Greek-life not gang-like for Jacks

Eric Ariel Salas

Eric Ariel Salas

I still have yet to encounter a frat war here in SDSU. Not that I want to experience one, but seeing too much of it in the past makes me think fraternities and sororities here are very civil.

Back to my freshman year in the Philippines, I was recruited many times by countless fraternity groups, all wanting me to be part of their so-called elite circles of brotherhood. Brotherhood is the keyword to luring fresh faces in the campus.

Students on the Dean’s list are recruited first – it’s always a pride for any group to have the perfect tens with them. Once you say yes, you are in for a big ride. Prepare for the initiation rites – that includes beating you up with a paddle, yes that big, wide, heavy, wooden paddle only the local Filipino fishermen have. Each member of the group is given just one chance to strike you real hard on either of your thighs. Imagine the sore, or worse, the serious nerve injury you will get from a group of a hundred members! Blindfolded, all you can think of is to pray that you won’t go home dead. Most quit along the process. Only the enduring few can survive the pain that is synonymous to a needle prick multiplied a million times. Location of the initiation rites: at the outskirts of the city, in the middle of the forest.

I know about this. My friend and roommate was a proud member of a big international frat. He came home one night in the dorm limping with crutches. That time, we were still in our early teens and seeing someone who shared a room with me nearly crippled due to reasons that I couldn’t comprehend, made me question the real objectives of fraternities. For over a week, he was absent in class. From red to brown to blackish tints, his thighs were severely injured, like he suffered a 10th degree burn, if there is still such a term. I was the one bringing him food, buying painkillers and sometimes nursing his wounds. No one from his immediate family knew about his situation.

As a member, you are obliged to be faithful and true to the brotherhood pacts, even if it takes killing someone else.

The death of a university student two years ago stirred more than just buzz but rage in packed force around the engineering campus, most especially to the administrators.

Christian, a graduating civil engineering student, died because he was beaten to death by a gang of males after his evening class, just outside the gate of the university. Those who saw the details unfolding confirmed the use of a metallic pipe by the assailants in hitting parts of his body and most particularly his head. He suffered a fractured skull and his brain was severely affected that led to a coma and eventually death.

Like a contagious disease, the death of Christian spread fast from mouth to mouth to every department of the university and to the Father President. After a thorough investigation, it was found that one of the killers was Christian’s former classmate while the others were students from other universities. All of them were members of a fraternity that had a conflict with Christian’s group.

Christian died a foul and unreasonable death. This is now what everyone is shouting – JUSTICE for Christian and for all frat war victims! Some of the perpetrators are still at large up to now, and everyone is still hoping to bring the killers to justice. The family of Christian is praying that this sad part of their lives will see closure soon.

Fraternities must not turn to violence in times of disputes, especially in the country where I came from. There are good reasons why fraternities and sororities have survived the test of time. Not all Philippine fraternities are at war, though. Others exist in harmony with the common people – sharing their talents through community services.

Fraternity groups must not be a medium for someone to kill but to spread love and peace. That is what a true brotherhood must be about, isn’t it?

#1.882516:2780114954.jpg:ericsalace.jpg:Eric Ariel L. Salas, Foreign Eyes: