Saturday, 28 October 2017

A RESEARCH STUDY: RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HYPERMASCULINITY AND ATTITUDE TOWARDS HAZING

A RESEARCH STUDY: RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HYPERMASCULINITY AND ATTITUDE TOWARDS HAZING AMONG FRATERNITY MEMBERS

By Louie Blake S. Sarmiento
Master of Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Juris Doctor – III

Abstract

This study explored the relationship between hypermasculinity and attitude towards hazing among fraternity members in Silliman University. The 60-item Auburn Differential Masculinity Inventory and the self-constructed Hazing Inventory was administered to 162 male college students enrolled and identified members of registered fraternities in Silliman University during the school year 2009-2010. Results showed a computed value of r=+0.66 and is considered statistically significant at 0.05 level of significance with a table value of .195 leading to the conclusion that there is a significant and positive relationship between hypermasculinity and attitude towards hazing. Findings also indicated that hypermasculine men tend to agree with physical hazing but tend to disagree with psychological hazing. Results are congruent with Social Learning Theory and Gender Schema Theory which suggests that cultural expectations and stereotypes are learned and can influence violent and aggressive behaviors.

Introduction

Fraternities have been a part of Colleges for decades.  They provide students with social outlets and the opportunity to interact with peers. Research by Hughes and Winston (1987) indicate involvements in fraternities facilitate development of autonomy, individual identity, and mature interpersonal relationships. Members are more likely than non-members to become involved in the university community and organizations on campus, to exert greater academic effort, and to interact more with other students (Pike & Askew, 1990). However, beneath the positive outcomes are some dark practices committed by a number of fraternity members such as the alcohol culture, sexual assaults, discrimination, and the controversial hazing.
Hazing has been widespread throughout history as a form of initiation into fraternities, service clubs, schools, and sport teams (Van Raalte, J. & et al., 2007). According to Elizabeth J. Allan (2005), a Professor at the University of Maine, hazing practices in the past years were typically considered harmless pranks or comical antics associated with young men in college fraternities. Nowadays, hazing is often cited as one of the most harmful aspects of fraternities that pose a major threat to their existence, drawing great criticism from educators and administrators (Whipple & Sullivan, 1998)Documented problems related to student hazing include physical and psychological harm and even death. According to the research presented by Hank Nuwer (1990), journalist and author of several books related to fraternities, hazing has been associated with more than 50 deaths in college fraternities and countless more physical injuries including paralysis, not to mention the devastating emotional effects that can result for so many young men and women.


            Although there is already an anti-hazing law in the Philippines, a number of critics claim that such legislation did not really eliminate hazing in fraternities and sororities but has simply driven hazing underground. In fact, a 21 year-old engineering student in Sapian town, Municipality of Pilar, Philippines, died in a fraternity hazing last March 10, 2009 (Inquirer, March 2009). In a Fraternity and Sorority in Laguna, a female member died after undergoing additional hazing to be promoted in a rank (TV Patrol, January 2009). Just recently, sixteen fraternity members were arrested by the Philippine National Police in Luzon last July 28, 2009 because of hazing (TV Patrol, July 2009). Admittedly, it is difficult to give the exact statistics of how many fraternities in the Philippines still practice hazing because of their secretive nature and the very few researches conducted, however, there is no doubt that the issue of hazing as a harmful practice is underreported and underrated.

Hazing within fraternities is complex and multifaceted because they have very diverse structures, regulations, governing entities, and memberships, and as hazing can take on many forms. Some contend that hazing continues for a number of social reasons that serve important team functions such as enhancing team solidarity (Van Raalte, J. & et al., 2007). Some take pride of hazing as something that can never be detached from fraternities. The exclusion of hazing in the initiation process may be considered an insult or degradation to the reputation and status of the fraternity because it is through this process that they bring the pride of being “solid”, “tough”, “strong”, “supreme”, “grand”, etc. Some fraternity members are against eliminating hazing for the fear that other groups may label their fraternity as “weak”. This shows that hazing can be fraternity members’ way of trying to meet societies’ traditional gender stereotypes of what masculine is. This can be their way of showing their being “strong” or “macho”, a trait characterized by machismo. The psychological term for such exaggerated sense of masculinity is referred to as hypermasculinity. This study attempted to answer the following research questions: Is there a relationship between hypermasculinity and attitude towards hazing? What are the fraternity members’ attitudes towards hazing? What are the fraternity members’ level of hypermasculinity?

Review of Related Literature

Fraternity and Hazing

People always have this desire to associate with others. Social scientists offered a number of reasons why people desire affiliation with others. Basically, people seek out others to gain knowledge about themselves and the world through social comparison, and the desire to secure psychological and material rewards through social exchange (Franzoi, 1996). In general terms, it is because of peoples desire to associate with others why fraternities were formed. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defined a fraternity as a chiefly social organization of male college students, usually designated by Greek letters. The only true distinction between a fraternity and any other form of social organization is the implication that the members freely associate as equals for a mutually beneficial purpose, rather than because of a religious, governmental, commercial, or familial bond, although there are fraternities dedicated to each of these topics (Stevens, 1907).

For a person to be a member of a fraternity, one must undergo a process known as initiation. Webster’s dictionary defined an initiation as a ceremony, ritual, test, or period of instruction with which a new member is admitted to an organization or office or to knowledge. Historically, “Rites de passage," puberty rites, and other forms of initiation into tribal membership or adult status have existed throughout human history (Van Gennep, 1977 in Van Raalte & et al., 2007). Although these behaviors may reflect abuse cycles in which victims become perpetrators (Nuwer, 1990; 2001; Ramzy & Bryant, 1962 in Van Raalte & et al., 2007), it has been suggested that these practices were functional in the adaptations of human groups to a mostly hostile physical and social environment (Jones, 2000; Weisfeld, 1979 in Van Raalte & et al., 2007).

