Brutal rites of passage

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014


CAN we now say, enough is enough? Let’s ban all fraternities altogether.
There is a growing number of shrill voices against these student organizations who use hazing to initiate new “brothers.” The latest victim is the killing of De La Salle-College of St. Benilde sophomore Guillo Cesar Servando, a Bacoleño.

Suspected of the crime are 11 members of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity, not it seems the Alpha Kappa Rho (Akrho). The young Servando was hit with a paddle in his lower extremities and back that may have also affected his kidneys.

Why these “brothers” would whip their brother black-and-blue or even risk killing them, is beyond me. The argument is that inflicting physical punishment is to test of loyalty of the new brothers to the fraternity. With “brothers” like these, who needs enemies?

In my time at the State University in Diliman, the fraternities Beta Sigma, Alpha Phi Omega, and Tau Gamma Phi tried to recruit me.

It would be logical for me to join any of these frats. After all, my father was a member of the Upsilon Sigma Phi. He counts as his brods Ferdinand E. Marcos and Jovito Salonga. Two of my brothers joined Beta Sigma and Tau Gamma Phi.

Yet I never made the plunge to “belong” to any of these frats. Reason: I refuse to be involved in frat rumbles. I was willing to fight the Marcos dictatorship but not fellow students who brag that they’re handsomer than other frats. (Don’t laugh, these are some of the childish arguments for bashing the heads of the rival frats).

I have no problem with initiation rites if one has to join a frat. But when these rites of passages use physical violence, I draw the line.
Unfortunately, since my college years and well into the 21st century, hurting – and even killing – one’s brother has become the norm.

In fact, it has worsened. Back then, quitters are rejected by the frat circuit. Once one is out, he’ll be out for the rest of his life.

Now, it’s different. Says Aurelio Cesar J. Servando, the victim’s father, quitters are “threatened” with death.

So away with all frats? It’s time to ban them from our universities?

Not yet. Hazing is not co-terminous with frat initiation rites. I remember Dad’s stories on Upsilon initiation rites.

A neo is blindfolded and twirled until he lost his sense of direction. Then he was brought to a step, told that if he took another step, he might fall off from a tall building. Should he use his common sense and trust his would-be brothers that they would not let him come to harm?

The dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos banned frats when he declared martial law, but failed to abolish them. He just drove them to go underground. And the frats persisted as before with the hazing.

School and police authorities should strictly enforce the Anti-Hazing Law to prevent serious injuries and deaths of students who join fraternities.

And more importantly, frat leaders have to learn to police their ranks.

As the Anti-Hazing law put it in its implementing rules and regulations, “officers, former officers, or alumni of the organization, group, fraternity or sorority who actually planned the hazing although not present when the acts constituting the hazing were committed shall be liable as principals.”

Find the killers of the young Servando. But also hold to account the leaders of the Tau Gamma Phi.

***

(bqsanc@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 02, 2014.

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