Students respond to deadly hazings at BGSU

Sorority+and+Fraternity+members+pose+together+at+the+Order+of+Omega+initiation.

Sean Repuyan

Sorority and Fraternity members pose together at the Order of Omega initiation.

Sean Repuyan, AU-TV 20 NEWS TALENT

The hazing incident at Bowling Green State University, which resulted in the death of a 20-year-old sophomore student, sparked responses from Ashland’s Fraternity & Sorority Life (FSL) community. 

Ashland University and the FSL Community have made it clear that they do not condone hazing in any way, shape or form. 

Awful, disgusting, unacceptable. These are just a few of the many words the presidents of the active fraternity and sorority chapters on campus had to say about hazing. Stereotypically, it is mainly fraternities that are given a bad reputation, often being represented as ‘frats.’

“Hollywood paints that negativity, giving way to fraternity men being viewed as party animals,” Phi Delta Theta President, Broderick Holmes said. “Fraternities need to get away from the ‘frat boy’ image and show the more clean-cut and professional side on what a fraternity is, and what brotherhood really means.” 

Holmes supports the trend of reclaiming the word ‘frat’ that gained momentum in 2018, but he believes that fraternities both on AU’s campus and throughout the nation need to start being more vocal about painting the correct image and upholding a positive, clean-cut reputation. 

The President of Phi Kappa Psi, Jim Schoffstall believes it all boils down to education and accountability. 

“The big difference between a fraternity and a frat is that fraternities have values,” Schoffstall said. 

Schoffstall acknowledges that people and fellow students will usually notice Greek letters and will naturally associate them with “frats” and the negativity that comes along with it. Holmes and Schoffstall believe the lack of accountability within Greek Life at bigger schools is the reason why most hazing incidents continue to occur. 

“With smaller schools, there is less room for hazing to happen,” Holmes said. “For state schools, it’s a different story. The moral scales are off, the campuses are bigger, and sororities usually have houses, so it makes it harder to keep an eye on what’s going on internally.” 

“Bigger schools are so much different,” Schoffstall said. “But one upside is that usually there is more education about the topic of hazing and its ramifications, and it provides more students with a personal connection with humanity. Nationals are starting to force hazing courses on how to recognize hazing and how to combat it.” 

Stereotypically, sororities aren’t publicly exposed with hazing incidents, but hazing can still happen within sisterhoods. 

“I have only heard horror stories from other schools,” Theta Phi Alpha President Jillian Chylinski recalled. “Personally, I don’t resent our chapters on campus. However, with bigger campuses, I question what they stand for and where their morality is.” 

Not only does FSL provide a safe and comfortable community for Greek brothers and sisters, fraternities and sororities make it their mission to give back to their communities through philanthropy and community service. 

“It’s important that we bring back that positivity to Greek Life,” Schoffstall continued.

“Education benefits the entire community on and off campus and it brings us all together,” Chylinski added. “Until hazing stops, there will be that certain mentality that Greek Life shouldn’t exist and we need to get rid of it by helping naysayers to realize the true benefits of Greek Life.” 

Similarly, the biggest thing Delta Zeta President Jordan Wasko values within her sisterhood is empowerment. Wasko encourages involvement within the sorority as well as on campus. 

“‘These Hands Don’t Haze’ is a reminder that we love and respect brothers and sisters,” Wasko said. “If you have respect for your sisters or your brothers, then you wouldn’t think to put them in harm’s way or to hurt them.” 

Brothers from all three of AU’s fraternity chapters at Greek Interest Night. (Sean Repuyan)

Brotherhood and Sisterhood are at the core of what a Fraternity and Sorority is respectively, and hazing is something that will never fit in with that value. Dustin Hargis, director of Fraternity & Sorority Life and Student Leadership, said that there is no room for hazing in a group like that. 

“While both men and women’s organizations have cases, the men are usually on the extreme end,” Hargis said. “While women are more subtle, targeting mental health and self-image. This is why it is so important to educate on all the different forms of hazing. It can come in many shapes and sizes. It can be physical, mental or emotional, and be targeted at new members and established ones. And it doesn’t just happen in fraternities and sororities. It can happen in any other student organization.”

On top of each chapter’s individual new member education program, Hargis directs the training of all members through FSL 101, on what hazing is and how to combat it. In the fall, the community sponsors an Anti-Hazing week to continue the discussion with the “These Hands Don’t Haze” movement.

Nearly all of the presidents of the chapters on Ashland’s campus take great pride in being fraternity and sorority men and women. When asked about hazing, Hargis and the presidents all agreed. 

“We care about our brothers and sisters and we want them to be comfortable and happy, and hazing will never get you there,” Hargis said.