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Here's a different perspective :

thornography.weei.com

The report is very flawed and a lot of what's getting into the media really isn't the whole story. They give a two game suspension for beating your spouse but if "more likely than not" you knew that the balls were slightly under pressure you get a 4 game suspension....

The bombing happened 500 feet from my office. We had 2 employees very seriously injured as a result. Had it happened maybe 1/2 an hour to an hour before, there was a good chance that many of our senior management (who were at the finish line at that time as sponsors) would have been killed. I watched from my office window the following few days as cops in hazmat suits picked up evidence from Copley Square and the roofs of some surrounding buildings...evidence that included body parts.

The city of Boston and the surrounding area was traumatized like nothing I've ever seen before.

That said, my impression of this kid is of a weak willed personality following and going along with his big brother's delusional plan to do what they did. I don't think executing him does anyone any good; the real mastermind behind this is already dead. Killing Tsarnaev won't bring back the 3 people killed and it won't heal the hundreds of people who lost limbs or were otherwise seriously injured. And it won't heal the greater Boston area...we did that ourselves with the strength that people outside Boston don't realize that we have. People here by and large are opposed to the death penalty and there needs to be a recognition of that.

Frankly I think the best punishment for this young man is a life term. Let him live out his years thinking about how a stupid decision to go along with his disturbed big brother to do something incredibly evil has led to him living out his 20s, his 30s, his 40s and beyond in a prison cell...because of something stupid he did when he was 19. That would be a much harder punishment to face than simply going into the dark oblivion and nothingness and having it all over with.

"Universities should punish the black fraternities that brand. It's an obvious visible sign of hazing."

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Absolutely. This is definitely hazing and prohibited under the rules of most if not all national fraternities/sororities (if for no other reason than for the liability insurance plan they are covered under, FIPG I believe). It is also against most if not all state's laws which prohibit hazing.

There tends to be more of this stuff happening with local fraternities, ie., organizations that are not part of a national or international fraternal group. Because of this there is no oversight and they make up their own rules. It is difficult enough to provide some supervision to chapters of national fraternities (many local chapters tend to try to keep things from the oversight of "national"); a local fraternity with no affiliation has virtually no guidance from the experience and resources of a large national organization and easily runs afoul of what's allowed and what's not.

There has long been a movement in the fraternity system to eliminate hazing entirely. It's been a long road, traditions are hard to fight and groups of young men, 18 - 22, tend to get out of hand sometimes.

In the early 1980s we went through it in my own chapter. Much of our pledge program turned out to be considered hazing according to new rules issued by our national HQ. Most of our program was relatively benign, compared to the horror stories you hear...the worst was our 24 hour straight "help night" that we all went through at the end of pledging. It consisted of a combination of house duties (cleaning, etc), being quizzed randomly in line ups, various "games", lots of screaming and "yes sirs", etc. I guess we could claim we followed our national's rules against hazing because we didn't have a "hell week" but "help night" was pretty rough, especially when certain alumni (a former army DI comes to mind) showed up to participate. But with the then new rules we were clearly in violation and a couple of our alumni were ready to report us. I was elected pledge counselor at that time with the promise that I would get our program in compliance while recognizing the need to appreciate traditions. I eliminated the "no sleep" help night and a number of other things...and took a lot of heat from some alumni as a result (though most seemed to accept it and realize that we had to get with the times and a bunch of traditions started by a group of guys fresh from the military going to school on the GI bill wasn't really appropriate anymore.

Today the undergrads are amazed to hear (some) of what we went through in those days because the program now is nothing like that and emphasizes education, being a responsible brother, etc. Our chapter has the highest grades on campus, is much larger than it was when we were there, has won our national's highest honor, the president's cup, some 10 or 12 times in recent years and is way ahead on the mortgage for the new house the alumni helped them build. The hazing didn't do anything to build brotherhood, it didn't improve the appreciation of the actual formal initiation ceremony that followed (which is an amazing, complex and meaningful, private, ritual). I'm glad to have helped get rid of it. Oh at alumni reunions the "war stories" are fun to tell though we are careful not to give the kids there any bad ideas....but I don't think they are missing out on anything by not having to go through what I did.