Traditionally, the initiation process in fraternities, clubs, or groups includes hazing practices. The Anti-Hazing Law of the Republic of the Philippines (Republic Act 8049 of 1995) defines hazing as an initiation rite or practice as a prerequisite for admission into membership in a fraternity, sorority or organization by placing the recruit, neophyte or applicant in some embarrassing or humiliating situations such as forcing him or her to do menial, silly, foolish and similar tasks or activities or otherwise subjecting him or her to physical or psychological suffering or injury. The definition can refer to either physical (sometimes violent such as forced or coerced alcohol or other drug consumption, beating, paddling, or other forms of assault, branding, forced or coerced ingestion of vile substances or concoctions, burning, exposure to cold weather or extreme heat without appropriate protection) or  psychological (possibly degrading practices such as verbal insults,  threats or implied threats, asking new members to wear embarrassing or humiliating attire, stunt or skit nights with degrading, crude, or humiliating acts, perform personal service to other members, etc). It may also include nudity or sexually oriented activities (Stophazing.org, 2005).

Historically, the root of hazing is actually masculine in nature. The term originated from the initiation jokes played on newcomers to ranks of the military during the civil war in the United StatesAfter the Civil War, the term “hazing” was used to describe practices of initiating new students to the university and maintaining order within the established hierarchy between classes of students (i.e. upperclassmen vs. freshmen).  Such activities typically included expectations of personal servitude and other displays of subordination to students in the upper ranks (Kimmel & Aronson, 2004). Today, hazing practices continue to reflect the masculine historical roots of military units and universities. National news accounts of hazing and anecdotal evidence point toward gender differences in hazing activities.  It is notable that of the more than 60 documented hazing deaths in the United States; only three have been women (Nuwer, 1999). In the Philippines, there is only one female victim among the reported hazing incidents in the 2009 to 2010 news.  In general, a common conclusion drawn is that hazing among men is more likely to be violent in nature and hazing among women is more likely to be psychological or emotional in nature. Adolescent boys are much more likely than adolescent girls to use direct confrontation and physical violence, whereas girls are more likely to use social ostracism and group exclusion to express their anger toward other girls (Brannon, 1996). In his Book The Hazing Reader, Nuwer (2004) presented:

Boys become men, not through a natural process of maturation, but through a cultural process of creation: growth and physical strength, bravery and manliness are achieved through sequences of isolation and ordeal…. Unless boys undergo the rigors of initiation they will remain soft and weak. (p. 159)

Hypermasculinity
According to research by Beverly Kopper and Dougles Epperson (1991), gender role, not gender, showed a consistent relationship to anger and expression of anger. Social scientists argue that these differences are largely the result of learning to perform gender roles differently.  In other words, how men and women are taught to live in the world affects patterns of violence, abuse and other factors involved in hazing (Nuwer, 2004). Traditionally, society has placed men and women in “boxes” known as gender stereotypes and roles. The term gender encompasses multiple social and cultural interpretations of the physical fact of sexual difference. It refers to the ways in which roles, attitudes, values, and relationships regarding women and men are constructed by societies all over the world (Kanyoro, 1998). This implies that gender roles are the public expression of gender; the image projected by a person that identifies their maleness or femaleness, which need not correspond to their gender identity. For example, boys are raised to be “manly” by repressing so-called feminine characteristics in themselves. Being called “fag” or “sissy” is one of the sanctions that forces conformity into expected gender roles (Andersen & Taylor, 2008).

In most societies in the past and even today, men were dictated to act like “real men” such as being strong and aggressive. Among men, some non-standard behaviors may be considered a sign of homosexuality. Within sociology such labeling and conditioning is known as gender assumptions, and is a part of socialization to better match a culture's mores. The corresponding social condemnation of excessive masculinity may be expressed in terms such as "machismo". Merriam-Websters dictionary defined machismo as an exaggerated sense of masculinity stressing such attributes as physical courage, virility, domination of women, and aggressiveness or violence. In essence, when referring to the term machismo, which has macho, Spanish for “male gender”, as its root, it connotes strength, bravery, power, and importance. In many cultures, machismo is acceptable and even expected. Although the term originated in a Latin American society, it is not exclusive to this culture, as the concept extended into studies focusing on male power structures as well as on relationships that exert an inordinate amount of control over women’s behavior. These qualities are viewed as those the ideal man possesses within a patriarchal society (Sirias, 2001).

The psychological term for this exaggerated masculinity is called hypermasculinity which includes callous attitudes toward women and sex and the perception of violence as manly and danger as exciting is called (D.L. Mosher & S.S. Tomkins, 1988 in L.R. Burk, B.R. Burkhart & J.F. Sikorski, 2004). The term was first hypothesized by Mosher and Sirkin in 1981 as an aspect of male personality. This construct has been operationally defined as consisting of the following three variables: “the belief that violence is manly”, “the experience of danger as exciting”, and having “callous sexual attitudes toward women”. When these variables are combined they make up the construct of hypermasculinity (Dimke, 2006). Continuing research related the construct of hypermasculinity to the qualities of emotional constriction, sexual violence, and more conservative or traditional male attitudes (Burk, L.R., Burkhart, B.R. & Sikorski, J.F, 2004).

Hazing and Hypermasculinity

To connect, hazing among men is often framed as a test of strength, courage, and determination. Accounts of hazing incidents among high school boys and college men frequently include tests of physical endurance, forced alcohol consumption, paddling and other forms of physical assaults or beatings (Nuwer, 1990; 1999; 2000 in Allan, 2005). According to a study by Martin and Hummer (1989), fraternity emphasizes “…toughness, withstanding pain and humiliation, obedience to superiors, and using physical force to obtain compliance”. In support of hazing, men will often say that such “traditions” are necessary to “weed out” those unworthy of membership.  Some men who have been hazed are firm believers in the process of hazing and insist that they “enjoyed the challenge.”  Such arguments are firmly embedded in cultural expectations around masculinity and what we are taught to expect of “real men.” The elimination of hazing traditions is probably hard because hazing practices serve as an opportunity for men to prove their masculinity and heterosexuality.

