Fra­ter­nity reg­istry

Tempo - - Editorial - Erik Espina

H IGHLY dis­turb­ing to read the re­cent ex­pose of a se­na­tor re­gard­ing sta­tis­tics of over a hun­dred cases filed against fra­ter­ni­ties with just a hand­ful of fam­i­lies vic­tim­ized, get­ting jus­tice and some con­so­la­tion, over the painful loss of their chil­dren. I re­call neo­phyte days un­der­go­ing ini­ti­a­tion of 35 punches many decades ago. For­tu­nately, in our din­ing ta­ble, democ­racy and de­bate is en­ter­tained, but af­ter meals. I in­ti­mated join­ing a group to my folks and the rites at­tached. My fa­ther pa­tiently lis­tened. De­spite nary parental in­ter­rup­tions, I was rea­son­ing out with pos­i­tive propo­si­tions even be­fore dis­qui­si­tion be­gun. What fol­lowed was the slow and calm voice of a lov­ing par­ent. “Son when your brother ar­gues with you, what do you do? You an­swer with your point of view. How about when he teases you? Do you not give back in turn. When he quar­rels or fights with you? You al­ways hit back. So why do you al­low some­one who is not even re­lated, to beat you? Why do you per­mit a per­son not your own blood to hurt you?” This was ice wa­ter poured on me. My fa­ther con­tin­ued, “Do you re­call my words? The first day you went to school? I said, never take ad­van­tage of oth­ers. Spe­cially the weak. Do not be­gin a fight. But never al­low your­self to be pushed-around. Je­sus loves a per­son who can de­fend him­self from trou­ble-mak­ers.” In­deed, cer­tain life de­ci­sions we make are best pre­sented to those whose pri­mary con­cern is al­ways our wel­fare. The choice be­tween trust­ing par­ents vs. fra­ter­nity is “no con­test.” You do not need a “broth­er­hood” that val­i­dates loy­alty by a cul­ture of phys­i­cal tor­ture. That is mid­dle ages. When I be­came pres­i­dent of San Beda Col­lege Stu­dent Coun­cil, I pro­posed fra­ter­ni­ties be rec­og­nized like any reg­u­lar stu­dent as­so­ci­a­tion or club. “Mas­ters,” mem­bers, ap­pli­cants iden­ti­fied. Ac­tiv­i­ties are trans­par­ent with an ac­cred­ited fra­ter­nity alum­nus as ad­viser. Cam­pus of­fice or cu­bi­cles pro­vided them. Their her­aldry proudly dis­played in the hall ways. The psy­chosis of street gangs, hooli­gan­ism, and “omerta” is a “nono.” Hence, grounds for im­me­di­ate ex­pul­sion of one, or all. A ‘One strike pol­icy’.

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