Date Awarded


Document Type

Dissertation -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Dorothy E. Finnegan


As one participant of my study said, "Yes, I was hazed, and following my induction, I hazed others. That's the way it is and that's the way it will always be." This is how he justified his involvement with hazing within his fraternity.;"For over seven hundred years in higher education, and over two hundred years in American higher education, some form of hazing has existed, a systematic means of indoctrinating new members of the university community through a rite of passage. It is within this culture that fraternities were started" (Kimbrough, 2003, p. 39), including African American organizations. From their beginning, "African American fraternities were created in an effort to provide Black students with the interpersonal, social, educational, and professional support denied to them in many American social and political structures; however, they did not autonomously create the process of violent initiation" (Ross, 2000, p. 6). Even still, hazing has become such a significant problem for African American fraternities that these destructive practices are raising questions regarding the continued existence of these Greek organizations. Individual students, their parents, local chapters, national organizations, legislatures and courts are all affected by the devastating results of hazing and the unwillingness amongst African American fraternity members to eliminate it from their practices.;Through an investigation of the membership intake process for African American fraternities, this research provides a better understanding of the meanings behind hazing activities that occur within that process or even after membership (post-pledging). The problem of this qualitative study was to explore the reasons that African American fraternity members engaged in or allowed themselves to be hazed during their initiation process. I wanted to create a better understanding of the role hazing continues to play within African American fraternities. to accomplish this, my study focused on members of one of the NPHC fraternities, dividing them into three distinct cohorts based from the year they became a member of their fraternity (1990-1995; 1996-2000; and 2001-2006).;Based on my analysis, distinct characteristics define each cohort in a general sense with each cohort having their own individual reasoning for hazing activities within their fraternity. Many similarities were apparent among all the men involved in the study; however, equally, extreme differences emerged as to why they allowed themselves to be hazed. Each cohort, although comprised of five individuals, shared some commonalities unique only to their cohort.;Within this dissertation, I discuss eight distinct areas discovered in my analysis, giving pertinent information relating to each cohort and the overall group as well. The eight areas are: (1) the significance of masculinity and manhood in the induction process; (2) the escalation of violence within hazing activities; (3) intra and inter-fraternity relationships; (4) the relevance of the shift from pledging to the membership intake program; (5) hegemonic versus Afro-centric interests in deciding to join the fraternity; (6) pledging versus hazing; (7) definitions of respect; and (8) attitudes toward hazing.



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