According to Allan (2005), boys and young men who identify with predominant cultural constructions of masculinity are likely to fear their manhood will be called into question if they resist an opportunity to prove their masculinity via hazing practices.  This also explains, at least in part, why some pledges or applicants will ask to be hazed even if the fraternity chapter is working to eliminate such traditions.  They know they will likely be subject to scrutiny by other members of the group who were hazed and hence proved their masculinity. Such scrutiny is not entirely external, but also self-imposed, as many boys or men have been taught to think of manhood in terms of physical ability or strength, toughness and conquest (Nuwer in Allan, 2005). Social anxieties around masculinity are central to sustaining hazing practices.  The more that men are fearful of being labelled as weak, the more likely they are to participate in hazing practices that are often dangerous and even life-threatening (Nuwer in Allan , 2005).

Theoretical Framework
           
Culturally constructed notions of what it means to be a "real man" place an emphasis on physical and mental toughness, obedience to superiors, and the value of force as a means of accountability. Such beliefs, combined with desires by heterosexual men to demonstrate that they do not possess qualities associated with gay men (e.g., vulnerability, emotionality, nurturance), contribute to the perpetuation of hazing in some cases even requests to undergo hazing. In other words, how men and women are taught to live in the world affects patterns of violence, abuse and other factors involved in hazing (Allan, 2004). It is also very clear that aggression is either mitigated or amplified by cognitive factors (Geen, 1998 in Puyat, 2002).

The social learning theory and the gender schema theory states that people learn about what it means to be male and female from the culture in which they live. According to these theories, children adjust their behavior to fit in with the gender norms and expectations of their culture (Van Wagner, 2005). This supports the statement that “machos are not born; they are made”. For the same reason, the term machismo refers to a concept that has been invented and not to a primordial cultural trait of any particular group of people (Gonzales-Lopez & Gutmann, n.d.).

Social learning theory explains how people learn new behavior through overt reinforcement or punishment, or via observational learning of the social actors in their environmentIf people observe positive, desired outcomes in the observed behavior, they are more likely to model, imitate, and adopt the behavior themselves (Bandura, 1977).

            For example, a new fraternity member hazed a neophyte or an applicant for membership during an initiation and fraternity brothers show approval and respect for him because of his compliance with the procedure. The person has been rewarded for the aggressive or violent behavior so he will probably be aggressive or violent again in the future. In the situation of a pledge or applicant, a person will more likely agree to undergo hazing when he sees that respect or acceptance will be given in return if he surpasses hazing in the initiation ceremony. And if a person is punished or negatively reinforced by being called “gay” or “sissy” for not having the courage to haze or be hazed, person will more likely to comply to hazing practices.

In their book Sexual Assault on the College Campus, Schwartz and DeKeseredy (1997) used the male peer support model to explain the relationship between male peers, stress, and the probability to engage in woman abuse. He contends that many men experience various types in intimate heterosexual relationships, ranging from sexual problems to threats to the kind of authority that a patriarchal culture has led them to expect to be their rights by virtue of being a male. Knowing this, the model may explain how social interactions with male peers are associated with various forms of aggression and violence such as fraternity hazing. Boys and men are pressured to fulfill a standard of masculinity and men are encouraged to seek social support from their male peers (Pleck, Sonnenstein, & Ku, 1993)

Method

Participants
Based on the records of the Silliman University Council of Student Organizations, there are 23 registered fraternities in Silliman University as of the first semester of school year 2009-2010. The average population per fraternity is 20 members. This implies that there are about 460 fraternity members in Silliman University. With this, the researcher formulated that the number of samples needed for the study is 214 fraternity members and get at least 10 participants per registered fraternity through random sampling.

Measures
The Differential Hypermasculinity Inventory (ADMI-60) was used to measure hypermasculinity and the Hazing Inventory to measure attitude towards hazing. Both instruments were pre-tested to a group of fraternity members via an online forum.

Auburn Differential Masculinity Inventory. The ADMI is a 60-item inventory with five provisional factors developed to address concerns regarding existing measures of hypermasculinity. The five factors reflect hypermasculinity, sexual identity, dominance and aggression, conservative masculinity and devaluation of emotion. At this point, the ADMI-60 appears to have met the initial goal of providing a scale with high internal reliability, less objectionable and more contemporary item content, as well as good content and construct validity (L.R. Burk, B.R. Burkhart & J.F. Sikorski, 2004). Additionally, the ADMI-60 consists of randomly arranged items with a likert-style rating system, thus reducing response bias inherent in the forced-choice/paired opposite’s format. An example of these questions is:

19. I think it is okay for men to be a little rough during sex.

Hazing Inventory. Hazing Inventory is a self-constructed survey questionnaire that is used to measure a person’s attitude towards hazing. It consists of 15 items that assess three different components. These components include attitude towards hazing in general, physical hazing and psychological hazing. The respondent is asked to select degree of agreement or disagreement with all 15 items.

An example of physical hazing is:

4. Paddling or beating is a test of strength and willingness to be in the fraternity.

An example of psychological hazing is:
8Requiring new members to wear ridiculous costumes or perform ridiculous activities is just one way of making the initiation fun.

Results

Of the desired 214, the researcher gathered only 175 respondents. Of these, 13 were dropped from the sample because of incomplete responses leaving a total of 162 samples. Among the 23 desired fraternities, about 11 are represented. All respondents are male college students enrolled in Silliman University for the school year 2009-2010. Age and year level of respondents are not available because this information was excluded from the questionnaire.

Descriptive statistics was used to highlight fraternity members’ attitude towards hazing and hypermasculinity. The results of the hazing inventory show that 11.1% strongly disagree with hazing, 29.6% disagree with hazing, 37.7% neither agree or disagree with hazing and 21.6% agree with hazing. The results of ADMI-60 connotes that 5.6% identify themselves as not at all hypermasculine, 35.8% not much hypermasculine, 44.4% as a little hypermasculine and 14.2% as hypermasculine. Therefore, majority of the respondents are neutral about hazing and tend to be somewhat hypermasculine.

