by any means going to get into political debate with you, but guess how many presidents got hazed and abused during fraternity pledgship. If you feel this strongly about ending fraternity hazing then do something about it and quit trying to change what you are so passionate about changing over the Internet. And Sean don’t use the fact that its illegal as your number one reason. You are a hypocrite to say its illegal when I have a anonymous source that says you are a drug addict. :)

          • Sean

            Do you know how someone gets change in the greek system at UA? Well, in reality, you can’t, because the people in charge of enforcing the rules tend to either be from the greek system and therefore unwilling to “hurt” it or they’re afraid that people with money might stop giving them money if they do anything. But let’s pretend in a fantasy world that change COULD come about. You know how that would happen? First, you would raise awareness. The article in The CW does that well. Then, you would pressure University officials to investigate formally. One tends to do that via letter, and I’ve written one. Then, you would let the authorities do their job. Unless you’re suggesting I bust into fraternities a la superhero style and start kicking people’s faces in, I’m not exactly certain what you’re looking for.

            Now. To break down exactly what’s idiotic about the rest of your argument:

            “guess how many presidents got hazed and abused during fraternity pledgship” – First, this argument comes off as “It’s tradition!” That’s a bad argument. You know what was tradition in 1860? Slavery. And we decided that was a bad idea. Second, this argument seems to indicate that you think hazing can lead people onto the path to greatness, such as a presidency. Do you know how many presidents WEREN’T hazed? How many hugely successful people got that success without physical harm coming to them as college freshmen?

            “don’t use the fact that its illegal as your number one reason” – Why not? See, unlike many illegal things, this one’s illegal on multiple fronts. The front that’s most important, however, is that awkward little “breach of contract” thing. Because, see, fraternities and sororities and ALL groups on campus sign these nice long anti-hazing forms promising there will be no hazing new members. If any non-greek group were to be caught hazing, they would be shut down and kicked off campus. The only time that’s happened to a greek group in recent memory was when someone nearly died. Even so, hazing at all is a breach of that agreement, and greek society should suffer the consequences they agreed to when they signed that contract.

            “You are a hypocrite to say its illegal when I have a anonymous source that says you are a drug addict.” – Ah, see, now you’re trying to be cute. It’s not very becoming of you. A few problems. First, you have no such source. The CW does. I’m even willing to bet they can name the source, but won’t because that’s dangerous and hugely unprofessional. Can you name your source? Nope. Because they don’t exist. Two, you would almost, ALMOST, get away with having a point if you and every other frat boy that wants to keep punching kids or whatever hadn’t come in here and pretty much admitted that, yeah, frats haze people. Who needs an anonymous source when all these non-anonymous sources are walking in and saying, “Yup, it’s true, we haze. Now leave us alone.”?

            But don’t worry. Your ability to beat up people is safe. This administration wouldn’t move to stop you unless it was a near-death situation, and even then they’d only look at the single case (and probably not bring up the individuals responsible on charges).

          • Jerry Sandusky

            tl;dr: GDI faggo.t who didn’t get a bid

          • AUfraternityman

            Hey man he was in an academic “frat” which is totally the same thing. And it was because he wanted to not because he didn’t get a bid!

            Haha whatever helps him sleep at night. I don’t blame the real fraternities at whatever liberal college he attended for not wanting him. I’m surprised his own parents didn’t leave him in a dumpster when they realized how annoying he was.

          • Guest

            * Every U.S. President and Vice President, except two in each office, born since the first social fraternity was founded in 1825 have been members of a fraternity.

            * Of the nation’s 50 largest corporations, 43 are headed by fraternity men.
            * The Greek system is the largest network of volunteers in the US, with members donating over 10 million hours of volunteer service each year.
            * Fraternity men represent about 2% of the male population of America. What is happening to that 2% ? They are leading this nation! Approximately 80% of the executives of the 500 largest corporations in America are Greek.
            Before you pretend that you know anything, check your facts. We are the most successful people in the most successful country in the world. You will be working for us for the rest of your life, so you better get used to it. Nothing is going to change our tradition.

    • Abbie Scheider

      Here’s some cut and dry logic for you: abuse is bad. It should not happen to anyone no matter the circumstance. If an organization needs to abuse people to bring them together it’s a bad organization. Oh my gosh, mind blown! End of discussion.

