Fraternities host open house, talk about hazing

FMU hosted the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) Fraternity Open House from 6 p.m to 7:15 p.m. on Feb. 5 in Lowrimore Auditorium.

NPHC is comprised of African-American fraternities and sororities. Two NPHC fraternities are currently active on campus, Alpha Phi Alpha and Kappa Phi Kappa, while two NPHC sororities are active on campus.

The fraternity and sorority open houses used to be combined, but due to safety concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic, they were separated into two different meetings. The open house also used to include breakout sessions, where students could go and learn more about a specific fraternity or sorority.

Several of the members of the fraternities or sororities would attend in order to answer any questions other students might have. This year, the breakout sessions could not be held due to COVID-19. To join a NPHC fraternity or sorority, a student must attend an NPHC Open House.

The number of students in attendance was also reduced. Some of the speakers filmed short videos instead of attending. Instead of several of the fraternity members attending, only members in leadership roles attended.

Alpha Phi Alpha has been on campus nearly since the founding of FMU. They were established in 1975.  Alpha Phi Alpha runs several events throughout the year, such as Show Time McNair and the Black and Gold Pageant. They also do service projects in the community.

The Chapter President of Alpha Phi Alpha, Adrien McClintock, spoke briefly to the attendees about why he joined Alpha Phi Alpha.

“I was actually interested back at Morris College, and I saw a stroll from some fraternities and sororities,” McClintock said. “And that got me interested in fraternities.”

Kappa Alpha Sci is the other active NPHC fraternity on campus. Junior Math major and fraternity brother Malachi Dawson spoke briefly about Kappa Alpha Sci.

“I was always interested in fraternity life,” Dawson said. “I really wanted to do it because I knew what I wanted to accomplish.”

Both fraternities try to help develop the leadership skills of the young men that join.

“I have seen myself grow,” Dawson said.

Dean of Students Latasha Brand gave a briefing on FMU’s hazing policy and South Carolina’s hazing law. South Carolina law forbids hazing of any kind, and FMU likewise forbids hazing. Even those present who do not actively participate in hazing can be held legally responsible.

According to SC Code 16-3-510, hazing includes any “acts which have a foreseeable potential for causing physical harm to a person for the purpose of initiation.” Hazing can also include acts such as going for extended periods of time without sleep.

“[Hazing education] is a lot like car insurance,” Brand said. “You get it just in case you have an accident. You don’t expect or intend to get into an accident, but in case you do, you know you’re covered. And that’s basically what this is about.”

Any hazing activity should be reported to Brand as soon as possible.