The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, September 27, 1994, Page 3, Image 3

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    Speaker: Hazing unties instead of unites
By Chuck Isom_
Staff Reporter
Hazing. For the Greek system at
UNL and houses across the country,
that word has meant legal difficulties,
declining memberships and has led to
an overall negative view of the greek
system in general.
David Westol, executive director
for Theta Chi International Frater
nity, doesn’t think it should be that
“Hazing is wrong,” Westol told a
combined audience of about 2,000
fraternity and sorority members Mon
day night. “You are playing with the
physical well-being of young men
and women. Hazing hurts your frater
nity or sorority more than it could
ever help it.”
Westol gave two speeches, each
titled “Hazingon Trial.” Each speech
lasted around an hour and a half.
During this time span Westol gave
examples that hazing isn’t what it
appears to be. It’snot the builderofa
strong brother or sister or the forging
of a solid house.
He spoke of the methods that some
fraternities used to “build unity,” such
as making all pledges wear the same
clothes, an identifying symbol such
as a pledge pin or a pledge paddle, or
making them enter the house through
a back door.
These don’t create unity, Westol
said, they destroy individuality.
“Hazing slowly errods at the self
confidence of the pledges. They have
people that they respect yelling at
them, telling them that they are noth
“Hazers are bullies. If you haze
theft you are a bully.” Westol said.
“That’s all a bully is. A person who is
taking advantage of being in a place
of power. Bullies are afraid of what
they are picking on.”
Westol said that if members in the
audience had hazing in their houses
and if they were so proud of it, they
should mention it in their pledge bro
He also asked the students to think
about the members of the fraternity or
sorority who are the most excited about
“Are these the people who attend
all the chapter meetings' Are these
the people who attend all the rituals?
Are these the people who present a
good image of the fraternity? More
than likely not. The ones who believe
in hazing are not the valued members
of a fraternity.”
Westol gave some suggestions how
the Greek system can reduce the haz
ing incidences. He explained how
some private institutions have elimi
nated pledging altogether or have
shortened it to three weeks.
He said greek organizations should
inititate members quickly, then edu
cate members about the house
throughout their collegiate careers,
Westol said he gave his speech 30
to35timesayear. Hesaidhe enjoyed
speaking at colleges. Westol, who
admits that he was hazed in his frater
nity and in turn hazed new pledges,
speaks out against hazing. He asks
students who are being hazed to speak
out and try to find help.
‘‘You can stand up to the individu
als who want you to do something you
don’t want to,” Westol said.
Continued from Page 1
he said. “The entire gang would
just swarm you and beat you until
they thought you had enough.
“After they were finished, ev
erything was fine. They would help
you up, straighten yourjacket, brush
you off and buy you a drink just
like nothing ever happened.”
Nelson said the victims of these
attacks were chosen almost at ran
dom and often for trivial reasons.
“I once saw a guy get stomped
just for accidentally bumping Into
a Mafia member on the dance
floor,” he said.
Nelson said he thought the most
important lesson he learned on his
trip was that Americans made ter
rible tourists.
“Whenever l saw other Ameri
cans in St. Petersburg, I would avoid
them at all costs,” he said. “They
just don’t realize how dangerous
Russia can be.”
Nelson said the ignorance of
American tourists was made pain
fully obvious when thousands of
them flocked to St. Petersburg for
the Goodwill Games last summer.
“People would stand out in the
streets, just flashing huge amounts
of cash, not even thinking about
what could happen,” he said.
“Police had to come in from all
around to protect these people from
muggers. But it was still a pretty
dangerous situation.”
Despite his bad experiences with
both crime and the law, Nelson
said he learned a lot and planned to
return to Russia soon.
“The thing about most Ameri
cans,” Nelson said, “is that they
have a hard time learning the be
haviors and adjusting to a foreign
country. That is what usually cre
ates the elements of danger.”
Nelson said danger could be
avoided with proper precautions.
He said he learned his lessons dur
ing his stay in Russia and planned
to stay safer on his next visit.
“It’s all just a matter of using
your head,” he said. “I’m pretty
sure I won’t have as rough an expe
rience next time.”
American Heart
This space provided as a public service.
©1993, American Heart Association
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