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Texas A&M University Stop Hazing Initiative

Personal Testimonies: Woods Night

"Our second planned pledge activity involved a kidnapping, in which we were instructed to wait in our rooms with a pillow case over our heads until someone came to get us. Once we were kidnapped we were crammed three or four into a car; it's hard to know the exact number because we were blindfolded and had pillow cases covering our heads."  

"As we drove circuitously to our secret grounds, our car, in which I was packed tightly with a couple other pledges, began to fill with thick smoke from marijuana. This was not very welcomed by us because one of my pledge brothers had asthma, it was getting really hard to breathe through our pillow cases now filled with smoke, and we were now trusting our lives to whomever was driving us like a wild lunatic, presumably on weed. I encouraged my pledge brother, who mentioned having asthma, to take his pillow case off, only to be screamed at by our driver, who sounded remarkably like brother Patrick."  

"Once we reached our secret spot, we were told to file out of the car and get in a straight line, in alphabetical order, with the rest of our pledge class. This must have been comical to the brothers because we couldn't see anything, we began tripping on debris and falling face first in the snow as we tried to organize ourselves properly. As one pledge in line fell, more would fall in some kind of domino effect. It didn't take long for me to observe that this was one of the coldest nights of the year in Ithaca. I would later discover that it was indeed about the coldest of the winter, with sub-zero temperatures on top of icy-cold gusts of wind. This made what would have been an incredibly painful night of hazing into a nearly intolerable night. " 

"In line and organized properly we walked hand on shoulder to a specific spot in the woods where we were placed in a circle, where we could easily be addressed by brother Patrick. From the sounds coming from the woods around us, it sounded like the majority of the house had come along as well, perhaps to volunteer as drivers or reminisce on such a painful hazing activity that they once endured. As we were humiliated by brother Patrick for not doing some of the first things we were assigned to do, we were also being poked and prodded with sticks, etc. from other brothers who were cracking open cans of beer and enjoying the freezing cold night. Patrick took time to walk in a line to all eighteen pledges and for at least ten minutes per pledge, proceeded to scream directly into the face of each pledge as he reminded them of their inadequacies. Nobody was spared as he took many low blows and crossed many clear-cut lines. Pledges were subjected to anti-Semitic comments, as brothers laughed and cheered in the background, and one pledge was even told he was the ugliest kid to have been given a bid to Alpha Gam."  

"The snow was piling up on all of our boots and clothing, and we were not allowed to move or shake any of it off. I still remember vividly losing feeling in my fingers and toes after no more than an hour in the woods. While Patrick did his job, brothers came around with heavy cylinder blocks and bricks and demanded that pledges hold them either at arms length or over their heads until they were told they could drop their arms. I personally held both a cylinder block at arms length for what felt like 15 minutes and a brick over my head for even longer. While I was holding the objects I remember my arms shaking from pain and my muscles giving in to the overwhelming pressure being applied to them, all while I was slapped and poked with sticks and other sharp objects and made to bark like a dog by brothers who were too busy laughing and getting drunk to realize how they were affecting pledges." (pp. 18-20)  

— From "Dazed and Confused" by Adam Zwecker, '04  

* Note: Some names have been changed from Zwecker's original text.