“Although hazing is not unique to Cornell,” the university’s official anti-hazing web site says, “we believe that it is important to examine these practices explicitly in an attempt to overcome the secrecy that perpetuates them.” An honorable and civilized goal, we have to agree. By shining light on the practice, we can educate people and dispel myths like “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” We can reassure hazing victims that they’re not alone.
We can also learn some awesome new hazing ideas. Bored with that old cliche of Saran-wrapping pledges face-to-face and making them drink until they pee on each other? Try haze No. 2, “requiring new members to eat only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for one week.” More subtle comedy is to be found in No. 16, making pledges wear multiple layers of clothing to class. OK, so “New members were struck with blunt objects, leaving bruises and scars” isn’t quite so funny. But haze No. 26, “Members sprayed water and beer on a tile basement floor and dragged naked new members around by their feet around them calling them “human squeegees”? Pure character-building.
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Cornell Hazing Techniques
- Members sent instant messages to new members at various times of day and night ordering them to run errands for them.
- Members required new members to eat only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for one week.
- Members required new members to stand in the dark and listen to the same song played repeatedly.
- Members were required to memorize exorbitant amounts of information about the group and were verbally abused when they answered questions incorrectly on a quiz.
- Members restricted new members’ sleep by frequently waking them or requiring them to perform menial tasks or exercises in the middle of the night.
- New members were given impossible tasks to perform in front of members who mocked them during the process.
- Members pressured new members to simulate oral sex with cucumbers.
Members blindfolded new members and dropped them off several miles from campus and told them to find their way back.
- New members were required to dress up to look like prostitutes or homeless people and parade around Collegetown.
- Members pressured new members of the same sex to “make out” with each other.
- Members required new members to perform a range of tasks such as cleaning the apartment of a friend.
- Members required new members to perform extensive calisthenics, at times to the point of collapse.
Members mixed together a combination of unpalatable leftover food and required the new members to eat it.
- Members verbally abused new members at meals by calling them derogatory names, not allowing them to speak, and requiring them to eat while standing in a corner.
- Members told new members to bring bathing suits and magic markers to an event and falsely told them that sisters would circle the body fat on new members.
- Members required new members to live with members for a week during which they were not allowed to communicate with anyone else and were required to wear multiple layers of clothing to class.
- New members were seated together at a table in a completely dark room. The surface of the table was covered with ketchup, mustard and hot sauce. The new members were required to press their faces against the top of the table and remain in that position for four hours.
- New members were required to memorize detailed information about the current members. They were interrogated in a dark room with a bright light shining in their faces. When new members answered incorrectly, current members threw ladles full of mustard and ketchup in their faces.
- New members were required to drink water from a cleaned toilet, hold the water in their mouths, then crawl to a fireplace where they spit out the water to extinguish an imaginary fire.
- Members were given condoms and falsely told that they would have to have sex with a farm animal.
- Members made a new member lie down on a gravel road and do extensive push-ups on his knuckles that caused bleeding and left scars.
- Members transported new members out of town where they were forced by members from another campus to endure rigorous calisthenics and humiliation.
- On a cold night, members stripped their new members, restrained them to trees with duct tape, and sprayed them with water from a hose.
- New members were required to steal private property as part of a scavenger hunt.
- Members made new members lie down naked in a makeshift pool filled with six inches of ice water, beer, kitchen garbage, and urine. Other new members took turns standing on a stepladder above the pool and attempted to drop raw eggs into the mouth of the new member lying in the fluid.
- Members sprayed water and beer on a tile basement floor and dragged naked new members around by their feet around them calling them “human squeegees”.
- Members kicked and punched new members while they did calisthenics, causing extensive bruising.
- Members told new members that they would be branded as part of their initiation. After blindfolding the new members and placing them by a fire, members took branding irons immersed in ice water and pressed them against the new members’ skin. Unable to distinguish cold from hot, new members thought they were being branded.
- On a winter night, members pressured new members to consume large quantities of alcohol and then drove them to the shore of Cayuga Lake. Members threw sticks in the freezing water and told the intoxicated new members that if they wanted their bids, they had to dive in and retrieve the sticks. In one case, a new member who had earlier taken a prescription medication for an injury had a life-threatening reaction after entering the water and required transport to the emergency room.
- New members were struck with blunt objects leaving bruises and scars.