Specifically, 5.6% strongly disagree with physical hazing, 19.7% disagree with physical hazing, 33.9% neither disagree nor agree with physical hazing, 30.25% agree with physical hazing and 10.4% strongly agree with physical hazing. 11.7% strongly disagree with psychological hazing, 32.7% disagree with psychological hazing, 37.0% neither agree nor disagree with psychological hazing, 17.3% agree with psychological hazing and 1.2% strongly agree with psychological hazing. Of the 33.9% who neither disagree or agree with physical hazing, 0.6% identify themselves as not at all hypermasculine, 12.3% not much hypermasculine, 18.5% a little hypermasculine and 2.5% as hypermasculine.  Of the 37.0% who neither agree nor disagree with psychological hazing, 11.1% identify themselves as not much hypermasculine, 22.2% a little hypermasculine and 3.7% as hypermasculine. Moreover, majority of the respondents who are identified to be hypermasculine tend to agree with both physical and psychological hazing. The overall results showed a computed value of r =+0.66 and is considered statistically significant at 0.05 level of significance with a table value of .195. This means that the alternative hypothesis, there is a significant relationship between hypermasculinity and attitude towards hazing, is accepted.

In addition, 36 participants responded to an open-ended question at the end of the Hazing Inventory. The question was ‘justify or comment about hazing’ and some of the verbatim responses were:

Masculinity
“Hazing is a test of being a man and power.”
“Some fraternities do require hazing to tell people that their fraternity is one of the  strongest.”

Tradition
“Hazing is normal because it is part of the traditions of a fraternity or sorority.”
Brotherhood
 “It is the way of brotherhood and trusting yourself.”
Loyalty
“Hazing is good so that there will be loyalty.”
Feeling good
“It is a good feeling if you are the one beating the applicant. But it is very risky if you are the applicant.”
“Hazing is challenging. It hurts the first try but becomes addictive the following. Hazing for me is normal as long as it is done in a formal and justifying manner.”
Recognition of Harm
“Hazing should be in a control manner.”
“There should be a norm in performing hazing into a certain pledge.
If possible, there must be a medical personnel at near while the hazing
procedure is happening.”
No to Hazing
“Hazing is not needed because in the future he would be your brother and you would be the one responsible for hurting or humiliating him.”
“There are more activities to strengthen the unity and bond.”
“I think hazing should not be practiced. There are other ways to prove the loyalty of the applicant.”

Discussion
Men who are identified to be hypermasculine are more likely to conform to aggressive and violent acts. Although majority of the respondents neither agree nor disagree with hazing, majority of those who are identified to be hypermasculine tend to agree with hazing practices while those identified as not or less hypermasculine tend to disagree. Almost all men who are identified to be hypermasculine agree with physical hazing. Howevver, there are those identified as hypermasculine men who disagree with psychological hazing. This coincide with  the common conclusion which states that hazing among men is more likely to be violent in nature while hazing among women is more likely to be psychological in nature. This is because society has accepted men to prefer direct physical confrontation or aggression when dealing with situations. Men who deviate from this masculine construct and use verbal confrontation would likely be stereotyped as “like a girl who keeps on talking” because society consider verbal aggression as not much “manlike” same as physical aggression is not “lady-like”.

Moreover, the study did not show a perfect correlation because there are other variables or reasons why groups or fraternities practice hazing. Many fraternity members reason out that hazing continues because it serves many instrumental purposes such as testing one’s loyalty and willingness to join the fraternity, developing group cohesion, respect and discipline. Some contend that hazing is a tradition that they are obliged to follow and maintain as members of their fraternity. It is also noted that many fraternity members already know the harmful implications of hazing. Moreover, many fraternity members do not fully understand the concept of hazing. A number think hazing only involves physical violence like beating or paddling and are unaware that it can also be psychological in nature such as verbal insults and other degrading activities.


References
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A STORY: REFORMATION OF DeMOLAY DUMAGUETE AGAINST HAZING

A STORY: REFORMATION OF DeMOLAY DUMAGUETE AGAINST HAZING
By Louie Blake S. Sarmiento
Master of Arts in Industrial Organizational Psychology
Doctor of Jurisprudence III

Senior Councilor (2006-2007)

Acting Master Councilor (2007)
Junior Councilor (2007-2008)

            There is no doubt that the Order of DeMolay is a good fraternal organization for boys. The organization teaches values that can improve human character, if taken seriously by heart. It teaches principles worthy of emulating and practicing in daily life. But what will you do if the noble principles taught in DeMolay are in conflict with some of its practices? What will you do when you joined a Chapter with a tarnished public image? Will you just let it remain as it is or do something and leave a better DeMolay for the younger ones to inherit? Will you choose to do something or just stay blind? Would you rather choose to comprise the noble principles of the Order or do something about it? Is it treason to protest in order for the organization to realize the needed changes? I have been silent for how many years. Here is a story and recollection of how a fraternity that struggled due to a hazing death was eventually reformed: 
2005 - The Seven (7) Preceptors Batch. Bro. Samual Rudinas and I served the Chapter as Senior Councilor in separate terms. Bro. Michale Sarmiento later became Master Councilor and instrumental in the final reformation process.
Dark Ages

