Around October every year, young men start wearing ties to class and women begin to dress in skirts every day. Pledging has officially started. Despite the changes to the process and recent anti-hazing rules, ACU must allow clubs to protect their secrets from the general public and keep traditions alive.
By now, many students have probably heard the standard response from a pledge saying they “watched a movie” or “went to dinner” when asked about the pledging activity they participated in the night before.
Although many people worry hazing could be taking place and these generic responses are one big cover-up, we have to keep a couple of things in mind.
First of all, these students are pledging by choice. Nobody is making them run, jump, yell or do whatever else the pledging process encourages students to do.
Quitting is always an option for each student who attempts to become a part of a social club. So, as long as they are safe, the administration does not have to protect these students from late nights and hard physical activities.
The peer-pressure argument is certainly a problem for pledges who would like to quit, but the reality remains that they are young men and women who are capable of making their own choices. If they allow peer pressure to dictate their actions, that problem that will have ramifications reaching further than any ACU social club.
While there does need to be some administrative oversight to ensure the safety of pledges, these administrators need to be open-minded and allow clubs some leeway in their activities.
Activities such as standing in water during thunderstorms (which has been a problem in the past) and other dangerous events should be removed, but any event that is not inherently dangerous should be allowed.
The ACU handbook states the administration has the right to suspend anyone who is actively or passively condoning hazing in any way. However, hazing and pledging are two different things. Clubs should be able to exercise some discretion by choosing their own activities.
Instead, the administration needs to work with officers in social clubs to make sure the clubs are keeping their pledges safe and the student body as a whole is left in the dark about their pledging activities.
The pledging process is difficult, but that is by design. If ACU forces clubs to have total transparency in all of their activities to everyone, the mystique of each club will be significantly damaged and could do irreparable harm to ACU social clubs as a whole.
Each club does reveal a portion of its pledging process by making its prospective members do certain things in public. Flames yell at the fountain, Slavs carry around a big rock and NuNus have to sit on those benches under the tree. But private settings are where the members really get to push their pledges to the limits.
The purpose of pledging is to put the pledges through difficult circumstances nobody else can relate to, thus making the group come together and bond because of their similar experiences.
If everybody in the world knows what is happening behind closed doors, then the purpose of pledging is gone and students are subjecting themselves to five stressfulÂ weeks for no purpose.
Maybe social clubs are not for everybody, or even most students, but some students thrive in an environment where they feels as though they are part of a group that is bigger than them and unique at the same time.
Members of a social club take pride in what they went through to earn their membership and enjoy the mystery of the process.
For those students, pledging is a part of the college experience.To take away the mystery behind social clubs would eliminate the pride and enjoyment those students have in their club, which would be a shame.