Men of Honor

frat pic

What is a Frat? A fraternity as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary is a men’s student organization formed chiefly for social purposes having secret rites and a name consisting of Greek letters. Fraternities also known as “frats”  are groups of men for one purpose, but what is that purpose? In past times the point of fraternities were a brotherhood that represent good academia, honor, service and some sort of development for its members. My question is should they or should they not be banned from colleges and universities. If you aren’t very familiar with the way members of these societies are chosen I’ll give a brief overview.

In the beginning of the school year many bright eyed and bushy tailed freshmen arrive on campus, majority of them with high hopes of joining a fraternity. May it be family history, parties, girls or just a sense of inclusion in many cases the reason these boys want to be apart of “Blank Phi Blank” is already pretty clear. There are some cases where “pledges” are not freshmen but for the most part, first year students are the target. There is a system, it starts with a few parties and soon makes its way to a formal recruitment called rush week. Rush week is designed for current members to get to know those new boys that would like to be members and also give the new boys a chance to feel out which “frat” they’d like to pledge. After the end of this period the fraternities normally give out bids, to invite those they want, to start pledging. Pledging seals the deal but is also one of the most important and challenging parts of the process, this is where “hazing” sometimes occurs. Hazing is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as the practice of playing unpleasant tricks on someone or forcing someone to do unpleasant things. Hazing is a very controversial topic and is a reason some fraternities have eliminated pledging as apart of initiation.

In Chapter 8 of John Locke’s Social Contract he begins saying “ Men being, as has been said, by nature, all free, equal, and independent, no one can be put out of this estate, and subjected to the political power of another, without his own consent. The only way, whereby any one divests himself of his natural liberty,and puts on the bonds of  civil society, is by agreeing with other men to join and unite into a community, for their comfortable, safe, and peaceable living one amongst another, in a secure enjoyment of their properties, and a greater security against any,that are not of it.”

When I read this I immediately agreed with Locke. No men should have anything taken from him and put under the power of someone else without his own consent. Issues with Hazing relate to this. These boys want to be apart of this group, they give consent to live this lifestyle, to possibly risk lower gpa’s and staying up until all times of the night, being on call at all times is there choice.

Would Locke agree with fraternities? According to his Social Contract, yes. As long as the members of the fraternities are okay with what goes on inside of them what’s the problem. “For when any number of men have, by the consent of every individual, made a community, they have thereby made that community one body, with a power to act as one body, which is only by the will and determination of the majority”

Fraternities were originally created around academia and have now evolved into a way to improve social interactions. Although some may disagree fraternities do serve their purpose and as long as the members within are all in agreement John Locke would be in favor of them.

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“Go Fast and Win”

The entrance of Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving.

“More power! More power! More power! Ease off the gas, break, find the apex, look at your exit, more power, more power!” my instructor Rob yelled over the roar of the Corvette zo6. I had just completed a turn on the racetrack on a chilly December morning at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Arizona last year. I have never been much of a racing enthusiast; I have always found it more interesting to play soccer, football, or basketball despite my dad’s urges to discover the beauty of racing. When my dad signed me up for a 2-day course driving a stick shift Corvette zo6 at Bondurant last year, I knew I was in for a treat. I admit I wasn’t thrilled to be going to Bondurant; I just learned how to drive stick shift and wasn’t very confident in my ability to drive a car with a manual transmission. Instead of trying to convince my dad to get me out of the course, I held my tongue because I knew it was extremely important to him that I do this. Although I was initially told this trip was meant to make me a more skilled driver, in retrospect, it might have also been my dad’s way of showing me how difficult it is to be a racecar driver and instill in me respect for the sport.

Racing a Corvette zo6 at Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in December 2013.

Racing a Corvette zo6 at Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in December 2013.

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Rights in School

You spent multiple years in elementary, middle, high school, and even college learning about the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, and Constitution. Students understand why the United States declared their independence from Great Britain. Students understand the issues with the Articles of Confederation and why we wrote the Constitution. Students understand the bill of rights and there rights under the constitution. It seems imperative that all students in the United States learn about their freedoms or rights. Continue reading

Where is MY Money?

