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Hazing at BC: Not Visible or Not Around?

Andy Auguste, current interim director of BC Greek Life, explains to students what constitutes as “hazing” at BC. PHOTO/ M.A. Rahman

By M.A. Rahman

Published: March 13th, 2019

Brooklyn College students and Greek organization members voice reservations on the BC Greek Council’s ability to combat hazing following one of their “Anti-Hazing” workshops.

The Greek Council, the presiding body that oversees the various fraternities and sororities at Brooklyn College held one of its routine “Anti Hazing” workshops that organizers say are designed to impart the tools and knowledge students need to identifies and halt hazing behavior along with other improprieties they might witness.

The workshop, which amounted to students watching various slides concerning identifying hazing, reporting it, CUNY Title IX, the CUNY Henderson Rule, along with other issues, was required for students in the process of joining any Greek organization on campus, bolstering roughly over a dozen students in attendance, a number organizers say is considerably smaller than usual. “I feel like they’re more reactive instead of being active against this issue,” said Charlexia Rey, disgruntled in reference to the Greek Council’s ability to combat hazing, having just attended one of their “Anti-Hazing” workshops.

Rey, a junior and Business Administration major said she was interested in becoming sorority member for the social activism value she sees in the sorority she was interested in, but finds the lack of hazing reports on campus to be suspicious.

“They say they have a zero tolerance policy but every college says that… and they also say how they never had an incident but its the student who has to step forward,” she added emphasizing the possibility of underreported incidents.

According to Andy Auguste, the Interim-Director of BC Greek Life and the presiding presenter of the “Anti-Hazing” workshop, the purpose of the workshop was “for all the new members to come in and understand the basics of the hazing law, which they can refer to if god forbid they need to make a report.”

Adding, “its covering them (students) liability-wise, it is covering us institution liability-wise,” Auguste said, confident that students leaving the workshops are better prepared for circumstances involving hazing.

“There aren’t any hazing incidents on our campus that I know of, our student body doesn’t seem to be interested in doing any inventive craziness,” Rey joked.

Other students indicated that they still wanted more than to be done on the matter from the council.

“When you join Greek Life, You’re joining a family, even here in Brooklyn [College] you need to research whoever you’re planning on joining first,” Kardin Ulsse said, a senior and active member of Greek Life, before suggesting one club was more prone to being ‘hazing-happy’ than most others.

Remaining mum on whether he knows of any specific instance of hazing, Ulsse admitted to having heard the various rationalizations of hazing practices such as ‘it being a matter of tradition or it builds character amongst members’ to which he sharply responded, visibly irritated with much consternation in his voice- “that’s all nonsense, that’s the opposite of meaningful tradition or building a bond!”

The final slide of the “Anti-Hazing” workshop highlighted a famous quote from Dr. King saying, “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy,” for some of the students in attendance, they asserted that the Greek Council themselves need to live up to this MLK quote and do more than conduct ‘an hour workshop on a serious problem.’

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