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What Culture Are You Creating?

Updates from Lexington

When I was exploring fraternity membership as a college freshman, members of Sigma Nu were adamant in conveying that the chapter did not haze. At the time it seemed curious that they were making such a big deal of that. I joined the Eta Zeta Chapter, not because of the stand against hazing but because I liked the guys in the chapter.  

As a novice, I remember a time when my big brother and I were washing his car. A member in his junior year approached us and said, “Jim … may I see you for a moment?” The two stepped away and suddenly I heard my big brother laughing as he pointed to my car. We had just washed my vehicle and were washing Jim’s at the time the chapter member walked by. His question of my big brother was whether he was making me help him wash his car. 

The fellow who approached Jim was a year younger and did not serve in an executive office yet he felt comfortable confronting Jim, who was at that time our chapter’s Commander when he saw something that concerned him due to commitment to a “we don’t haze” culture within the chapter. That orientation to the fraternity experience served me so well as a consultant, a fraternity advisor, a Greek dean, and a college vice president. 

This message is one of several that you will receive during “National Hazing Prevention Week.” The fact that a week such as this exists implies that hazing likely continues to occur within Greek organizations.  

I’m not certain that my message will add anything new to what you have received in earlier times. Sigma Nu embraces its ideals of love, honor, and truth. While we are admonished through Sigma Nu to treat our fellowman with courtesy and respect, how can we imagine that the hazing of those who are among the dearest to us has a place within our order? Such thinking makes no sense. Simply put, the mistreatment of anyone and especially fellow members is antithetical to our principles.  

If your chapter is one that continues the practice of hazing, do the following things. Read the preamble to the Creed of Sigma Nu. Read it again. Reflect upon what you read. Discuss with fellow Brothers what the document means. Should hazing create a state of conflict, search for meaning within the Creed and in the resource materials provided by the Fraternity to develop a more embracing approach to bringing our new members into the Brotherhood.  

We owe it to those who have gone before us, to those who will follow, and to those present within our chapters to assimilate new members in a manner that is congruent with our beloved Ideals. 

Bud Richey (Louisiana Tech/Rhodes) 

© 2015-2022 Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc.
9 North Lewis Street, P.O. Box 1869, Lexington, Virginia 24450
Phone: (540) 463-1869 | Fax: (540) 463-1669 | Email: headquarters@sigmanu.org

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