Baylor’s Greek community is certainly distinct, especially when compared to other universities of the same caliber. An emphasis on service, spiritual growth and academics, among other things, have helped Baylor break Greek stereotypes, especially considering the university’s firm anti-hazing policy.
However, despite these notable differences from Baylor and other colleges, there is always room for improvement, and Baylor Student Activities has recently asked for feedback from the Baylor community on how to make the sorority and fraternity experience even better.
“We want the voices of our faculty, staff, students, alumni, families and friends to help shape the future of our Greek community,” the Greek Life Initiative reads.
After reading through the survey provided, as well as examining Baylor’s Greek Life website closely, it is clear that Baylor wants the university to give as much support as possible to Greek organizations and Greek organizations to give as much support as possible to the university.
The survey asks how well Greek organizations on campus have embodied concepts such as leadership development, academic excellence, service and philanthropy, spiritual growth, brotherhood/sisterhood, personal growth and wellness, congruence with values and appreciation of diversity.
Most members of the Greek community shine in regards to these aspects, especially service and philanthropy. Each organization has its own charity or cause for which its members donate time, energy and money. Last summer, Delta Delta Delta sorority was named No. 1 in the country in fundraising for St. Jude, and other organizations are making an impact both nationally and locally as well for philanthropies such as the Waco Family Abuse Center and Mission Waco. This emphasis on service sets Baylor apart from other schools and is something the university should be proud of.
However, in the case of “congruence with values,” Baylor’s Greek community could certainly improve on upholding the university’s hazing policy, particularly when it comes to on-campus fraternities.
The Student Activities website defines hazing as “any intentional, knowing or reckless act, occurring on or off the campus of an educational institution, by one person alone or acting with others, directed against a student, that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in or maintaining membership in an organization.”
While Baylor has a reputation of being strict when it comes to hazing, rumors and reports of harsh tests that both men and women must undergo to gain entrance into a Greek organization persist. Many groups on campus have had hazing allegations brought up against them over the years, including Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
While Baylor remains firm in its stance on hazing, this is a national issue, and it won’t go away if we just try to ignore it. Providing potential new members of all Greek organizations with a mandatory information session as to what hazing is and how to report it before they “rush” or “pledge” could be beneficial in lowering cases of hazing at Baylor. While the university and national chapters adequately respond when sororities and fraternities are caught in the act by suspending the organizations, being proactive and addressing the issue before it happens might be the solution to both ending these harsh traditions and setting Baylor apart even further.
The Greek community at Baylor has certainly made its mark as a unique, service-focused group of men and women. However, as Baylor has labeled itself as holding Greek life to a higher standard, so too should it continue to be on the front end of issues such as hazing. We thank Student Activities for asking for the Baylor community’s insight on this special aspect of the Baylor experience, and we hope other students will take initiative to work through the survey and voice their own concerns.