The New York Times has an astonishing article posted today about the hazing concerns around the campus culture at SUNY-Binghamton. While it provides some specific details from anonymous e-mails and phone calls, the only organization named is an unrecognized, rogue, group known as APEs. Having worked to close down an APEs group at a previous institution, I recognize some of these behaviors. APEs generally show up in response to the closing of a chapter of a well-established National fraternity, but their behaviors and values are in no way reflective of a fraternity, they have much more in common with a gang.
Earlier this year I wrote a post with some thoughts following the release of documents to a local Binghamton newspaper. That post also includes links to the first New York Times article announcing the pledging ban in April.
One of the more telling things about the culture at Binghamton, is the decision by two highly-regarded Panhellenic sororities to close their chapters last fall. You can read the campus newspaper accounts of the closing of Alpha Xi Delta and Alpha Phi, by clicking on their names here.
The situation currently faced by the students and administration at SUNY-Binghamton actually does a lot to validate the work on so many campuses to address the hazing incidents that are perceived as small and insignificant. If those are allowed to fester, you end up with a toxic environment that is incredibly hard to change.
Updates: As you might expect, there have been a lot of reactions to the NYT article.
- The Daily Mail (UK)
- Yahoo News
- NYT Blog – “Would You Ever Go Through Hazing to Be Part of a Group?”
- NYT Blog – “Should Hazing Make a Prospective College Student Think Twice?”