In the latest death by hazing incident, California State University, Northridge sophomore, Armando Villa, 19, died, after he passed out during a hike with other Pi Kappa Phi pledges in the Angeles National Forest. They apparently ran out of water which is when this hazing event should have ended. With the death of Villa, Pi Kappa Phi agreed to disband. There is a criminal investigation underway and possible disciplinary actions up to and including expulsion is being considered.
CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison said in a statement that, “Hazing is stupid, senseless, dangerous and against the law in California. It is a vestige of a toxic way of thinking in which it was somehow OK to degrade, humiliate and potentially harm others.” While I know there are many who may disagree with her, I will go out on a limb and take it a step further. Someone has already been harmed, his young life is over. Fraternities are stupid and serve no useful purpose other than making their members feel as if they belong to something. They offer an instant social life to scared and frightened young people beginning a new chapter in their lives. That’s not a good enough reason for their existence. These are essentially children with little common sense. Allowing them authority and power over others is simply a mistake and misguided.
Obviously it’s unrealistic to believe all fraternities and sororities will be disbanded. And there are thousands of adults who would say their experience in a fraternity or sorority was positive. Bur hazing should be banned completely and any fraternity or sorority members caught hazing pledges, should be subject to expulsion and criminal prosecution. We need to raise our children to be leaders, not followers. They need to be able to stand up for themselves and refuse to be victims of small-minded, power-hungry young people. Teens entering college are highly susceptible to older, more experienced students and will do anything to find acceptance. Without someone to protect them, more students will die in silly but dangerous hazing rituals. The students in this case should face severe consequences and serve as examples of what will happen should they participate in hazing.