How certain initiations can bring on later implications
By Mercedes Deutscher, News Editor
British Prime Minister David Cameron woke up to smell the bacon.
Several allegations are made in a political biography, written by former British Tory Party treasurer Lord Ashcroft, set to be released in early October. The most prominent allegation in the media was that as part of a fraternity initiation at Oxford, Cameron placed his genitals into the mouth of a dead pig.
It is a story all too common in fraternities, sororities, and other groups. To be included in such company, you must prove yourself worthy.
When do these initiations cross the line though? Why do young men—like Cameron once was—feel it is so important to fit in that it is worth sticking their pork into pork? Why do members of certain fraternities permanently brand their skins as a pledge of allegiance? Even in events as low-commitment as a frosh week, why did first-year business students at UBC think it was okay to make chants that made a joke of sexual assault?
If post-secondary is supposedly a place to be yourself, why do young adults place themselves in situations of danger or controversy in order to belong?
What you do in your young adulthood can have influence on your opportunities later on in your career, especially since the rise of social media. Sure, Cameron is the current British Prime Minister, but what if this news came to light prior to his election? Chances are he wouldn’t be in office today. Other political careers have been stopped in their tracks due to reckless decisions. Take Jerry Bance, a Canadian Conservative candidate who was dropped from the election after the public was exposed to a video of him urinating into a client’s empty coffee cup during his previous career as a repairman. Your actions have never been more scrutinized.
It is not to say that you need to be overly careful and cautious about every aspect of your life. However, take a moment to consider and assess your decision-making process. If asked to do something by a group you are trying to fit into, question what is motivating you to do such a thing. Sure, it may make a great story for at the bar, but is it something that you’d want your family to know about? Your future employer? The general public?
How much worth do you place in yourself over the camaraderie of others? It’s probably pretty easy to figure out ones’ values based on what they ask of you in a non-professional setting.
Perhaps if someone told that to a younger Cameron, he may have rethought his actions taken in order to make some new friends.