University Of South Carolina Wants To Become First University To Abolish Pledging, It Won’t Work

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During a summit last month, Greek leaders at the University of South Carolina proposed a radical new plan to ban pledging at the college.

Their goal is to cut the period of time between rush and initiation from ten weeks to one week, a plan they say will remove power from actives to blackball initiates who fail to carry out orders that may be considered hazing.

While some fraternities, like Sigma Alpha Epsilon, have abolished pledging from their organizations nationwide, USC would become the first university to abolish pledging.

From Free Times:

“We want the University of South Carolina to be the non-pledging university,” Jerry Brewer, USC’s associate vice president for student affairs, tells Free Times.

“If you associate pledging with abusive behavior, with servitude and all that,” Brewer says, “people are going to come here and they’re going to say, ‘Hey, let’s go to South Carolina. They’ve got a great Greek system. They’ve got no servitude.’

The plan comes on the heels of a slew of hazing, alcohol, and drug violations. A total of 18 fraternities – nearly 75 percent – have been shut down or placed on probation over the past three years.

Joe Stuhrenburg, the president of USC’s fraternity council, says that a ban on pledging would not decrease instances of hazing or alcohol violations.

“It’s overreach and overreaction in my opinion,” the senior finance major from Atlanta tells Free Times. “We understand we have to clean up. This is a possible solution, but it’s the wrong way to get the outcome they want.”

He is also absolutely correct in saying the plan is an “overreach” and an “overreaction.” While 18 fraternities racking up violations in three years may sound out of control, the numbers are wildly misleading. Thirteen of the 18 violations were handed down during the rush week fiasco from last fall, where fraternities were forced to cease rush activities for throwing parties that served alcohol. No alcohol poisonings. No hazing. Just serving alcohol. Is serving alcohol at a rush party cause to abolish pledging from the entire university? Because I fail to see the connect between rush activities and the pledge process.

Those 13 violations shouldn’t even count. The IFC president who called for the punishment was promptly impeached and removed from office, and the fraternities were allowed to resume rush as planned. Every single violation should have been scrubbed from the record when it was found that the president who issued them was drastically overstepping his bounds.

But not to fear, South Carolina Greeks. Even if the measure is passed, pledging will still exist. You’ll hold your “initiation ceremony” with nationals one week after rush, then you’ll begin the pledge process as usual. You just have to be a little more cautious about it. No blazers on campus. No late night runs through the village. Text each other “sober driver lists” as opposed to “pledge driver lists.” Then, at the end of the semester, you’ll hold your real initiation underground.

Nice try, USC.

[via Free Times]

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