Contract Pic- Poli Sci

The National Football League (NFL) is a multi-billion dollar company  that showcases the talents of the best football players in the world each week. Football is a barbaric collision sport that test the manhood of each player that steps on that football field on Sundays. These high caliber athletes put their bodies on the line each week for their families, the fans and most importantly their teammates. Football is arguably the most dangerous sport with the highest risk of injury that leaves permanent damages on the body. These courageous men play football because they love the game and it is their way of income. But unfortunately, not every player in the NFL has the satisfaction of knowing that their contracts are guaranteed. The NFL does not have guaranteed contracts like basketball, baseball and hockey, because most contracts in the NFL are based on performance. You perform well, you will be paid, if not you are in jeopardy of being cut and not receiving any compensation for your performance. Now, there are certain situations  like JJ Watt, defensive end of the Houston Texans who recently signed a 6 year $100 million dollar contract and Calvin Johnson, wide receiver of the Detroit Lions who signed a 7 year $132 million dollar extension. Even though these men are the best at their position and two of the top players in the NFL, they still aren’t guaranteed to see all of their money. If they don’t perform on the field, suffer a career threatening or ending injury and are unable to play, they will not see all of their money. Why is that the case? Because the NFL does not have guaranteed contracts. These men are literally risking their mental and physical health each week for the love of the game,  the least the owners could do is pay them for their labor?

In SOCIAL CONTRACTS Excerpts from Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, John Locke, Second Treatise oGovernment, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, On the Social Contract.” Locke disagreed with Hobbes about contracts and who they should be between. For him, it was not just an agreement among the people, but between the people and the sovereign (usually a king). Locke argued that the natural rights of individuals (life, liberty, prosperity) limited the power of the king. The king does not hold absolute power, as Hobbes had said, but acted only to enforce and protect the natural rights of the people.

So, if contacts are not only an agreement between the people but between the sovereign, what are contracts good for? Contracts are good for requiring the employee and employer to keep their end of the bargain, and most importantly understand that if they don’t respect the contract and or don’t abide by the rules of the contract in any way, shape, or form that there will be consequences. Contracts also indicate that there is lack of trust and stability between the two parties because a legal document has to be intact for both parties to stay true their word.

NFL Sunday hard hits

NFL Sunday hard hits

Locke argues that contracts don’t insure absolute powers to kings which in this case would be NFL owners but they should be able to guarantee contracts for their players. According to Austin Porter’s article, How far does a contract really go” he explains that the majority of NFL contracts are not actually legally binding to the team. Players are not guaranteed the money they are promised when signing the deal, they are only promised the money for the season they are currently playing. The most important part of NFL contracts are the signing bonuses because the player will receive all the money no matter what happens. Signing bonus are the only guaranteed part of NFL contracts. For example, when running back Chris Johnson signed his $13.4 million dollar extension with a $10 million dollar signing bonus, he was only guaranteed to see $10 million and the money for each year that he plays. So, if Johnson were to have a career ending injury or get cut from the team he would not receive his whole $56 million dollar worth of his entire contract. He would only receive his $10 million bonus along with his 2012 salary of $8 million which is only $18 million of a projected six-year, $56 million deal or 18 percent of his contract. Unlike the NBA, all the money on their contracts are guaranteed. Grant Hill signed a 7 year $93 million dollar contract with the Orlando Magic and he only played 47 games due to injury. But, over the 7 year span he eventually saw all $93 million. Not taking anything away from basketball but from a physical and mental standpoint the sport does not compare to football. NFL players take more of a beating on their body and have a higher risk of injury and permanent damage. The average career span of an NFL player is 3.5 years. There are so many factors that limit players from playing longer and competing at a high level. The human body can only take so much punishment and the fine line is different in every football player’s career. I believe NFL players deserve to have guaranteed contracts as long as they can play the game because in football, the next play is never promised. Do you?