My informant was visiting USC and on the second night of her stay, she went out to find a late night snack. While wandering around campus, she saw a few naked guys, presumably students, jumping around in one of the fountains. They then ran off. She had heard stories of such an act being part of hazing and so attributed the sighting to that.
Seeing that was interesting, she said, because she doesn’t personally see the value in something like hazing but knows it’s important to some fraternities and to some people. To her, though, it was just more evidence of the shallowness and lack of worth of most frats.
Hazing rituals have been going on in colleges for decades, and though administrations try to crack down, it always seems to remain. The rituals are usually embarrassing and uncomfortable, as well as sometimes dangerous. I believe their intention is to humble those who want to join the frat so they know their place. And because of their existence, actually being in a frat seems more significant since hazing makes it difficult to join. It makes it seem more exclusive and special. Hazing is also supposed to bond those attempting to join together via their humiliating experience. Personally, though, I’m not sure I see much point to the rituals. Many frat students seem to want to continue the trend only because they had to go through it; performing the ritual on someone else is like a taking back of power, a revenge for what was done to them, but exacted upon someone else. The rituals also often reflect this human desire to have power over others and even to inflict pain upon them, even if it something we generally repress.