Dangerous fraternity culture needs to stop

The Gadfly

Sigma Chi fraternity has been under fire since a Facebook post of a violent hazing incident starting circulating Facebook.
Photo: fallonperl via Instagram

The events that transpired at Illinois Wesleyan University’s Sigma Chi fraternity this past weekend are horrific, embarrassing and downright terrifying. According to a circulating Facebook post, a freshman pledge “endured psychological trauma and physical abuse.” The accompanying photo, shared in a previous article from The Argus, showed bruising and scratching from what is alleged to have been a DIY tattoo kit. These lacerations will most likely last for the rest of the student’s life. If the physical reminders do not do anything to his mental health, the traumatic events of fraternity hazing will continue to haunt him for decades. 

As a Greek affiliated student but not someone who has gone through hazing rituals myself, I am horrified. The only thing that I can think to say is “WTF,” and that does not even begin to scratch the surface. I am scared. I am disgusted. I am embarrassed to be affiliated with the IWU Greek life and I am skeptical of every guy that I see on campus who could possibly be a member of the fraternity. 

Who do they think they are to inflict this sort of pain on another human being in order to be part of a simple fraternity? This kind of hazing is grotesque and sickening. If any kind of hazing is to go on, sing Celine Dion and eat bologna sandwiches like they do in Hollywood versions of hazing. 

Sigma Chi has taken this to a whole new level — one that is not only morally unethical but also illegal. 

This is not the only incident that the fraternity as a whole has been accused, though. Across the nation, Sigma Chi fraternities have been suspended or kicked off campuses. In recent years, Sigma Chi chapters at Louisiana State University, University of Texas at Arlington and Brown University have been either suspended or removed from campus due to hazing incidents. And this past fall, Penn State suspended their chapter of Sigma Chi for not upholding COVID-19 regulations and for “a history of conduct violations” throughout the years. This particular suspension will continue until the summer of 2024, whereas other campuses have suspended chapters until all current members at the time will have graduated from the university. 


“Sigma Chi has taken this to a whole new level — one that is not only morally unethical but also illegal.”


Unfortunately, Sigma Chi is not the only fraternity on IWU’s campus that needs to be looked into. While hazing seems to be the main issue here, there have been several allegations of rape and sexual assault about every fraternity organization on campus, and the administration does not seem to care. Even Acacia, which has the reputation of being the ‘safe house’ on campus, has several sexual assault allegations against members and refuses to admit to any misconduct. 

If this Facebook post had not gone viral the way that it did, I am not sure if the university would have taken any action regarding Sigma Chi’s illegal activities, as they do not seem to share the same concern when it comes to the general safety and well-being of other students. I believe that each fraternity needs to undergo a thorough investigation regarding any and all allegations of hazing, rape and sexual assault as well as underage drinking and drug use and any other activities that this university only claims that they do not stand for. 

Illinois Wesleyan students are supposed to feel safe on campus, welcomed into organizations and enjoy these four years of young adulthood. Fraternity culture, specifically regarding the frats here on campus, does nothing to help this. There are women who do not feel safe in certain fraternities but are encouraged to show up to events for Greek support and the building of community. 

With this most recent case, we know that there are young men who are seeking a safe environment to build friendships and long-lasting relationships but are being physically punished for doing so. On top of this, the illicit dealings of drugs and alcohol in fraternity settings is beyond control. 

There has been too much going on for so long, that Illinois Wesleyan as a university, administration and community should no longer stand for.