Today’s Mailbag is unlike any other we’ve done. No one is asking for advice or sharing their sexual misadventures with us. Instead, we hear from a University of Nebraska student who is spotlighting some pretty outrageous hypocrisy, on the university’s behalf, regarding hazing.
There is a university sanctioned group at UNL called the Innocents Society. The society, the “Chancellor’s Senior Honorary,” is over a decade old, initiates 13 members yearly, and apparently prides itself on its longstanding secrecy and exclusivity…and apparently their very open, very public form of physical assault directed at initiates.
Our emailer explains.
I am writing to bring some light to a case of university sponsored and supported hazing. There is an honor society at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln called the Innocents society. It is your typical pet group for the chancellor himself that prides themselves on being mysterious and that they “Will be watching” for nefarious activities. (I.e. Your average booze fueled bender related actions)
What is unique about this society is that their way of initiating new members. They dress in robes and stand in a circle, running at the initiate until the biggest member gets to flat out form tackle the initiate.
While funny to watch, the group has a disclaimer in their application that says:
“A century-old tradition of the Innocents Society is a ceremonial tackling that signifies a student’s acceptance into the Society. This tackling plays a role in connecting present-day Innocents with Innocents of the past. In no way is tackling meant as a form of hazing or harassment.”
The balls on the University and the chancellor openly endorsing a “tradition”, while simultaneously punishing any organization that actually commits an egregious act of hazing, must be staggeringly enormous.
Our tipster said some personally offensive and totally unnecessary comments to close his email, but we’ll skip them and get straight into the video he attached. It shows exactly what he describes: an initiate standing in the middle of a group of robed Innocents, each running at him as if they were going to clothesline his defenseless ass, but they miss intentionally as a form of trickery and intimidation. The last guy then lowers his shoulders, squares up, accelerates, then Brian Bosworths his ass into next week. It’s clean, though. Didn’t lead with his helmet. No personal foul.
Our emailer is right. The balls on the university administration for condoning — and displaying it right in their students’ faces — this act of hazing while condemning and punishing fraternities for carrying out their, many times less violent, hazing rituals must necessitate dump trucks to transport them around Lincoln. And make no mistake about it. Despite their hollow disclaimer — again, the balls on these people — this is, without an ounce of doubt, hazing.
We’re looking at someone willingly subjecting himself to physical harm with the purpose of being initiated into a private society. Sounds familiar.
What a terrible precedent to set.
“A century-old tradition of the Alpha Fraternity is a ceremonial waterboarding and public stoning that signifies a pledge’s acceptance into the chapter. This waterboarding and public stoning plays a role in connecting present-day Alphas with Alphas of the past. In no way are waterboarding and public stoning meant as forms of hazing or harassment.”
Soooooo, we cool now? Samezies, right? It’s right here on our new member application, just like yours.
Do I have a problem with what’s going on in that video? No, I don’t. That person is a willing participant. But do I find it egregiously hypocritical to endorse such a ritual while doling out punishments to other campus organizations for engaging in something similar? Yeah, I do. Clean it up, Nebraska..
If you have a question for the Mailbag, email it to Dillon (firstname.lastname@example.org) and include “Mailbag” in your subject line.