         I joined the International Order of DeMolay, Dumaguete City Chapter (now Leon Kilat Chapter), when it was in the revival stage. I became actively involved with the Chapter when it was still struggling with a lot of internal imperfections and challenges. The chapter was facing issues such as the following:
  1. A negative public image due to a hazing death that occurred in the 1980’s.
  2.  Indefinitely suspended from operating and registering as a student organization at Silliman University.
  3. Bitter-sweet conflict between some Dad Masons and some DeMolays.
  4. Petty conflicts between sister Job’s Daughters and some DeMolays.
  5. Internal factions or inner groups within the chapter.
  6. Discrimination in the petitioning process against sons of Masons and those who are not dormers or friends of the 'elder' DeMolays.
  7.  Public stereotypes due to vices - alcohol abuse and use of prohibited drugs by some of our elder members. Some of the early members were known "users" on campus. Some Masons wanted this image changed.
  8. Other college fraternities hated DeMolay.
Year 2005, the Dumaguete City Chapter in its "revival" state.
These are probably some of the negative effects of the hazing incident in the 1980’s that led to the death of one of the petitioners and the suspension of the Chapter for several years. DeMolay was operating underground for a number of years. The suspension of the Leon Kilat Chapter by Mt. Kaladias Lodge No.91 somehow resulted to some grudges between some DeMolays against some Masons in the City. There was even an incident when one DeMolay challenged one Mason for a fist-fight due to some misunderstanding. Because of this bitter-sweet relationship between some DeMolays and Masons, “sons of Masons” who joined the Chapter at that time experienced prejudicial treatment and would often be the subjects of more ridicule, more brutality and maltreatment because of the fact that they are sons of Masons. Prior to joining, there was even a batch of DeMolays who were sons or relatives of Masons whom some older DeMolays would label as “not really DeMolays” but “merely honorary members” because they allegedly did not undergo “hazing” – such as Albert, Pogs and Radley (all turned out to be good DeMolays). What was the negative effect? Many sons of Masons did not join DeMolay. Many Senior DeMolays did not join the Freemasons.
2006 Recipient of Bro. Danny DeVera
scholarship award for 3.2 Semestral
QPA and above. QPA decreased
during my active days in DeMolay
because of so much pressure. Only regained
my QPA after I resigned in 2008. Many
other DeMolays spent more years
in college while some were sent "back to
sender" or dropped-out of S.U.

When I joined, I was spokesperson of my batch. But I am one of those “sons of Masons” who experienced many “high-jacking” incidents and was beaten-up on campus, hearing the statement: “kani ky anak ni og Mason!” (This one, because he is a son of a Mason).

Because the Chapter was still in the “revival” stage when my younger brother and I joined, I immediately became one of the officers. In 2005, I was treasurer and acting secretary at the same time. At first, I just followed the crowd and almost accepted the idea that hazing was normal.

Dad DeMolay-Masons Call for Change

At that time, probably 95% of DeMolay Chapters in the Philippines still practiced hazing. DeMolay in Dumaguete City was known as the "most fierce chapter" - an image that  "macho" DeMolays take pride of BUT also haunted the membership, relationship with dad Masons and the public image of the Chapter.

 In 2006, I was elected as Senior Councilor and served as acting Master Councilor from time to time. There was a move by Dad DeMolay-Masons to register our DeMolay Chapter back in Silliman University. However, there was strong opposition from the SU administration and several Deans. One of the conditions discussed was to prove to the University that DeMolays do not anymore practice violent hazing.
Year 2006 - Active DeMolays and Senior DeMolays. Dad Jed Malayang, proponent of "DeMolay Reformation plan", sitting at the center with brown poloshirt.

I was one of those who was leading the Chapter at that time. One day, the late Dad Jed Malayang sent me a text message because he wanted to personally talk to me. We talked for about two (2) hours inside the old Silliman University Cooperative, where he shared his past experiences, his vision for change within the Chapter and his hopes of bringing back its glory days. He personally believed that “reformation” was needed within DeMolay in Dumaguete City. Days after, he introduced me to Dad Francisco Liu, Dad Dante Angeles, Dad Jose Siplon and Dad Jose Miraflor – who were influential in formulating ideas about the needed changes and reformation. One of the discussions was to eliminate hazing or at least eliminate the violent practices. 

That was the beginning of the battle-cry for change and the beginning of the reformation process – “To start abolishing violent hazing practices, begin cleansing the tarnished public image of DeMolay in Dumaguete City and work on registering the Chapter back with Silliman University”. But to abolish a tradition that had been practiced by “almost all fraternities” for how many years meant facing strong opposition from those who are unwilling to accept changes.

I was not pro-or-against hazing at the start. Hazing was practiced by almost all fraternities and groups on campus at that time so it seemed normal really. For many young men, it makes them look "cool" or "tough". You can see hazing done just by passing-by on either side of the SU Luce Auditorium in the past. As Senior Councilor, I attended and witnessed many occasions where hazing was done by our members in the "dungeon" or "inside the lodge" and I did not go against it at first because it was the norm. My view changed because of the Dad DeMolay-Masons who talked to me about their vision of bringing back the glory days of DeMolay. I was enlightened by the fact that DeMolay, as an organization, aims to teach “boys how to become good leaders and good sons” and NOT menaces of our society. Dad Jed Malayang opined that the violent hazing practices and the vices prevalent in the Chapter at that time were contrary to what the fraternity preaches. He longed to see that Chapter get quality members in terms of character and campus involvement/leadership.

In 2006, Dumaguete City Chapter of the Order of DeMolay began to involve and expose itself in community projects after years of being underground. Instrumental in involving DeMolay Youth with worthwhile community projects is Brother Prodi Sirilan, sitting in the center.

One of the early reformation activities during my term of leadership was when we began to involve our DeMolay Chapter with community projects and activities after years of stagnation. After years of being an underground organization, the DeMolay Chapter finally participated in public events. These community project activities were made possible through late Brother Prodi Sirilan, one of the most dedicated DeMolays of Leon Kilat Chapter.
Second International Rondalla Festival.


DeMolays with Beauty Gonzalez before becoming an actress.
 Relationship between Masons and DeMolays began to improve. The DeMolay Chapter
participated during the Independence Day Wreathe-laying Ceremony for the first
time after several years, with the guidance of Mt. Kaladias Lodge No.91 of the A.F.&A.M.,

Our DeMolay Chapter started becoming involved with community projects and activities during our time, and after years of stagnationYes! Some of us have sacrificed our time and energy only to make a better DeMolay. But people do not usually see the good things.

Internal Factions, Unequal Treatment and Frustrating Incidents

Our DeMolay Chapter at that time was split into some kind of internal factions: one group consisted mostly of residents of Doltz Hall who were also members of a fraternity called “Delta Rho” (if I remembered it correctly). Another inner group within the Chapter called themselves “Zions”, composed mostly of DeMolays initiated in another chapter but are studying in Dumaguete. Another group are those that did not have an inner group within the Chapter.

