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Fraternities try to break hazing stereotypes during recruitment

Men at Ohio State go through fraternity recruitment hoping to get a bid from the chapter of their choice with each new semester. Current fraternity members see this recruitment process as an opportunity to break stereotypes that come along with Greek life.
James Hibbard, a third-year in linguistics, is a member of Phi Gamma Delta and said some students not part of Greek life tend to classify all fraternities together, and that results in stereotypes.
“We realize that it’s a constant effort to break stereotypes, and that’s what we do,” Hibbard said. “We can start with our chapter and our group of brothers to change people’s minds.”
Hibbard said Phi Gamma Delta makes it clear during these recruitment weeks that it has a zero-tolerance hazing policy.
“Respect is important,” Hibbard said. “Respect for the potential, respect for the pledge and respect for your future brother.”
Jim Neidinger, a fourth-year in marketing and OSU Interfraternity Council president, said all new recruits go through an information session about what to expect during the rush process.
“As far as hazing goes, we partnered with the other councils during anti-hazing week in the fall,” Neidinger said. “We showed a movie about a real-life hazing and we did some pre- and post-discussion.”
IFC oversees 37 fraternities on campus, which range in size from about 15 to 100 members.
Neidinger said most fraternities can combat stereotypes through everyday actions.
Taylor Edwards, a third-year in civil engineering and Kappa Sigma president, said his chapter is known for not being a stereotypical fraternity.
“It’s good and we use that, and that helps us get (recruits),” he said.
Edwards said he acknowledges stereotypes that come along with Greek life, including the hazing situation that occurred within the Beta Theta Pi, Theta chapter last year.
Beta Theta Pi at OSU has been removed from campus, unable to return until January 2014 after confirmed incidents of hazing, according to Lantern archives.
A representative from Beta Theta Pi told The Lantern in April that the OSU chapter was rife with “larger cultural issues” as well.
Edwards said he takes steps to prevent similar situations from happening in the OSU Kappa Sigma chapter.
“We have meetings to come up with a complete schedule for the entire (pledge) process so we know every day what they’re doing,” Edwards said. “It’s structured and there can never be a case again where something like that can happen.”
Although Edwards and many other chapter presidents work to overcome stereotypes, there are still some students that don’t find Greek life appealing.
Jason Wilke, a first-year in aerospace engineering, said he sees how most fraternities are and he was not interested in getting involved.
“I guess it was a lifestyle choice,” Wilke said. “I know not all of them are like that but that’s just how I see it.”
Others, such as Aaron Cheney, a first-year in history, said they weren’t interested in joining because they found good friends elsewhere.
“I’m involved in some other things already,” Cheney said. “I didn’t really think I needed to join another big community.”
Although these stereotypes exist, Hibbard encourages underclassman to consider joining Greek life, and had advice to those planning on rushing.
“Try not to be something you’re not, just be you and ultimately the place where you get a bid is a place that will accept you for who you are,” Hibbard said. “That’s what you want to be surrounded by, people that are going to accept you.”  

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