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Clubs to eliminate physical pledging requirements

By Linda Bailey
Posted on March 30, 2011 | News | 2 comments

Pledging will look a little different next fall. Administrators eliminated the use of calisthenics as an approved pledging activity and shortened pledging to five weeks from six weeks.

Calisthenics is defined as systematic rhythmic bodily exercises performed, usually without apparatus, according to Webster’s Dictionary and the ACU Anti-Hazing Policy and Philosophy.

“The changes that they have come up with will give us a system that focuses more and more on building people up to develop bonds of brotherhood as opposed to any other direction or method to achieve the same goal,” said Tom Craig, director of student productions.

The changes were a result of several months of evaluations and discussions between the Board of Trustees, the legal office and the President’s Cabinet, Craig said.

“The pledging process at ACU is actually a constantly changing process in the sense that it’s constantly reviewed; it’s constantly evaluated; it’s constantly looked at to be improved,” Craig said. “With that, several entities have looked at our existing pledging process and made some improvements on it to bring it more in line with what is consistent with anti-hazing laws and what is normal and acceptable in other universities.”

Craig said he gave an overview of the changes to each acting club president and future fall president and will meet with each club individually to evaluate every pledging activity to see if it falls in line with the new guidelines.

“For some of our groups, it’s just a few modifications. For other groups it’s large-scale transformation,” Craig said. “The good thing is, we will brainstorm with each of our groups to help them come up with something that falls within the guidelines and really create something that works for them.”

Alpha Kai Omega President Kelsi Wicks, junior animal science major from Tyler, said quite a few of the Alpha Kai pledging activities involved physical activity and one in particular would need to change completely, but club officers have already started brainstorming.

“The hardest part will be coming up with something that is just as unifying,” Wicks said. “I know from my pledging experience, that the activities that included physical activity were where our pledge class bonded the most.”

Gamma Sigma Phi also uses physical activity as part of their pledging, but upcoming GSP President-elect Houston Beasley, junior accounting major from McKinney, said GSP will do their best to maintain traditions while falling in line with new rules.

“It’s no sense in sitting and thinking about what could have been,” Beasley said. “It is what it is. You have to run with it and that’s what we’re doing.”

Although pledging activities may take some restructuring, Wicks said she thinks often the meaning of physical activity gets lost through the years, and the changes will allow clubs to reevaluate meaning behind pledging activities.

“I think that it will be a good thing because I think we’ll be more respected on campus and it will give every officer team an opportunity to reformat their pledging and come up with activities that represent values of their club as a whole,” Wicks said.

avatar Posted by Linda Bailey on Mar 30th, 2011 and filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.  - This post has been viewed 112133 times.

2 Responses for “Clubs to eliminate physical pledging requirements”

  1. avatar whitneyic says:

    I’m going to have to agree with Weck. I went through pledging and loved it. Sure…it had its moments of not greatness, but never once was I discouraged because I knew that everything we did had a purpose, a tradition, and was a piece in the puzzle of sisterhood and being part of something bigger than yourself.

    The no physical activity is a slippery slope that seems like it is one step too far. If a certain club is proposing an activity that the leadership deems excessive, deal with that activity; not the activities of the whole. It seems counterproductive to the significance of pledging. I don’t think anyone would condone excessive physical activity, but that is a far stretch from hazing. Hazing laws were meant to protect people from danger and situations that should not be forced on anyone. I have rarely seen that from the Christian men and women who are the voices of the social clubs on campus. Let’s give them a little more credit than this.

  2. avatar Weck says:

    “The changes that they have come up with will give us a system that focuses more and more on building people up to develop bonds of brotherhood as opposed to any other direction or method to achieve the same goal,” said Tom Craig, director of student productions.

    So, you can’t be “built up” through physical activity? I guess I and my fellow pledge class were a complete anomaly considering we achieved exactly that. And exactly how far do you take this rule? I remember having to beat a guy in ping pong to earn his visit — is that now interpreted as over the line since it requires physical exertion? Does playing patty cake count too?

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