A couple weeks ago I posted an item about a “stoppage” in pledge programming at Alabama. Here is the section I posted, the links are from The Crimson White, Alabama’s student newspaper.
- The University of Alabama has suspended all fraternity pledge activities for the week of October 1st to 8th. The article indicates that there have been some investigations into hazing allegations this fall, but does not provide a reason for the break. Just prior to the announcement of the pledging break, the Office of Greek Life called a last minute “mandatory” meeting for IFC Presidents on Wednesday. According to the article the meeting was not connected to the other events noted above, but just “to go over some announcements.” Huh?
Today’s Crimson White brings a long article describing a culture of hazing on campus. The primary source for this article is anonymous, and the C-W provides an explanation for why they decided to publish based on this source.
Last week, the Crimson White published information about an e-mail sent to University officials in mid-September with concerns about hazing. That letter threatened national publicity if changes were not made. A copy of the letter was sent to the newspaper on October 8th (and also sent to the New York Times). While the University claims that the e-mail had nothing to do with the “suspension of pledgeship” that happened in early October, the timing is curious.
It is unclear from the articles if the earlier e-mail and the anonymous source for the article are connected.
The fraternity/sorority community at Alabama has grown tremendously over the past few years, and with full support by the University’s administration. It is generally considered to be the largest fraternity/sorority community in the country. These allegations and claims of hazing will put a bright spotlight on the University. The first step for the University in addressing this seems to be an acknowledgement of why the “suspension of pledgeship” was necessary earlier this month. Acknowledging the problem, and invoking a sense of urgency in finding a solution is a good place to start.