Soror­ity ex­pe­ri­ence bet­ter with­out haz­ing

The Washington Times Daily - - Life - ABI­GAIL VAN BUREN

DEAR ABBY: I would like to tell “Pos­si­bly Pad­dled Pledge” (Jan. 13) that join­ing a soror­ity was one of the best parts of col­lege for me. It taught me about in­ter­per­sonal com­mu­ni­ca­tion, the im­por­tance of phi­lan­thropy and aca­demics, and net­work­ing. I learned skills I would not have gained had I not joined.

My soror­ity had pad­dles. We dec­o­rated them with our sym­bols and Greek let­ters, and they were dis­played on the wall. We never used them to hit any­one. Our na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion, as well as our univer­sity, would have been fu­ri­ous. Haz­ing is il­le­gal and should not be tol­er­ated.

I say, give the Greek life a try, but if some­one ever lifts a fin­ger to­ward you, re­port her to your Pan­hel­lenic or­ga­ni­za­tion and the dean of stu­dents im­me­di­ately. Soror­i­ties are sup­posed to lift you up, not beat you down. — JEN­NIFER IN ST. LOUIS

DEAR JEN­NIFER: Readers unan­i­mously agreed that pad­dling should not be tol­er­ated, and stressed that be­ing a legacy does not guar­an­tee ac­cep­tance or that a pledge will have a good ex­pe­ri­ence in a par­tic­u­lar soror­ity. My readers com­ment:

DEAR ABBY: My daugh­ter is cur­rently in a soror­ity, but her ex­pe­ri­ence has been very mixed. She was not au­to­mat­i­cally wel­comed by my soror­ity. She found the process to be dif­fi­cult and judg­men­tal. How­ever, she did find a won­der­ful group of women in a dif­fer­ent soror­ity.

As a sopho­more this year, she is on the other side of re­cruit­ment (“rush”) and again felt hurt by how rude some of the new girls were. “PPP’S” let­ter spot­lighted the snob­bish, elit­ist at­ti­tude that turns many el­i­gi­ble young women away from soror­i­ties. To say a group is the best-of-the-best and ex­clu­sive is of­fen­sive. I hope more girls will look be­yond the glitz and glam­our and give a sec­ond hard look to all of the groups. — JANE IN AKRON, OHIO

DEAR ABBY: My first month in col­lege was won­der­ful. Then came soror­ity rush. What fol­lowed was hell. I got a pad­dle with the Greek let­ters, though it was only a “me­mento.” Far worse was the so­cial frag­men­ta­tion of the women there. We im­me­di­ately be­gan to seg­re­gate into our lit­tle pledge classes, wore pins that iden­ti­fied our group and were type­cast from the very be­gin­ning.

Af­ter wrestling with this psy­cho­log­i­cal so­cial dilemma — even be­com­ing an ac­tive mem­ber, which would pre­clude me from ever join­ing an­other soror­ity — I fi­nally de­ac­ti­vated, switched to a much larger school with less em­pha­sis on the Greek sys­tem and hap­pily sailed through the rest of my col­lege life with honors.— A HAPPY IN­DE­PEN­DENT

DEAR ABBY: As a mem­ber of a soror­ity, I have never heard of a soror­ity that used pad­dles to hit mem­bers. What both­ers me is the ap­par­ent ac­cep­tance by “PPP’S” fam­ily mem­bers of this prac­tice.

As a pros­e­cu­tor for nearly 30 years, I do not con­done in any way the use of a pad­dle, ei­ther in fra­ter­ni­ties or soror­i­ties.

A soror­ity is more than aca­demics and whis­pers about haz­ing. “PPP” should visit each chap­ter on the cam­pus, at­tend rush and make her own decision. Only she can de­cide which soror­ity is right for her. If she pledges as a legacy, she’ll be in a unique po­si­tion to ac­tively stop this prac­tice if, in fact, it is oc­cur­ring. If she’s kicked out for not let­ting them pad­dle her, then she can shout it from the rooftops and maybe some­thing fi­nally will hap­pen.

“PPP,” stand up for what you be­lieve. Choose a soror­ity you like, with women you would be proud to call your sis­ters, and you will have the time of your life and life­long friends, who will see you through your old age. I know. I didn’t pledge my mom’s chap­ter, but a dif­fer­ent one. — BEEN THERE IN MON­TANA

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