I certainly have seen the worst of what fraternity life can be. But despite that experience, I believe in the positive potential of fraternities and sororities, and I have worked for 20 years to protect them from the dangerous, dysfunctional, and destructive forces of hazing.
After the announcement of the ban this week, the bold move by the NIC was (deservedly) praised for being a much needed, albeit long overdue, step in the fight against hazing and other alcohol-related issues that have plagued fraternities throughout their history. In the wake of what may have been fraternities' deadliest year on record, the collective call for a significant changes was deafening.
But make no mistake: this is only a step toward a solution, not the be-all, end-all solution.
The fact that McNair's death was pointless and wholly avoidable is obvious, and hardly a revelation at all. But, what the player's death and the months thereafter illustrate are the addictive, insidious, destructive, and systematic nature of organizations that are tearing people down rather than building them up.
To be sure, regardless of whether or not the behavior was hazing or not, it was clearly wrong. It was homophobic, racist, and sexist, and it is being rightfully condemned by the school, the fraternity, the media, and the general public.
With that said, does it really matter if we call it hazing or not?
The map of the Hero’s Journey is absolutely true for every one of us in our journeys to become the very best versions of ourselves. In the beginning, we have to step out of the expectations and limits that others have for us, then hone our skills and strengths, and finally use the culmination of our experience to make a difference in the lives of the people around us.