17 November 2017


By Andy Weddington
Friday, 17 November 2017

Leadership is a choice, not a position. Stephen Covey


Never understood it. 

Never participated in it. 

Never tolerated it. 

Hazing degrades. 

Hazing destroys.

Hazing kills. 

To those points ...

In the news this week, some headline some not, the deaths of four young men pledging fraternities at Penn State, Florida State, LSU, and Texas State.

Last night I watched a segment with the parents of the Penn State student - big, good-looking, strapping athlete. 

He went off to college and a few weeks later ... dead - for trying to get through a fraternity initiation.

"Hey, come join our frat! But beware - it may cost you your life."


Too much. 

That Penn State student had consumed, and not voluntarily, excessive amounts. Calculations reported - 18 drinks in less than 90 minutes. 

Multiple tumbles down stairs made for a skull fracture and ruptured spleen. 

No one called for help until it was too late. 

I cannot imagine the grief endured by his parents. 

The LSU student had a blood-alcohol level barely under .50

Think about that. 

More than five times that considered driving under the influence.

The other two alcohol, too.

How many have not made news?

How many frats came close to killing a pledge and today are wiping a brow in relief that everyone survived their initiations?!

Last week I asked a friend about this in the context of his daughter now a freshman, who pledged a sorority, at a big time college - "What if it were your daughter who was killed during an initiation? What would you do?"

He did not pause. 

"I'd burn the m---er f---er down!"

In reply, "I'd help you." After all, he's a Marine pal. 

Dozens of frat brothers face criminal charges but I do not recall seeing murder amongst them. 

Why not?

Considering these are college students, assumed smart people and surely aware of the possible consequences of massive amounts of consumed alcohol, why not a degree of murder? 

A question keeps coming to mind ...

"Whom is supervising these young people - where is the leadership?" Specifically, where is the 'walking around' leadership?

Hazing, alcohol-fueled or not, is not an acceptable practice for building self-esteem, cohesion, camaraderie and, in turn, an effective unit. 

Hazing is stupid. 

Hazing is uncivilized. 

Hazing happens but for a void of strong leadership.

To be elite ...

A rite of passage, yes. 

But that "obstacle course" must be relevant and have purpose and merit with tough and demanding requirements that must be conquered. 

Most importantly, there must be mature leadership and close supervision.

Not a Greek but a simple Marine grunt am I.

But this hazing nonsense is not new nor Greek to me. 

And it's easy as pi(e), to the letter, to fix. 

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