To coincide with National Hazing Prevention Week, Lambda Theta Alpha sorority and Lambda Upsilon Lambda fraternity hosted a discussion panel on Thursday focusing on the realities of hazing and the positives of Greek life on campus.
The panel, “Hazed and Confused,” featured 10 representatives from various fraternities and sororities including Kappa Alpha Psi, Sigma Lambda Gamma, Lambda Sigma Upsilon, Zeta Psi, Delta Sigma Phi and Zeta Psi Beta.
Nearly 40 people attended the discussion, including Greek Life coordinator Jason Allen.
The panel began by presenting the history of fraternities and sororities, defining hazing and giving examples of alleged hazing rituals.
Panelists discussed how the “bystander effect,” a phenomenon where crimes witnessed by many people are less likely to be reported, may discourage students from reporting instances of hazing.
Organizers asked the panelists how they felt about the University’s response to the hazing allegations as well what hazing means to them.
Jose Rivera, an organizer of the event and a member of Lambda Upsilon Lambda, said he wanted to shed a positive light on Binghamton University’s Greek life.
“We want to show the campus there’s more to Greek life than hazing, and to show all the good we do on campus,” Rivera said.
Girelis Guzman, a representative of Zeta Phi Beta and a junior majoring in graphic design, spoke in support of Greek Life officials’ response to the allegations last semester.
“Greek Life officials do what they have to do,” Guzman said. “They could have shut us down [permanently].”
Guzman also said that the recent bad press related to Greek life should not deter members or students from getting involved.
“If you believe in your sorority and you want to help them flourish, then you don’t let it affect you,” Guzman said.
She offered her own definition of hazing.
“Hazing is any time where you have to compromise your beliefs,” she said.
Patrick Brown, a member of Delta Sigma Phi, said that BU’s hazing policy leaves too much room for interpretation and that hazing should be defined based on state laws.
“I consider hazing along the lines of the New York law, it’s more to do with violence than anything else,” Brown said.
Carl Sanon, a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, sympathized with administrators actions regarding Greek life.
“Greek Life is doing a great job,” he said. “We have to put ourselves in their shoes.”
Sanon added that while hazing is an issue, pledges should know what they are getting themselves into before deciding to join a Greek organization.
“Pledges go into the process knowing what they are doing,” Sanon said. “I believe accountability should be held for all pledges.”
Greek Life coordinator Allen addressed questions from panelists and general body members regarding the hazing allegations from last semester, when more than 10 Greek Life organizations were under investigation.
“We are moving forward in the most positive way possible,” Allen said. “It will take time, and we need to be patient.”
Allen said that at this point, the future of Greek life at BU is up to the fraternities and sororities.
“We are placing faith and responsibility in the students,” Allen said.