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.