The indirect result of these existing inner groups is the unequal treatment of petitioners. The dormers usually protected petitioners who are also residents of their dormitory while the Zions group usually favored their friends who petitioned for membership. Hence, the recruits of the minority or those who belonged to neither group usually experienced more prejudice and maltreatment in the petitioning process to the point that majority of them usually just quit. Of all my recruits numbering nearly thirty (35), only four (4) became DeMolays. About thirty (31) of them, including some twenty (20) students from NORSU whom I recruited, did not pursue membership. 

Discrimination against non-Sillimanians


There was a time when I proposed that DeMolay membership in Dumaguete be opened to others not studying at Silliman University. Majority supported the idea but about four (4) DeMolays opposed. As a result, the NORSU students were badly mistreated and insulted by those opposed to the point that they felt discriminated. When I held a meeting with the group to ask why they quit, they reported that they were looked-down and told: “You are just NORSU students” (State University students as compared to us who are enrolled in a private university). That was one of the beginnings of my frustration with my Chapter because I exerted so much effort and even used personal funds to place several posters at Negros Oriental State University to convince about twenty (20) NORSU students to petition for DeMolay. One thing I was disagreeable with was the “elitist attitude” of looking-down at them because they are enrolled at a State University.

Seeking for Quality Members 


I was tasked to seek for quality members - those who have good academic standing, not involved in so much vices and are actively involved on campus activities. One goal was also to attract sons of Masons to join the chapter. Many sons of Masons at that time did NOT join DeMolay in Dumaguete. A number just joined Freemasonry after they graduated.

I was frustrated because many of my recruits faced more brutal maltreatment. Some of my recruits were labelled as "gangsters" for their involvement with hip-hop music which was popular at that time. The ones they looked-down upon and  badly maltreated actually had good academic standing and were NOT involved with vices. Five of my good friends who petitioned but did not proceed - one is now a successful operations manager, two are doctors and one is a graduating law student. 

What was silly was that the DeMolays who bullied and labelled them as "gangsters" were the ones who were sent "back to sender" or "dropped out" from Silliman University; were involved with alcohol abuse and some with prohibited drugs. If you really look at the reality  - the real gangsters at the time were some of the DeMolays - who beat the crap out of innocent people, were involved with illegal drugs, alcohol abuse and did not have good academic standing. The potential good recruits - with good standing on campus - were often the ones who did not continue joining.  Many sons of Masons who quit or did not join at that time graduated college on time and are having successful careers today - they could have been assets to the fraternity.
 
2007 - Active DeMolays with Dad Jose Miraflor, Chapter Dad and early proponent of Anti-Hazing advocacy in DeMolay

Who should I follow - Masons or DeMolays?

Further, several Dad Masons became my closest advisors to the point that they would often entrust to me the keys to the Masonic Lodge. One Dad Mason, Jose Miraflor, would often remind me to make sure nothing bad happens when he is not around in the lodge. But once Dad Masons would leave the building, the tradition of maltreatment and violence against petitioners would continue, and worst, it was done inside the lodge. I was usually left with no choice but to follow the crowd and just look at what is going on while looking at the “keys” on my hands with feelings of guilt. Why did I not stop it when I was an officer of the Chapter? I really had no control what the 'elder' members of the Chapter wanted to do after the Advisors would leave the building. I have heard it several times - Some DeMolays would call me a traitor or 'pro-Mason' for choosing to listen to Dad Masons than the Senior DeMolays who wanted to haze. Whom should I follow, the Masons to apply needed changes or the DeMolays who wanted our practices to stay the same? My father is a Mason. People close to me at the time were Masons. Masons wanted change. I was in belief that Freemasonry and DeMolay are organizations which uphold noble principles. That was the beginning of the dilemma. 

Other campus fraternities hated DeMolay
Probably because of fraternity rivalries in the past before we even joined and the brutal treatment of petitioners, DeMolay earned some enemies on campus. Some are leaders of other fraternities and some are hold administrative offices in Silliman University, few of them previously joined DeMolay but did not continue. DeMolays were called the "spoiled rich kids". Other reason was because of the attitude of some of our members at that time. I remember, sometime in 2006, when DeMolays were rounded-up by Alakdan members, with empty soft-drink bottles on their hands, because of some conflict between brother Miki Teves - which the Chapter had no idea about. I and some of the leaders had to talk to the President of Alakdan and apologize. Brother Miki and I had arguments because of that behavior which placed the Chapter in conflict with other groups. But that was probably because many of us were young and immature.
The name DeMolay in those days was not something you can place in your resume because it would usually bring up questions like, "Mao mani nakapatay sauna diba?" (This is the fraternity that killed a neophyte due to hazing, right?).


Our Word was supposed to be as Good as its Bond
2007 - Presiding as Master Councilor

I was elected as Junior Councilor in 2007. After some convincing and pressure by the Chapter advisors, majority of the members in a meeting held eventually reached an agreement that “hi-jacking of petitioners” be prohibited. In the presence of Dad Masons, majority of the members showed that they agreed. As Junior Councilor in-charge of the petitioners, I believed that that “the word of a DeMolay is as good as his bond”.

2007 - Ceremony of Lights
But to my dismay, high-jacking of petitioners and hazing them outside “service hours” continued behind my back contrary to the honor principle I believed. Two recruits, who were not related to any member of the Zions or dormitory group, were brought inside one room and were hazed. For me, it was betrayal to the “DeMolay’s Word” to the point that the DeMolay brother who did that and I had a fist-fight. I did not know who to trust anymore. Who are those willing to improve the Chapter and those who are not? Who are those who will and will not hi-jack the petitioners and disobey their promise to our Dad advisors?

I was already third year college and I wanted to focus on my studies but I felt that I cannot because the mission of reforming our chapter was not yet accomplished. Yes! My academic standing was affected because of my active involvement in DeMolay and many of us were. There was already more pressure accomplishing the changes within the Chapter and at the same time pressure to finish college. I felt that the opposition was very strong and numerous. One of the officers of the Supreme Council called me by telephone and gave me some pieces of advice. Dad Jed Malayang told me to find ways to remove the “bad apples” from the basket.