    • kelly

      It is the hazing not the idea of brotherhood. there is an extent to were hazing can be tolerated but after a point it is ridiculous. Pledges are not told hey we are going to make you do x,y, and z before u can enter, only after they start paying. The point is to show how hazing has become a growing problem within this community. By the way Mr. “complete freedom” it is called the freedom of speech and press.

    • Kitty Starface

      You’re right, it is their choice. But do you really want to make your brothers choose between friendship and physical & mental well-being? There are lots of other, pro-social ways to bond :)

    • Starvin’ Marvin

      The son of one of our great state senators.

  • Hailey Grace

    Nice idea here but…………….. who edited this? And can we not with the “likes”

  • GDI’s are pussys

    Greek > GDI
    Your not greek so stop caring what we do.

    • Dragonborn

      As a GDI, I’d agree with your second statement at least.

    • JP


      • GDI’s are pussys

        Your** child would never make it through pledgeship. And FYI GDI the greek system at Alabama has the highest precentage GPA in the school

  • Harry Balzack

    So, can someone explain to me why it’s in the best interests of the people of the state of Alabama to provide the land, cut-rate financing, and other forms of support for these organizations? Seriously, we just had to rob the piggy bank to pay for medicine for sick kids and poor people, but we can loan Un Kappa Keg 4 million tax-payer dollars at 0.25% interest so they can build a huge house in which to get drunk; assault other students; and stick things up each others rectums? Okay. Got it.

  • Louis DeShields

    Great job, CW. Really, good article. Just kidding. I love how the author of this undeniably ant-greek article bases their information off of what a pledge has “heard”. WOW! Great job, you might as well have not written this article because just like the CW, it has no validity. The fact of the matter here is this…IF YOU DON’T WANT TO GET HAZED, DON’T TAKE THE BID!….I don’t understand why people just don’t understand that simple concept. The point I am trying to get at here is this, the amazing greek community here at UA has been doing what we please for over a 150 years, and trust me… a bunch of anti-greek articles aren’t going to stop us. We will continue to do as we please until we see fit (never). You think a bunch of poorly sourced articles on a half-ass, biased and anti-greek website/newspaper are going to do anything? Nope. We (The greek system) contribute plenty more to this great city of Tuscaloosa than any of you Non-greeks will ever contribute. Through our philanthropy events and money donated to the University by greek alumni, I have a feeling in the back of my head that all of your complaining and bickering will affect as in no way, shape or form. Shoutout to Lee Pittman for holding his ground.

    • Wanderer

      I’m sure your notably black namesake would be thrilled to see that racism and sexism and dangerous hazing are still among the basic tenets of your organization.

      • Harry Balzack

        Notice too that he also more-or-less confirmed the article’s premise: that fraternity boys molest each other at will and with the university’s blessing. Good job, Nimrod!

    • Corey A Craft

      Dude, your comment starts off with a “not” joke and it’s somehow downhill from there.

  • Billy

    Great reporting. Screw Frats. I am an independent here on the capstone and love it. There is something wrong with you if you need Frats to have fun. I love the crimson white. Keep this great reporting up and together with us independents we can take this evil greek machine down and it will never return. Keep it up Ashely and CW. I am going to go try to get some inside information for you guys to use!

    • AUfraternityman

      This sad pathetic loser honestly doesn’t know just how awesome of an experience he is missing out on. Yeah you get shi t on and are basically a slave for a semester at most, but then you get 3+ years of having slaves. Talk about a great return on your investment. But GDI’s are too ignorant to understand that. Along with the fact that the tasks these “slaves” (which is probably going to offend whiney liberal sean) perform are often not just for the sake of doing them, they serve a purpose or purposes. Sober drivers don’t help the general safety of any University or fraternity? Yeah ok.

      So yeah man, “Screw frats” we can have just as good parties as they do in their mansions in our studio apartments! Do you honestly think you will have the amount of good looking girls or non-loser guys to hang out in an apartment when there are huge houses where parties or at least large groups of people hanging out drinking(GDI’s definition of a party) happens every single night of the week?

      And good luck getting “Inside information”(Is he serious?)… Nobody in a fraternity would give a loser like you the time of day, let alone share any information that could be at all useful to you. I actually do feel bad telling you this Billy but your post honestly reminds me of something this half-retarded kid I knew in HS would say.. Got an extra chromosome there buddy?

