Monday, April 03, 2006

Frat house dictionary 

So while I was away there's a story that some fraternity at the University of Minnesota has been suspended for "strapping", "showering", and other pre-initiation hazing of pledges that included, well, barnyard animals. Two problems for me, firstly this:

The memorandum from officials of the Student Activities Office to Jerry Rinehart, vice provost for student affairs, listed four primary areas of hazing: strapping, showering, livestock barns and pre-initiation.

...The memorandum said the various forms of hazing "could have caused serious injury'' and "could elicit long term emotional and psychological trauma in members."

The memorandum noted that the chapter leadership "was fully cooperative and admitted that they were aware that the activities were inappropriate, but also did not know how to stop the patterns and asked for our assistance."

They "did not know how to stop the patterns"? That's a very interesting defense. "We could not figure out how to stop our members from hanging pledges upside down off balconies and pouring water on them; stop us before we hand another kid a condom in the livestock barn." But if that's not enough for you, the Chronicle of Higher Ed's news blog links to a letter from the frat's national office that called this behavior a violation of the office's "risk management policies." I assume that's legalese for "don't do this or we'll get sued." Somehow, I'd've hoped the threat of lawsuit was inframarginal, not the deciding factor.

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