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Posted: 5/1/2002 4:12:11 PM EDT
Courtesy of the WSJ's "[url=http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=105002009]Best of the Web[/url]". . . . [url]http://www.washingtonsquarenews.com/getstory.php?id=20003112[/url] [b]Greeks: Hazing offer a slap in the face[/b] [i]Tuesday, April 30, 2002 by Brandt Gassman News Editor[/i] An e-mail sent by a rogue member of the student-run sadomasochism club selling hazing services to NYU fraternities and sororities has left many Greeks and administrators fit to be tied. Not only is hazing illegal in New York State, but campus Greek leaders have also tried to distance their organizations from the traditional Greek rite-of-passage by publicly denouncing it. The sadomasochism club’s secretary, Zeke, whose last name was not available, sent the controversial e-mail to a list-serve for NYU Greeks on Saturday night. The e-mail stated that the club, dubbed WHAP (We Honor All Perverts), was selling its expertise in bondage to Greek groups looking to haze new recruits. “Many of our members have extensive experience and training with interrogation, intimidation and discipline techniques, and are committed to sharing this knowledge with others,” the e-mail read in part. “Our services, which can range from simple consultation to a complete handling of the entire hazing procedure, will be available to other clubs on a subcontracting basis.” But WHAP’s Vice President, Grover Wehman, said Zeke’s e-mail was a joke that went sour, and that it was sent without the knowledge or approval of other WHAP officials. “I don’t think it’s a very funny joke at all,” Wehman said. “What we do is ... safe, sane and consensual and hazing is none of that. I do not support the association of [bondage] with frats and hazing activities.” “I’m very disappointed that a member of our club would send out such content as a representation of our entire club and not as one personal individual,” Wehman said. “He was completely joking. I think he thinks the negative light that’s shed on [bondage] is humorous. I don’t find it very funny, especially in this case.” Wehman was unaware of the e-mail until she was contacted by a WSN reporter yesterday. Student Greek officials were said they were shocked and infuriated by the e-mail. Jennifer Ravalli, the outgoing president of the Theta Phi Beta sorority, said the e-mail sickened her and that she immediately sent it to her sorority sisters, as well as Debra Bonaminio, who heads NYU’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. “It was pretty disrespectful,” Ravalli said. “As I read the e-mail you could tell he was a little bit more serious than joking. The image of Greeks at NYU in general as not been wonderful in the past few years ... and it doesn’t help if something like this has ever been sent around.” Ravalli also said her organization and others do not practice any sort of hazing. “We don’t practice hazing, and none of us would be comfortable doing that to our new members,” Ravalli said. “It’s disrespectful. We’re all grownups here. We go to college. I’d hope we’d be beyond this by this time.” Bonaminio said NYU has a stringent, zero-tolerance hazing policy, and that her office goes to great lengths to educate Greek leaders about the evils of hazing.
Link Posted: 5/1/2002 4:12:47 PM EDT
“I educate and the office educates on hazing both semesters, what is acceptable and what is unacceptable,” Bonaminio said. “A person should not have to do anything that they don’t want to do to gain membership [to a Greek organization].” Bonaminio also added that she had not come across any credible evidence of hazing at NYU. Office of Student Activities Director Robert Butler said he met with Bonaminio yesterday about the e-mail, and Wehman said Butler later met with Zeke and gave him “a stern talking to.” Since Zeke potentially violated the University’s hazing policy and its policy prohibiting clubs from selling services to each other, Wehman said Zeke had to write a statement apologizing for the e-mail and taking personal responsibility for its contents. “As a new club, and a club at NYU, we don’t support or encourage that type of activity,” Wehman said.
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