I can't imagine, though, joining a group that branded, paddled, did public humiliation or other such activities...we had none of that and were still considered to be hazing.

And those of us who didn't want to endure nakedly homoerotic bonding rituals so we could earn the right to pay monthly dues for the privilege of hanging out with our friends.

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I must have missed that back in my undergrad days...we didn't have monthly dues either. We paid room and board to live at our chapter house (which was a much better place to live than the dorms, more like living at home); guys living out of the house paid a small active's fee. It was more than just hanging out with friends...we ran a house, handled finances, learned how to manage interpersonal conflict, did a lot of philanthropy, pushed each other to do well academically and, of course, had some fun social events. Not everyone I was an active with was a friend, but some I was very close to and I see quite a few of them every year or two when I travel out to Indiana for our alumni reunions. Those are fun times with many generations in attendance...guys who graduated in the 60s all the way to current undergrads. In addition to having fun at these events (wives are there too), we get updates on the chapter and its finances and most of us contribute something financially.

I honestly got a lot of out it when I was in school. I was a shy, nerdy kid who didn't fit in well. Smart but unfocused and a long ways away from home. The brothers in the fraternity helped me grow a lot during those years..I was challenged, given many learning opportunities and ended up becoming a leader of the organization. It rounded out the educational experience.

It's not for everyone....and not every fraternity is that positive.

Sorority girls? Sore subject with those of us from that school in the early 80s. Our campus was small (about 1,000 students at the time...now it's about 3,000) and the ratio of men to women in the early 80s was 4 men to every 1 woman. And believe me, most of the women were not the least bit attractive (the college is a small mostly engineering and business school). Dating was non-existant. There were two sororities but they were in no way stereotypical. When we wanted to find dates we'd road trip to one of the couple of larger schools that were a couple hours away and had 3:1 female to male ratios. We could call up the Delta Chi house there, they'd put us up and let us know what was going on and meeting girls was no problem then. Sad to say no one wanted to road trip to our school....

Pat Robertson's fraternity....

en.wikipedia.org

Glad that the national organization is taking action but there's obviously something not quite right in their culture nationally.

I'm a fraternity guy, proud Delta Chi. I pledged in 1980 and have been involved at some level ever since. It was a great experience for me, challenging sometimes, but I learned as much through my membership there as I did in my classes at college. I've seen some ups and downs in the organization; as an alumnus I served as alumni board of trustees for a new chapter I helped establish 25 years ago (the board oversees their operations and finances). Later, when another generation came through and got themselves in trouble, I was appointed as conservator of the chapter when they were put in receivership for a period to straighten things out. Glad to see we got them on track.

A good fraternity or sorority can be a wonderful growing and learning experience and, like for me, lifetime friendships are often formed. Sometimes there are troublemakers in the group and that has to be addressed. Our national has a very strong program of education and reinforcement of what's appropriate and what's not; they constantly stress alcohol, hazing and sexual harassment rules and will act in an instant if a chapter is out of control ... including working with the university and law enforcement if needed. The undergrads know this. If an incident like what happened with SAE happened with one of our chapters, they'd be shut down and possibly have members expelled from the fraternity as well. Hell week was abolished by Delta Chi in 1929...but does hazing happen sometimes? Sadly, yes, but it is quickly dealt with as soon as we find out. Unfortunately sometimes young men don't get the message and have to suffer the consequences.

Of course there are some members of my fraternity I'd rather not acknowledge (Reince Priebus, Larry Craig, George Wallace) but many more I would be happy to (Kevin Costner, Scoop Jackson, Hank Hartsfield, Jim Webb, Ashton Kutcher, William Jennings Bryan).

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