The New Fraternity Culture Essay Research Paper — страница 2

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text that begins, ?We know you have better things to do than blow your money textbooks? (Miller 1). This message promotes and legitimizes a college drinking culture that according to the Surgeon General Antonia Novella is ??spinning out of control?? (Elson 64). In a survey of students at 140 colleges by researchers at the Harvard University School of Public Health, forty-four percent of students reported binge drinking, which the study defined for men as consuming five or more drinks in a row within the previous two weeks, and for women as consuming four or more drinks in a row (Wechsler 2). According to the survey, eighty-six percent of fraternity house residents engage in binge drinking and fraternity members were also more likely to state that drinking and partying are more

important activities (Wechsler 1674). Ryan Fellman, a junior at Emory University and the treasurer of Kappa Alpha, says, ?being in a fraternity is all about having a house to have parties and the social funds to do it right? (Reisberg A59). Fewer students now seem inclined to pay hundreds of dollars in dues to be part of a system that has a reputation for physically abusing its pledges and in some cases, endangering members? lives with excessive drinking. After hitting a record of about 400,000 undergraduates in 1990, fraternity membership has plunged as much as thirty percent in the past decade (A59). The secondhand effects of binge drinking jeopardize the scholarly and collegial environment that administrators and faculty attempt to create for their students. Forty-one percent

of academic problems stem from alcohol abuse, ranging from missed courses, poor grades, failed classes or dropping out altogether. Twenty-eight percent of the students who drop out of school do so because of the influence of alcohol (Last Call 3). According to another survey performed at the Foundation for Academic Standards and Tradition, fifty-six percent of all students say that the pressure to drink adversely affects their schoolwork (Zogby 1). When students drink heavily, their health and safety is put at risk. Many college students are not aware that the effects of their drinking may have long-lasting consequences. According to researchers at Duke University, teenagers who drink heavily are often susceptible to serious brain damage and increased memory loss later in

adulthood (Binge Drinking 3). Even more detrimental are the fatal accidents that occur as a result of alcohol abuse. In 1998, a student at the University of Michigan died when she fell out of her dormitory window after drinking too much alcohol (Reisberg 5). There have been a number of alcohol related deaths associated with fraternity hazing. Many believe that hazing in fraternities is nothing more than silly antics and harmless pranks like those remembered from the 1980s hit comedy Animal House. The realities of hazing are dramatically different than the humorous images many people associate with the term. Since 1971, fifty-four fraternity members have died from hazing on U.S. college campuses (Schubert 1). Twenty-year-old Chuck Stenzel was an athlete and honors student at

Alfred University in New York when he pledged Klan Alpine fraternity in 1978. One evening, the older fraternity brothers came to the dorms and shoved Chuck and two other pledges into the trunk of a car, with a pint of Jack Daniels, a 6-pack of beer and a quart of wine. They were told to consume all the booze by the time the car stopped. Later, the pledges were coerced to drink even more at the fraternity house until they passed out. Chuck was carried upstairs and left on a mattress, where he stopped breathing soon afterward. ??The circumstances were compounded by the fact that it was a planned, premeditated act that could have been prevented,?? said his devastated mother, Eileen Stevens (Nuwer 109). Far too many parents have been awakened in the night to receive the devastating

news of the loss of their child to hazing. For example, MIT, one of the finest science schools in the world, recently agreed to pay almost $6 million to the family of a student who died of acute alcohol poisoning, while pledging a fraternity in the Fall of 1997. Freshman Scott Krueger was found unconscious and lying in a pool of vomit at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house, and died in a hospital three days later. Doctors said his blood-alcohol level was as high as .41 ? five times the legal limit in Massachusetts. Almost one year after Krueger drank himself to death, Massachusetts prosecutors charged the fraternity he was pledging with manslaughter and hazing (Henry 1). The death of a twenty-year-old Louisiana State University fraternity pledge also recently drew the nation?s