Category Archives: Honor

One Good Turn, and One Broken Stereotype, Leads to Another

When Dave Talley, a Tempe homeless man, found a backpack this month at the light-rail station near Rural Road and University Drive, his first thought was to look through the bag for the owner’s identification or contact information. Instead, he found an envelope containing about $3,300 in cash.

The temptation to keep the money was almost overwhelming, he said. Then, his conscience kicked in.

Read the full story.  And a lighthearted account of a another homeless person who returned a credit card.

Simplifying the Hazing Debate

All hazing debates can be settled by asking two simple questions:

How do you earn your badge and when do you earn your badge?

Membership is earned through vigilance and dedication to the founding principles (i.e. your behavior), not by demonstrating subservience to the older members.  If the activity has no clear connection to Sigma Nu’s purpose then it’s time to find an alternative.

Similarly, membership in Sigma Nu is not earned one time during the pledge process; membership is earned every day–during the new member process and beyond–by remaining committed to the voluntary oath each member accepted during initiation.

By perpetuating the myth that membership is earned one time during the pledge process by performing arbitrary tasks, hazers are creating a culture of apathy and mutual disrespect–everything Sigma Nu is not.  Earn your badge every day by remaining dedicated to your Knightly vows.  Period.

Day 35: “Other chapters won’t take us seriously if we don’t haze.”

The following is a guest post from Director of Financial Operations Justin Wenger.  Justin is a former Leadership Consultant and Director of Education for the General Fraternity staff.

Really? This excuse seems a tad absurd, doesn’t it? If there are organizations on your campus who would haze (i.e. treat their members like second class citizens) and be so juvenile as to attempt to negatively impact your chapter’s reputation because you don’t haze, then one would hope that your chapter would embrace that scenario. And, make no mistake, not having the respect of an organization who hazes their members is not a bad thing. In truth, it’s probably a good thing. This line of thought may seem “backwards” for some collegiate members, but in the world outside of the walls of a college/university, no one views a hazing organization as one to be respected. And, please, let us not defame our military branches by dragging them into this discussion by having attempt to say that they utilize hazing. They are not and to say otherwise would, in my opinion, be very insulting.

Stand up, be men of honor, and proclaim for all to hear that you don’t haze. What are the other organizations on campus going to say/do? What, are they going to “dirty rush”? Let them. If people want to join an organization that’s going to haze them, then why would you want those people for members? Those are cattle; they follow the herd because, well, that’s where everyone is going. If you stay in front of the herd, it will follow, and the naysayers will either join the herd or wander off…all alone. In the end, the organizations that participate in hazing become nothing more than after thoughts. Why? Because they won’t exist.

This post is part of a series dedicated to providing answers to common excuses for hazing.  The #40Answers in 40 Days campaign aims to promote National Hazing Prevention Week (September 20 – 25, 2010) and to ultimately create the definitive collection of crowdsourced knowledge to eliminate hazing.

Random Thoughts

If fraternities are supposed to stand for such values as honor, integrity and respect then why must every national office employ a full-time Director of Risk Reduction?

Why are marketing campaigns to eliminate hazing almost always directed at our our own members rather than the general public?  Isn’t it pathetic that we should have to convince our own members that the mission of our organization is in fact good?

The few chapters that are either too cool or too dysfunctional to attend Grand Chapter will inevitably complain the most about the new bylaws and policies they didn’t bother to vote for.

If chapters are so proud of their diversity, loosely defined, then why do pledge programs insist on making everyone the same (“our #1 goal is to mold a united pledge class”)?

If hazers are so confident that arbitrary harassment builds brotherhood then why not advertise every activity and expectation during recruitment?

And if hazers are so confident that hazing has an ounce of relevance to real life then why don’t they list “endured hazing pledgeship” on their resume?  Or do they understand that no employer would take them seriously?

Why do some chapters spend more time developing marketing campaigns to make themselves look good rather than actually being good in the first place?

Why do chapters spend so much time trying to motivate members for recruitment rather than just recruiting people who don’t need to be motivated?

If hazing is supposed to teach respect then why are the loudest proponents of hazing always the least respected members in the chapter?

The Shocking Reality of Irony

Irony can oftentimes be humorous, but in many other instances it can be disappointing or downright sad.

How would you feel if you opened up your local newspaper and read the following headline:

“Anti-hazing fraternity closed due to hazing.”

‘Living our Values’ isn’t just a catchy phrase or some arbitrary title for a LEAD session.  It’s what we’re supposed to do on a daily basis.  To live our values, we must understand them, lest we’re forced to swallow the bitter pill of irony.

‘The Blind Side’ and the Honor Principle

I was finally able to view ‘The Blind Side’ at the local drive-in movie theater here in Lexington two weekend ago.  I couldn’t help but notice that Michael Oher chose to write his high school senior thesis on the topic of Honor.  Here’s a snippet (thanks to Br. Josh Brown for posting to the Sigma Nu fb fan page):

Courage is a hard thing to figure. You can have courage based on a dumb idea or mistake, but you’re not supposed to question adults, or your coach or your teacher, because they make the rules. Maybe they know best, but maybe they don’t….That’s why courage it’s tricky…any fool can have courage. But honor, that’s the… real reason for you either do something or you don’t. It’s who you are and maybe who you want to be. If you die trying for something important, then you have both honor and courage, and that’s pretty good….the writer was saying, that you should hope for courage and try for honor. And maybe even pray that the people telling you what to do have some, too.