Hazing is dangerous—take it seriously

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Queen’s Finance Association (QFA) had its activities suspended this month following a serious incident of non-academic misconduct. While the details of what occurred at the social aren’t publicly known, a student working for the Commerce Society told The Journal hazing was involved.

Often when a club gets disciplined for activities in the hazing category, it seems arbitrary because the problems in question are so widespread. Hazing is relatively well known—and unfortunately even accepted—among students from all faculties.

However, The University coddles Smith and its students because it’s so profitable, and this special treatment leads to perpetrators of harm being protected over victims.

The absence of administrator comment on this issue is problematic. Reactive policies and brushing these events under the rug won’t make Queen’s a safer or friendlier place to study. When it comes to enforcing rules, transparency as to why they’re in place encourages people to respect them.

It’s only after honest conversations involving both students and administrators that things improve.

We must hold our peers accountable and take the safety of our fellow students seriously—especially first years who look up to upper-year club executives. These students are vulnerable and impressionable and shouldn’t need to risk their lives for validation.

Commerce students care a lot about their futures, which isn’t a bad thing, but it can foster a strange power dynamic between first years and upper-year executives.

In Commerce particularly, the enriching opportunities clubs offer are invaluable. Unfortunately, that means they come with the unique pressure of being gateways to jobs and careers. This necessitates a strong desire for members to prove themselves, often when alcohol is present.

Many young people don’t understand their drinking limits. Yet, alcohol’s centrality to our social lives has set us up to develop unhealthy drinking habits before we even graduate.

Students who don’t identify with campus drinking culture are creating student associations to find community without alcohol. The reality is many students don’t feel represented by existing student organizations—the close relationship between drinking and student life frequently alienates those who don’t want to drink.

Getting drunk isn’t a legitimate hobby and we should stop pretending it is.

Of course, not all Commerce students regard faculty drinking and hazing culture the same way.

Unfortunately, without consequences for hazing activities, people forget, history repeats itself, and the outcome can be even worse than the last time. 

It’s unfair that those QFA members not involved in the incident will miss out on the opportunities it offered. In the future, clubs should think twice about risking their hard work to uphold a toxic tradition.

We must hold individuals accountable, but that alone won’t change our toxic drinking culture and break decades of hazing tradition.

QFA isn’t the only club to blame, but its suspension should lead us to properly address this behaviour at all Commerce clubs and in the greater student community.

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