Mar

28

Sister, Sister

Written by

If one was passing through campus early this evening, one might have seen a crowd of over a hundred people gathered in a circle on the Low steps. It’s even more likely though, that one might have simply heard the crowd, as the music was loud enough to turn heads on the other side of Broadway.

Inside the circle, the crowd– who were all bundled up in hats and mittens– was a much smaller circle of the five newest spring 2008 Alpha Kappa Alpha inductees. The five girls wore short-sleeved black minidresses, tights, and sky-high black heels. “They must be cold,” the man who seemed to be in charge of the music whispered to another onlooker.



The girls rotated between keeping still in precarious position–arms akimbo, smiles plastered on their faces–and performing choreographed dances for the shrieking, clapping crowd. Elder sisters repeatedly emitted a high-pitched noise that registered somewhere between the sound of chalk scratching and a hungry baby eagle.

Finally, after about fifteen minutes of performance–not to mention six weeks of prior pledging–the elder AKA sisters walked into the middle of the circle. They wore matching black jackets with pink writing that spelled out a sort of nickname (“Violator”, “Hustle + Flow”) on top of more pink writing that read: “The Untouchables.”

The sisters handed the pledges (or rather, at this point, new sisters) similar lime green jackets. The crowd seemed relieved as each dancer was handed a jacket that she quickly buttoned up. The apparently ceremonial handing-off-of-the-jacket also provided each new sister with a nickname; Nicole, CC ’10, became “Maniacal”; and Brooke, CC ’10, was not born “Galactica,” she became her.

Everyone now appropriately dressed for the breezy, wintry night, the pink-jacketed girls and green-jacketed girls embraced one another to the delight of the crowd. The music started up again, and Bwog could hear it all the way home.

– JNW

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38 Comments

  1. glad  

    i didn't waist my time walking over to see what all that noise was

  2. literati  

    they were either "standing with hands on hips" or "standing akimbo". hands akimbo makes no sense.

  3. hey bwog  

    what's up with the spotlights?

  4. Fraternity member  

    According to university and national standards, this is hazing. What are the odds that this sorority gets a rebuke from the administration, who have pulled all stops to harrass "traditional" fraternities and sororities all year? Zero, because that would be racist. Ridiculous.

    • Dominique  

      Actually, this sorority isn't affiliated with the university. It's a regional chapter. Guess you'll have to find another way to "prove" reverse racism.

      • Correction  

        "Reverse racism," as you're using it here, is racism. Actual reverse racism would be something to counteract racism, not perpetuate it.

        • Walter Gropius  

          In truth, the problems of class and racial oppression will not be solved until a new, standardized art of building is developed that can strip away the inherently aristocratic "styles" and replace them with well lit, clean buildings that serve the subsistence needs of the populace.

      • so?  

        Who cares if you're not affiliated with the university? You are openly hazing students and nobody will take you to task for fear of offending you.

  5. those heels

    dont look "sky high" to me. more like librarian shoes.

  6. What  

    is AKA's deal exactly? Who are they?

    • Dominique  

      First and oldest black sorority (100 years old in 2008). Members include ella fitzgerald, rosa parks, coretta scott king, toni morrison, maya angelou, and just about every famous black woman that you'd see celebrated during black history month.

  7. c'mon literati

    Akimbo has multiple definitions. Arms akimbo can mean 1) arms on hips, in the "standing akimbo" position, or simply "arms bent or arched." At least have the sense to use a dectionary.

  8. C'mon 2

    and I can't even spell dictionary. So who am I to correct? Apologies. It is 3.

  9. this is

    a very nicely written post.

  10. i'm just pissed  

    that i couldnt talk to my friends because of their pledging!!!

  11. hey,  

    BWOOOOG, neither of your emails are working... i'm getting error messages.

  12. passer by  

    Hazing is defined as persecuting or harassing someone through humiliating tasks, words, or actions.

    As someone from the South, I don't think that anything that happened yesterday qualifies as hazing. It was a simple step show, something that is performed all the time on campus in the south and through out the US.

    you could find shows like that all over you tube-and they often have little or no implications to pledging.

  13. anonym

    It sure seemed like hazing to me.

  14. droppin knowledge

    This was simply a show that happens on many college campuses most often in the spring. If you put in the name of any historically black greek lettered organization on youtube you will find several other "coming out" and or "probate" shows. I think the sorority has pretty high ideals and focuses more on community service and a show like this seems to be only a small part of the legacy that they and other historically black greek lettered orgs. leave. Things like this happen all the time...in fact there was a fraternity show this past fall and there was also one last night. As i said before it was jsut a show displaying tradition NOT HAZING.

  15. Columbia  

    Sororities at Columbia often do things like have new sisters dress up and sing or dance. The type of hazing is prohibited is things like making new members drink high amounts of alcohol, do something illegal, do something dangerous.