  • Billy

    Why did you delete my post? Screw Frats I am on your side!

  • benjals

    hey i just wanted to say this is bullshit i love the way pledgeship is going and im in the hardest fraternity at alabama to pledge in. you can call me crazy but this kind of stuff gets me fired up. i really wish that they would take this off because this really damages the trust that comes with a fraternal bond during pledgeship and this kid just ruined it for probably a million others thanks man.

    • What Burns My Bacon

      So, you’re more concern with the damage of the bond that comes with getting drunk out of your mind? Perhaps this article will be the first steps that will make sure that no one drinks so much that they die during hazing, as was the case for Philip Dhanens.

      • AUfraternityman

        The solution to that is MORE hazing, which we use not only as a way to bring pledges together but also as a way to weed out the pus sies, such as yourselves, who can’t drink a fuc king beer without turning into a drunk high school girl. Don’t know Phillip Dhanes whatever’s story and I highly doubt most of you know the FULL story either. And just because the liberal media told you a story doesn’t mean even a percent of it is true. Dirtbags ruining this country: liberals, GDI’s, and reporters.

  • tutcutie

    ayo pledges someone pick me up at tut in 15 or were doing bows and toes k cya soon

  • marvin

    Anyone want to join my lawsuit against my high school and my football coaches? I still wake up with nightmares of being a freshman going one on one with varsity players in oklahoma drills. Rolling 100 yds across the field? up downs? suicides? Talk about actual hazing, you guys.

  • kimberlyoakes

    Apparently no one here as heard of Stockholm Syndrome…

    • AUfraternityman

      Can’t speak for the ignorant GDIs but I certainly have heard of it. It just doesn’t apply here. Keyword in that definition is “CAPTOR.” Do you know what that means Ms. Merriam-Webster??

  • Guest

    The pussification of America marches shamelessly onward. The fraternal system in America is deep rooted, and has had proven success for those who partake in it. Feel free to not join, this is a free country and pledg. Just please don’t mess with our traditions of which you know nothing about.

    • Mitchell

      and pled*ging is 100% voluntary, you can leave at any time. Don’t give me that BS that you’re hopelessly shunned if you decide to quit.

  • Guest


  • FrattyDiarrheaFartsYOLO

    tisk tisk

  • Jerry Sandusky

    Someone didn’t get a bid. Ashley you are the biggest piece of shi.t at Alabama and everyone knows it. Please go die.

  • poopdongboobs

    tl;dr, I blame Obama

  • Guest

    I guarantee most of these pledges complaining wouldn’t have even considered pledging their respectable fraternity if they weren’t good and all they had to do was a sign a piece of paper.

  • Dorky McDoucheNizzle

    Let the free market decided whether Greek life can survive at this school. If people like it, then it will thrive. If not, it will shrivel up and die. If people think it is worth being subjected to abuse as the price of admission to be “cool”, let them be gullible.

    What if I like bondage? Is it going to be outlawed for a dominatrix to kick me in the balls or shove a hot poker up my rectum? Will we be kicked out of the school for it? Even if the abuse was consensual?

  • Chris Mettig

    Precisely why Alabama’s Greek system is looked upon as one of the trashiest in the nation

    • I Got Blisters on Me Fingers

      Which is why it grows every year. Right?

  • Hunter

    What part of illegal do most of you not understand? In the state of Alabama hazing is a class 3 misdemeanor… Here’s a link read up and please use this new found knowledge that you SHOULD gain from this

  • Yo

    Why not write about hazing in gangs too!! I’m sure its much worse.

  • UAGreek

    So in the spring and summer when Nick Saban is preparing the team for the fall and coach Saban has them conditioning to an extreme level out in the scorching heat and surprise!!… The players that perform poorly lose playing time or can even be cut. Now to all you geeds out there doesn’t that sound like hazing? This is the real world and there aren’t freehand outs in the real world you need to bust your ass everyday all day and eventually you’ll be rewarded be it by a job promotion, a national championship ring, getting initiated by your fraternity, etc. This whole situation is absurd really the Greek system at UA is easily the crown jewel of all Greek systems in America and we don’t plan on a bunch of butthurt geeds to change that anytime soon.

  • Jack

    It’s about the punishment. Any org convicted of hazing gets automatic one year suspension. That’s it. No warnings. Just like we do the drug dealers.