As the new semester begins, students across campus are, as usual, looking to the quad with wide eyes and bated breath. All of these preternaturally open eyes were on Dr. Anne Reber, current interim Director of Student Life and Director of Disability Services at Texas A&M as she reviewed the current state of hazing in the Corps of Cadets.
Dr. Reber has the power to alter regulations concerning hazing among student organizations. This has long been a controversial subject among both the khaki clad members of our campus and those who exercise their right of free dress.
Yesterday, Dr. Reber delivered a stunning proclamation. As of Spring 2015, the Corps of Cadets will be required to stop shaking hands, in order to cut back on hazing.
That’s right, the ubiquitous greeting of clasping hands will be included in the list of acts that:
“endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student, or that destroys or removes public or private property; and/or assisting, directing, or in any way causing others to participate in degrading behavior and/or behavior that causes ridicule, humiliation, or embarrassment; and/or engaging in conduct which tends to bring the reputation of the organization, group, or University into disrepute for the purpose of initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a group or organization; or as part of any activity of a recognized student organization, student group, Corps of Cadets, Corps outfit, Corps unit, or Corps Special Activities. Previously relied upon “traditions,” (including Corps, fraternity/sorority, or any other group or organization activity, practice or tradition) intent of such acts, or coercion by current or former student leaders of such groups, or former students will not suffice as a justifiable reason for participation in such acts. It is not a defense that the person (or group) against whom the hazing was directed consented to, or acquiesced to, the behavior in question,”
…according to the university’s definition of hazing.
This decision will affect all members of the corps. Freshmen will no longer be required to approach upperclassmen and shout all manner of biographical information to the intently listening quad, but neither will upperclassmen be allowed to shake hands with others.
“We do not want any members to feel ostracized or put down by anything. Shaking hands will be prohibited within corps units in order to create a community of acceptance and inclusion,” Dr. Reber said.
The corps staff supports the decision, saying that hazing has gone unattended on the quad for far too long.
“That such a form of hazing as pernicious as shaking hands has gone unchecked for so long is utterly unacceptable,” Dr. Reber said, shaking her head.
The new regulations will be forcefully enforced beginning Spring 2015.
“Anyone caught shaking hands will be reviewed by a jury of their peers. You can be sure that we will push for expulsion,” Dr. Reber said.
Senior business honors major David Trigg has come out in support of the new mandate.
“We need to protect our tradition of respect and discipline. This is just a new way to do that,” Trigg said.
Trigg acknowledged that the changes might be difficult for some to follow.
“This was a thing that had, regrettably, become so commonplace in our culture. I know that some cadets will have a hard time letting go of it,” Trigg said.
Trigg suggested students take precautions to avoid accidental hand shaking.
“As you can see, I’ve constructed a sling to keep my hand safely tied at my chest. This way there is no temptation on either side,” Trigg said with a beaming smile.
Though generally supported, this verdict has sparked outrage among some students.
Sophomore cadet, philosophy major, and self proclaimed free spirit, Kyle Steed said, “They are just being way too militaristic.”