  16. no big deal

    How could hugging and singing seem like hazing?

  17. Empowerment

    If you were to look up the history of Alpha Kappa Alpha you will see the empowerment of Women, Negroes, the Community, and America. If you were to look at what this organization is doing today, you will see the same things. I am not surprised at reading some of these posts seeing as though it is a predominantly Caucasian institution. While the article is from the perspective of someone who obviously is ignorant of what the probate show means, it was still harmless. The responses, however, are ill-founded and spews hatred. I might go as far as saying some of these posts were from members of Delta Sigma Theta, but I won't go that far. As per the hazing discussion, what is the point of even bringing up the subject? Hazing caused your friend to not talk to you? Amusing comment but maybe she was busy doing something she herself thought was more important than communicating with you. How can a probate show be considered hazing? Would your parents allow you to be hazed? Because the "5"'s parents were sure there cheering their respectful daughters on and were very proud of what they had accomplished. I could keep going on but it will be a waste of time. More and more posts will come and it will just turn into every other blog on BGLO: people making accusations, negative assumptions, etc. and people defending the BGLO and standing their ground. Come on Ivy Leaguers, you are supposed to be the cream of the crop. Don't sink beneath your scholarly minds.

  18. look  

    Even if the coming out show isnt hazing, the other things the girls must do all semester are.

  19. mr. empowerment,  

    the first few lines of your post were great, however, the moment you brought race into it, you lost me. people don't know about greek life customs at columbia because only a small percentage of the students here participate. also, as post #29 brought up, you did exactly what you said you weren't going to do in that sentence. lol, and also poor come back to post 13. seriously poor. so dude, don't sink beneath your scholarly mind. i kno columbia has taught you to argue better than that!

    congrats to the five girls! saw them practicing late night on thursday.

  20. haha  

    lol, yea thats true.

  21. King Richard

    Anon! 'Tis tyme to blow the candles out, and go at once to the bedchamber.

  22. Anonymous  

    The definition of hazing varies from sorority to sorority. Multicultural organizations like Alpha Kappa Alpha are a member of the National Pan-Hellenic Council whereas sororities like Delta Gamma are governed by the National Panhellenic Conference. Hazing rules thus vary a bit.

    AKA's hazing policy is:
    Hazing is defined as an act or series of acts that include, but are not limited to:

    * Physical acts, such as hitting, striking, laying hands upon or threatening to do bodily harm to any individual(s), while acting in one's capacity as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

    * Behavior which is directed against any individual(s) for the purpose of causing shame, abuse, insult, humiliation, intimidation or disgrace.

    * A variety of prohibited practices, including but not limited to, "underground hazing," "financial hazing," "pre-pledging," "post-pledging" or "post-initiation pledging."
    http://www.aka1908.com/present/membership/riskmanagement/
    Whereas Delta Gamma's is:
    Examples of hazing include, but are not limited to, embarrassing and/or required stunts and costumes; harassing; interrogating; line ups; scavenger hunts; kidnapping; tuck-ins; personal services; drinking or eating on command, request or suggestion; deprivation of sleep or food; authority over new members and/or members; anything that tends to diminish the self-esteem and dignity or categorize the new member and/or member as a second-class person. Hazing corrupts the true meaning of Fraternity life; it negates the values of loyalty, hope, trust, supportive friendship, kindness and compassion that Delta Gamma affirms. The moral integrity of the chapter is inseparable from the conduct of its members. Because Delta Gamma supports the integrity and dignity of women, basic human rights, decency, honor, gracious living and positive reinforcement of each other, there is no place for hazing (which is negative and archaic) in our Fraternity of women. Violation of the Fraternity's hazing policy by a member or new member will result in a review of membership or new membership by the Honor Board and possible termination or expulsion.
    http://www.deltagamma.org/hazing_policy.shtml

  23. glad that  

    Bwog finally wrote about a black event on campus (no snark, I'm serious, let's see more of this)

    too bad yall cut out before the A Phi A's did their thing

  24. the high pitched  

    shrieking was strange. can someone explain this tradition's origin?

  25. just saying  

    Forcing girls to perform while wearing "short-sleeved black minidresses, tights, and sky-high black heels" in 40 degree weather seems a little like hazing to me. While perhaps not akin to requiring that they celebrate their acceptance with a number of shots of alcohol, it seems a little unfair to force someone to do a choreographed dance in weather inappropriate clothes. I do wonder if these initiates were given the option of whether or not to perform or if they chose their costumes (not to mention having to pay for them)...

    Certainly that is not a pass-time I would choose (because wearing matching outfits and doing a poor dance seems pretty humiliating to me), but, having no interest in Greek life, perhaps that's not a fair qualification.

    Still, I suppose congratulations are in order to the new AKA inductees.

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