Column: THE SECOND GUNMAN gets fraternal

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WARNING: The names and faces of this column have not been changed. If you join a fraternity, you may be eligible to receive collective administrative enemas before you graduate. Freshman guys, it's time to start thinking about rushing fraternities. This should not sway you in any way. Like those 900 numbers, this is for entertainment purposes only.

It all started so innocently. I picked up my Monday issue of The Chronicle looking forward to news of Daryl Strawberry's most recent cocaine bust and maybe an easy early-week crossword. Then I saw what could be the biggest news break this year: The fraternity system at our school is in hot doodoo.

I found this fraternity news very hard to believe, but this brilliant investigative journalism is precisely why I read The Chronicle each Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:30 to 11:20, and each Tuesday and Thursday from 10:55 to 12:10. On a side note, I feel that 75-minute classes are the main reason behind the recent move of Recess from Friday to Thursday. This allows some of Duke's more resourceful students to keep up with pop culture, complete the crossword puzzle and ignore their professors, all in one sitting.

Unless you've been paying attention to more important things-Halle Berry, Halle Berry, Blazing Sea Nuggets or Halle Berry-you have probably noticed that the Duke admin is cracking down big time in the fraternity fun area. Most pledge tasks are now considered hazing, which is illegal. Fraternities found guilty risk losing their charter. This falls directly in line with the administration's master plan to "not push fraternities off campus." I just contradicted myself. I didn't mean to; it's Nan and Larry's fault. I merely report the facts. Again I digress. Among other things, Duke's administration has blamed fraternity hazing for the West Campus sidewalk drainage problem, Bill Burig's receding hairline, Larry Moneta, Trent, Curriculum 2000, smoking in residence halls, the residence hall smoking ban, Dunleavy's early departure and the waning lemur population.

Oh yeah, frats. The school's biggest beef with them regards a process called "hazing." The allegations are as follows: each spring, fraternities across campus (or at least the ones with double digit pledge classes) force their incoming freshmen to perform "pledge tasks," which often result in "public humiliation," "physical discomfort" and/or "booting." People may ask why these pledge tasks go on, so here's a little background info. Fraternities want to make membership in their organization appealing. One way to go about this is to make earning membership a challenge. Flounder was proud to be a Delta. Your older brother is not proud to be a member of Hair Club for Men. Get it?

Thought so.

This year's biggest fraternity blooper happened in Edens 1B, formerly Kappa Sigma, where a brother fell out of a second story window while relieving himself. That's what he gets for breaking the seal, I guess.

THE SECOND GUNMAN was driving the ambulance that night, a situation that yielded this quote from the fallen soldier. "Grandpa always told me that if I peed on myself, I would dissolve. I didn't realize that he meant my fraternity. Regardless, we plan to adopt that as our new motto. Kappa Sig: 'We pissed through the window and Dean Adams pissed back.'"

The skinny: frats spend fall semester trying to keep freshman guys from drinking their beer. In January, they choose a few that they like, then spend spring semester forcing the beer down their throats. This ensures that they get members who a) want to join for more than just good housing, 2) can drink large quantities of beer and d) can run 10 miles before 6 a.m. without dropping to their knees like Michael Jackson at a NAMBLA convention. The guys who can do this are the future baseball cap wearing legends of your college stories. You know the stories that feature drinking as an agent of natural selection. I see nothing wrong with this system. The administration does.

Here's my argument. The new kids on the block (no, I'm not getting nostalgic) often find themselves at the mercy of those who preceded them. In the workforce, undesirable tasks are often handed out to the newbie, even at Duke. Want an example? Last spring, Duke rookie Larry Moneta won the unenviable task of informing the Alphas that they would be moving to Edens as part of an effort to diversify Main West Campus.

Yeah. Now ask yourself, is that worse than having to eat an entire jar of Mt. Olive Pickles in the Allen building?

With these new hazing rules in place, on-campus fraternities will continue to disappear faster than cold Bud after an AA meeting. West Campus weekend fun will be restricted to watching idiot freshman guys perform pledge tasks. No, those will be gone too. I guess everybody will just have to drink on their respective benches. No wait, sophomores are all underage. Wow, if I didn't know any better, I would think that the campus social scene would reach an all-time low. Lucky for me, I'll be studying abroad next semester. And by that I mean drinking with Dukies, only it will be in Italy and not on East Campus.


Like all good things, THE SECOND GUNMAN's reign of terror must come to an end. E-mail if you are interested in filling these shoes.


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