Noting that most of the opposition belonged to the “Zions” or dormers inner group, I thought of also creating an inner circle within the DeMolay Chapter who would eventually work together in reforming the chapter - combat hazing and inequality and improve the standing of the chapter once they become members. A week after the “high-jacking” incident occurred, few pro-change DeMolays and I initiated some of the petitioners in another group with the goal of applying the needed changes once they become members and officers. My goal was to have this inner group whom I can trust will continue applying the needed changes when I start focusing on my studies after the term. This strategy failed because some of those in opposition found out about it. I felt the inequality – they belonged to inner groups like Zions and Delta Rho – they have initiated DeMolays into their groups yet castigating me for also forming an inner group? I eventually resigned and became inactive beginning 2008 as a sign of protest. The oppositors had spread whatever rumors they had. Some reacted without knowing or asking the real reason behind. But what was the reason why I finally decided to also form an inner group to effect the needed changes? There were incidents of betrayal of the word of a DeMolay. Some DeMolays were still hi-jacking the petitioners outside of service hours. Several months after, Dad Jed Malayang, the main proponent of “Reformation of DeMolay” in Dumaguete, passed away. But I did not abandon my Chapter. I have been protesting for changes behind the scenes.

Was it me or was there really an internal problem that needed to be solved? Two years after I resigned, report from other DeMolays and Dad Albert Tecson reached me. The DeMolay Chapter continued to face internal struggles and problems. Worst case scenarios were happening Sadly, it reached a point when several of the brother DeMolays who were often involved with “high-jacking” practices were eventually suspended by the Chapter Advisors. The Master Councilor during my time, Oliver Adolfo, was included among those suspended or faced expulsion. For whatever reason, he tried to gather his fellow Tau Gamma members against some DeMolays. A Senior DeMolay-Mason faced expulsion from Freemasonry because of his involvement with the violent practices of the Chapter. They were dedicated DeMolays but the Masons believed suspensions and expulsions were need to finally remove violent hazing in DeMolay.

Not a Rival Fraternity
I became involved with other organizations on campus but I continued promoting anti-hazing in fraternities in Silliman University due to the noticeable decline of the number of fraternities and members on campus. It was predicted that, sooner or later, many fraternities on campus will die out. And yes, many fraternities died-out and were dying out in Silliman University.

Together with several members of various fraternities on campus, we revived a historical fraternity – the Order of Odd Fellows - and made it the first fraternity on Silliman campus without hazing. The Order of Odd Fellows was not revived in the Philippines as a rival fraternity of DeMolay or Freemsons. Its revival has nothing to do with DeMolay but about another group that also needed to 'reform'. In fact, there were only three (3) DeMolays who were part of charter members of the Odd Fellows Lodge in Dumaguete. Majority of the charter members belonged to various other fraternities and groups. I am NOT the founder of the Order of Odd Fellows in the Philippines. It existed in the country years prior and was revived by a number of people who are not DeMolays. It was an experimental group with the goal of introducing a non-hazing fraternity on Silliman campus and help change the “negative image of fraternities” in Dumaguete which meant - its initiation rites do not involve hazing and no vices in meetings. The focus is on community service. The focus was to go back to the ethical and dramatic form of initiation ceremonies. The ambition was to promote gender equality so it embraced members from both private universities and State universities. It promoted gender equality by admitting both men and women as members. It was a radical experiment. The mission was really to help change the negative image of fraternities on campus and serve as an example that a fraternity can be successful even without hazing for all fraternities on campus to learn.


Throughout history, it is quite common to see
tombstones, lapel pins, rings and signboards with the
"square and compass" of Freemasonry and "three links chain"
emblem of Odd Fellowship combined into one. This signifies
that the owner is a member of both historical fraternities or that
the two fraternities hold their meetings in the same building.
For a time, the Order of Odd Fellows faced bullying from some DeMolays either on campus or on the internet particularly the pinoyfraternity.com forum Several of these people who wrote negative things online are those who faced expulsion from DeMolay due to "hi-jacking" incidents. Using aliases and fake names online, some of the suspended DeMolays tried to stir tension between Masons and Odd Fellows probably because they did not want the Odd Fellows to be successful. Some Masons and DeMolays gave in to the bait and looked at the Odd Fellows as a rival fraternity when, in fact, it is not.  They called me a traitor for joining the Order of Odd Fellows? But ignorance is always dangerous. I did not join the Odd Fellows because it is against Freemasonry or DeMolay, I joined the Odd Fellows because the two fraternities have been considered as "cousins" for more than 100 years. Actually, there are many Masons and DeMolays in the United States and Europe who are also active members of the Order of Odd Fellows since the early 1800's. Notable Freemason, Albert Pike, was an Odd Fellow before he joined Freemasonry. Brother Pike is a Past Grand Master of both Freemasonry and Odd Fellows in Arkansas, U.S.A. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and President Harry Truman were members of both the Freemasons and Odd Fellows. Prime Minister Winston Churchill was a Freemason and an Odd Fellow. The first District Deputy Grand Sire of Odd Fellows Philippines in 1902, Bro. Judge Charles Burritt, was a Past Master of Anchor Lodge No.7 of the Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons in Bufallo, Wyoming, U.S.A. 
The Odd Fellows Columbarium in San Francisco,  built in 1895, showing deceased Odd Fellows-Freemasons. Tombs with both Masonic and Odd Fellows logo is common in the United States and Canada.
 The Order of Odd Fellows had been bullied and looked-down upon during its revival stage. My character and personality was attacked by some DeMolays and some Masons and remnants of such character assassination can be read online which I will soon deal with legally under the Cyber-bullying Act of 2015 and libel. But despite the oppression by some, the Odd Fellows Fraternity eventually became one of the Top 10 organizations in Silliman University for six years up until the present - ranking Top 1 or Most Outstanding Organization in Silliman University last 2012. In terms of community service, it has spent over P10 million to help the victims of natural calamities that occurred from 2010 to 2013. Currently, the fraternity built an P8 million worth building as headquarters based in Dumaguete City. But that is not the point. The real point is - a fraternity can be successful even without physical violence and brutal maltreatment. But I am not saying that a single fraternity will be perfect. All fraternities will face challenges. It is surpassing the challenges that will make it successful.

