Views | Jenn Hillier to The Clarion
This article is a response to the article "Branded into Brotherhood" which can be read at http://www.bethel.edu/news/clarion/articles/2012/october/e2-branding. | Drea Chalmers
I would like the opportunity to share a few thoughts in response to the article “Branded into Brotherhood.”
I was disheartened when I opened the Oct. 11 Clarion and read about how some freshman men are choosing to brand themselves. The article concerned me on several levels. I was very concerned that the tone of this article seemed to glorify an activity that has obvious health risks and the probability of long-term regrets. It is equally concerning that the article suggested that “brotherhood” is developed through juvenile activities rather than depth of relationships.
As a member of the Bethel University Residence Life staff, I feel compelled to clearly state that Bethel is not in favor of or supportive of "branding" in any way, and in fact, we would discourage it and consider it to be an unwise decision. While we cannot regulate students’ personal decisions to brand their bodies, putting any type of social pressure on other members of the floor to participate is not acceptable. This type of behavior would fall under the category of hazing, a practice that is absolutely out of line with Bethel's community values. We have very plainly communicated our expectations with the men who live on the second floor of Edgren Hall.
Our desire is to see students come into community in the residence halls and find a space where they can learn and grow in faith, knowledge and maturity. I want nothing more than for our students to find brotherhood, sisterhood and deep friendships. I encourage the men of Edgren to build deep friendships on their floor. However, my hope is that they, and other students, would find a more meaningful way to form that connection.
When I think back on the experiences in college that created real connections with my friends, they have far more to do with weekly breakfasts, shared service to others, Bible studies, trips together, supporting each other in sorrows and joys,and sacrificial acts of friendship on behalf of each other. These are the types of activities that create long, lasting ties.