The Silliman University Student Organization and Activities Division (SOAD) has issued new guidelines for the initiation or acceptance rites of fraternities, sororities, and organizations after a recent hazing death in Manila.
Guillo Ceasar Servando, an 18-year-old student of De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, died after suffering injuries from hazing during the initiation rites of Tau Gamma Phi Fraternity. This incident led the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to order colleges and universities to tighten their regulations regarding these rites in compliance with Republic Act no. 8049 or the Anti-hazing law.
Abe P. Cadelina, head of SOAD, said that under the new guidelines, fraternities and sororities are required to secure to secure a permit and to provide details about their rites.
Along with the groups’ advisers, two regular faculty or staff members of the university will supervise the acceptance rites.
“All acceptance rites should be held inside the campus within three days. During the event, university personnel are required and must be present so they can monitor the activities,” he said.
Aside from that, all activities during the rites should be documented and attested, and the lists of participating members and applicants should be checked and reviewed by the university representative, he said.
“In organizations with both male and female members, male members are not allowed to initiate a female neophyte and vice versa,” Cadeliña said.
He stressed that freshmen students are not allowed to join fraternities and sororities
Although there have been no reported hazing incidents at SU, Cadeliña said that his office is reinforcing the university’s policy against hazing by drafting new guidelines on acceptance rites.
“The fraternities and sororities in the campus are not the ‘barbaric type’ because we have values and we are educated. We are expected to be men of law. Many frat men know their limitations and boundaries and they abide by the law,” Cadeliña said.
The Anti-Hazing Law
Under the law, “no hazing or initiation rites in any form or manner by a fraternity, sorority or organization shall be allowed without prior written notice to the school authorities or head of organization seven (7) days before the conduct of such initiation.”
The law also states that, “the written notice shall indicate the period of the initiation activities which shall not exceed three (3) days, shall include the names of those to be subjected to such activities, and shall further contain an undertaking that no physical violence be employed by anybody during such initiation rites.”
The secret tradition
In response to the SOAD guidelines, a fraternity officer pointed out that initiation rites are part of tradition and are designed to mold a person.
Deniell Magaso, president of Sigma Rho Fraternity and Delta Lamba Sigma Sorority, said that although fraternities and sororities have different kinds of traditions, what keeps them together “is the common knowledge that [members] earned the right to be part of the fraternity/sorority by the services [they] endured.”
Although hazing is not practiced in SU, Magaso said that the new set of guidelines “stripped away the one part of the tradition that should be kept secret.”
“I don’t know how this new system will affect the next generation of survivors who have not at least tasted the tradition, but let us allow future generations to decide,” Magaso added.
Sanctions for violations
According to the guidelines, alumni of organizations are strictly prohibited from participating in the initiation and acceptance rites.
“In the past and in the practice of other universities, it is always the alumni that cause problems. The alumni will not be sanctioned, but a student who will violate a policy [under the new guidelines] will be the one who will be punished,” said Cadeliña.
Cadeliña added that the punishment of the students who will violate a policy is a series of programs such as community service and other disciplinary activities intended to educate them.
SU expects personnel from the CHED to monitor the activities of fraternities and sororities on campus.
By Leslie J. Batallones