Does being a member of another fraternity make one disloyal? I personally believe that is the twisted idea of loyalty in fraternities.  I am a "Fraternalist" - a staunch supporter and preserver of fraternities and its history. I do NOT believe in divisions, classifications and rivalries. I support unity among fraternities. I do not conform to blind loyalty and I do not believe that a fraternity should aim supremacy over others. If all people can be a member of all fraternities then that is for the common good - all people become brothers and sisters. In the end, the real purpose of fraternities is to promote the “Brotherhood of Mankind under the Fatherhood of God” NOT to compete against each other as to whose fraternity is superior. We no longer live in an era where fraternities fight against each other like ancient tribes or like uneducated kids – we now live in a society where working together is the norm. In fact, there is already a Silliman Frat/Sor Alliance today – realized because of the growing decline of fraternities on Silliman campus. 
Far left: One of my mentors in fraternal history and research, Late Brother Donald Smith,
a member of the Odd Fellows, DeMolay and Lions Club. He is a Past Sovereign Grand Master of
the Order of Odd Fellows and recipient of Legion of Honor in the Order of DeMolay.

Beside are high-ranking members of the Freemasons, York Rite, and Odd Fellows
in Illinois, U.S.A. Both are also DeMolays.

Today, there are several Freemasons and DeMolays in the Philippines who are also Odd Fellows.

Reformation Stage
The Order of DeMolay remained unregistered in Silliman University for a time. During a campus event sometime in 2009, the Master Councilor of the DeMolay Chapter approached me. He asked how to improve the DeMolay Chapter but I believe I just said few words.

Bro. Michale Sarmiento's first
event during his term as Master
Councilor in 2010 was the
Anti-Hazing Symposium.
After the suspensions and expulsions of those involved in the usual “hi-jacking” practices, Master Councilor Ian Lizares was able to apply some positive changes in the Chapter worthy of praise. The degree of violent physical hazing practices was decreased.

Then my younger brother, Michale Vincent Sarmiento, followed as Master Councilor. Together with their Chapter Advisor, Dad Ian Canlas, internal issues and problems diminished as compared in our time. I also observed that the public image of our Chapter improved and the quality of members too. The Chapter was eventually allowed to register at Silliman University after almost 20 years of indefinite suspension.

By that time, I was already traveling across the United States and Canada learning and studying about fraternal orders. When I learned that the needed changes had been achieved by the Chapter, I tried attending DeMolay meetings in the United States after years of protest. During my travels, I also met several Senior DeMolays who are also high-ranking members of the Order of Odd Fellows – I realized that I actually belonged to a fraternity with several members who are also DeMolays and Freemasons.


2014 - After my resignation and protest in 2008, I attended a DeMolay Meeting for
the first time in years in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Sadly, DeMolay in
North America is facing membership decline.
Sometime in 2014, my younger brother invited me in one DeMolay event held at AVT Theater at Silliman University. There I met brother Samuel Rodriguez who said, “This is the kind of DeMolay you wanted to see during your time. This is the kind of members you wanted to see”. Then I was asked to give a short speech about our past experiences. I shed tears because that was the first time I spoke again in front of DeMolays, Jobs and Masons in Dumaguete City. That was the first time that I finally saw how much the Chapter has really improved.


February 1, 2015 - 53rd Public Installation of Leon Kilat Chapter, International Order of DeMolay.
During the same year, the Supreme Council of the Order of DeMolay in the Philippines took a stand and finally declared its support for “Anti-Hazing”. I shed tears of joy....Sad to say, some friendships were destroyed and some were expelled in the struggle to leave a better DeMolay Chapter to the younger ones. Sometimes I wished everyone can just lower their pride and accept the fact that those were trying times of the Chapter. It is time to move forward!


Brother Richard Davis, a Senior DeMolay and an active Odd Fellow in the United States, commented about the issue of fraternity hazing in the United States.

I did not say I did not make mistakes along the way. I am thankful for the mistakes I have done during my younger years because it brought me to places and to who I am today. But loyalty and blind loyalty are not the same. Never allow blind loyalty to compromise good principles. Jacques DeMolay refused to blindly follow the orders of a powerful King and refused to blindly follow an influential Pope - the very leader of the Religious Sect which started and approved the existence of the Templars. The very religious sect whom the Templars sworn their loyalty. Each one of us can make an ultimate sacrifice to stand up for what is just and right. You do not have to forget noble principles in the name of loyalty. The Order of DeMolay was founded on noble principles, of helping develop the youth into good men, NOT into menaces of our society.


Father of Horacio Castillo in tears because of the death of his son due
to fraternity hazing.

With the recent death of Horacio "Atio" Castillo III due to violent hazing, there are still a lot of work to do. Many fraternities in the Philippines are dying and decreasing by the numbers because of technological advances of society and the "negative public image of fraternities" portrayed by the media for over a decade - hazing, frat rumbles, alcohol and drug abuse. Fraternities today are often viewed by the public as similar to gangs. I hope we can change that. There is still a need to re-engineer some traditions and practices - a need to introduce non-violent means of fraternity initiation. It will not be easy - relationships may be severed - but change is needed to eventually remove the negative public image of fraternities in the country.


The Bottomline by Boy Abunda -Fraternity Hazing Episode in connection
with the recent hazing death in the country. 

"We die innocent. The decree that condemns us is an unjust decree, but in heaven there is an august tribunal, to which the weak never appeal in vain." - Jacques DeMolay

“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” ― Rob Siltanen

"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." 

- Bro.Winston Churchill, Freemason and Odd Fellow

HISTORY OF PHILIPPINE FRATERNITIES

HISTORY OF PHILIPPINE FRATERNITIES By Louie Blake S. Sarmiento Master of Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology Juris Doctor - ...