Lemme get this straight: Administrative geniuses at the University of Virginia suspended a sorority in March 2018 because the organization required members to spend 25 hours a week - get this - studying.
Hazing, they called it.
Perhaps they feared the young ladies might bleed to death from paper cuts.
Yep, the Sigma Lambda Upsilon sorority - a Latina organization - required its members to actually study at this highly competitive university.
Exactly the sort of sorority most parents would want their girls to pledge.
The sisters headed to federal court to challenge the ruling, alleging in part that they were discriminated against because of the racial make-up of their members. Other organizations have similar requirements, they claim.
Hey, whatever it takes to reverse this nonsense.
To most members of the hoi polloi - those of us who could never meet the standards of a selective school like UVA - hazing has a completely different meaning.
We subscribe to the common-sense dictionary definition:
noun NORTH AMERICAN
the imposition of strenuous, often humiliating, tasks as part of a program of rigorous physical training and initiation. "army cadets were hospitalized for injuries caused by hazing"
humiliating and sometimes dangerous initiation rituals, especially as imposed on college students seeking membership to a fraternity or sorority. "seven officers of the fraternity were charged with hazing"
At UVA, however, it appears that any whiny student who’s unhappy about being asked to do something she doesn’t want to do can call it hazing and school authorities will leap to her aid.
Look, we all know what hazing looks like. It consists of initiation practices that involve dangerous or humiliating behavior. Excessive drinking, for instance. Sleep deprivation, beatings, paddlings, taunting, cross-dressing and risky physical tasks.
Requiring students to study is not hazing. The university looks ridiculous claiming it is.
For decades, colleges and universities have tried to curb hazing. Nearly every school claims a “zero tolerance” approach to such behavior.
As well they should.
Just ask the parents of Timothy Piazza, 19, who died last year at Penn State after drinking an obscene amount of alcohol at the Beta Theta Pi house.
CNN reported that, “as part of the ritual, Piazza consumed 18 drinks in 82 minutes. After he fell down a flight of stairs into the fraternity house's basement, fraternity members waited more than 12 hours to call 911. Piazza ended up dying from a traumatic brain injury, according to court records and testimony.”
Horrible. Inexcusable. Reckless. Suspend their preppy asses. Prosecute the guilty parties.
And in September 2017, LSU freshman Maxwell Gruver died of alcohol poisoning - he had a BAC of 0.495 - following a grotesque hazing incident at the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
Senseless deaths. Both of them.
But a sorority that encourages its members to succeed by demanding they put in the work needed to make that happen is accused of hazing?
I hesitate to point this out, but any student with a 15-hour class load who spends 25 hours studying has dedicated 40 hours a week to school work. Exactly the amount of time most full-time employees spend in a full-time job.
Seems like an excellent way to prepare for life outside the cocoon of Charlottesville.
Call me suspicious, but administrators at UVA - and many other schools - have demonstrated some hostility toward Greek life in recent years.
Remember how quick former UVA President Teresa Sullivan was to suspend all fraternities in 2014 after Rolling Stone published a piece of fiction about a “gang rape” in a UVA frat house? The story was published on Nov. 19th. Sullivan temporarily suspended fraternities three days later.
Look, Greek life isn’t for everyone. And single-sex organizations clearly annoy many academics who dream of a genderless world.
But students get to decide which clubs and organizations they want to join. If a Latina student at UVA doesn’t want to study 25 hours a week, well, she should cross Sigma Lambda Upsilon off her list.
Running to professors to bawl about being homework-hazed is a bizarre way to handle the situation.
You know what’s more bizarre than a student griping about study requirements?
University officials who can’t tell the difference between hitting the books and hazing.