In the name of brotherhood: Should schools ban and enforce stricter sanctions against fraternities?

The recent wake of scandals, damages, and death involving fraternities and sororities in local universities prompt us to ask: should the government and university authorities ban all forms of frat and similar organizations?

Time and time again we wake up to reports of infractions caused by college and university sanctioned fraternities. These organizations “recruit” students, often those who have come from provinces to be a part of their group—with the promise of academic and peer support. This process oftentimes involve hazing, demoralizing acts and harrassmet against the “neophyte” who probably was simply looking for a group to belong to. The most enticing reason perhaps that convinces naive students is the promise of better careers and “backing” from old members of the same frats who own large companies. Another convincing factor may be the feeling of being part of a “family” that comes with instant brothers or sisters. And this also comes with the promise of being protected from outside forces and having a group that’s ready to rumble whenever needed.

The allure of secrecy

Rappler reported that two members of the University of the Philippines-Diliman University Student Council (UPD-USC) resigned on Friday, November 23, amid controversies involving their respective fraternities.

“USC chairperson Yael Toribio, a member of Upsilon Sigma Phi Fratenity, tendered his resignation days after group conversations with slurs and offensive remarks attributed to fellow fraternity members went viral.”

What the group thought was a space where no secrets will be revealed is now opened because of a leak online (perhaps done by one of their own) with all their dirty laundry aired out for the whole public to see.

In the covert chat room conversations, members freely and brazenly expressed their misogyny, arrogance, and blatant disregard for rules. They disparaged and berated women, illegally used their authority and connections to bypass academic matters, and most shockingly, threats of inflicting injuries and damages to people they consider as their enemies.

“Those statements have caused much pain and insult for the various sectors and their advocates who were not spared by those foul words. These views have no space in our society, and for a long time, now, we have been fighting to change these harmful views,” Toribio said.

Everyone must bear responsibility for the consequence of their speech, especially when it emboldens people to translate them into actions. I cannot and will not allow impunity. I believe just and commensurate sanctions should be sought. I personally do not espouse such beliefs, and would never condone them even in private circles.”

There were no specific sanctions or consequences, however, for the rest of the fraternity members in that chatroom.

The price of brotherhood

This culture of systemized violence and imbalanced superior-follower dynamics have resulted to serious injuries and even death of promising students. The Filipino culture of “pakikisama” seems to be taken to the extremes and this needs to stop.

Last year, Horacio Castillo III died due to injuries allegedly sustained during hazing initiation rites by Aegis Juris fraternity.

Aegis Juris, which literally means “Shield of Justice,” was described as “the most dynamic and active law fraternity” in UST.

How long do we have to wait until we read another death by hazing in the news? How long do we have to tolerate the crass attitudes and illogical practices of these so-called brotherhoods and sisterhoods? How long do the bereaved families of frat victims have to wait before justice is served?



Photo credit: GMA Network

About Dianne Pineda 351 Articles
Magazine and online writer based in South Korea. Nerdy news writer by day, Korean pop culture writer by night.

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