Invictus: Hazing and the Future of Black Greek-letter Organizations


Gregory S. Parks


Invictus: Hazing and the Future of Black Greek-letter Organizations

Hazing has been a persistent issue within National Pan-Hellenic Council Organizations—the nine, major black Greek-letter organizations (“BGLOs”)—for generations. It is an issue that many of the organizations’ leaders and members as well as commentators and critics believe will result in the ultimate demise of these groups. While BGLO hazing has persisted in some shape or form since the early parts of the 20th Century, efforts to end it have been, largely, fruitless. From the perspective of Gregory S. Parks, JD, PhD—author of Invictus: Hazing and the Future of Black Greek-letter Organizations—a significant reason why hazing within BGLOs has not been curtailed is because the organizations have been ineffective in appreciating the nuances of the issue. In essence, they look at it through the lens of, simply, problematic undergraduates and a handful of enabling alumni members. However, there are myriad of difficult questions that BGLOs must grapple with if they are to make any true progress toward a solution for hazing.

What is the actual arc and history of hazing, especially within BGLOs? What is the tally of deaths, injuries, institutional sanctions, and both civil and criminal sanctions? Why are members wedded to their beliefs that hazing is either fruitless or fruitful for the longevity of BGLOs? Does it matter what method is used to bring potential members into BGLOs with regard to the extent that they remain committed to their organization and its members? Do factors like personality, impulsivity, and risk awareness influence hazing, and if so, are there solutions that can be drawn from said findings? Are BGLOs more physically violent than their white counterparts? Are BGLO fraternities more violent than BGLO sororities? To what extent do questions about black masculinity and homophobia undergird hazing in BGLO fraternities? Is there a broader culture of rule and law violation, by-stander effect, and demonizing whistle-blowers within BGLOs—seen even at the higher echelons of leadership—that is emblematic of what you find among the undergraduates? Does personality motivate hazing “victims” to seek out victimization? Can “victims” actually consent to hazing? Assuming that they can, what evidence in litigation might be used for an effective defense? Ultimately, are BGLOs on the brink of their demise, and what factors may lend support for this conclusion?

In sum, this book seeks to answer these, and other, questions.


-- Gregory, S. Parks, J.D., Ph.D., Wake Forest University School of Law