Monday, June 28, 2010

Best of Busted

Branding of TCU Kappa Sigma Member Prompts Inquiry

Texas Christian University and officials of Kappa Sigma Fraternity are investigating an incident in which a student suffered second- and third-degree burns after being branded on his buttocks during a ski trip.

The student… will have to undergo plastic surgery to repair the damage.

[The student] was injured on the last night of his fraternity’s ski trip at Breckenridge, Colo.

[The student] said that the group drank and got rowdy and that at some point he agreed to allow his fraternity brothers to finish branding the Kappa Sigma letters on his rear end with a hot coat hanger — a brand that was started on a spring break trip more than a year ago.

But his fraternity brothers, [the student] said, took things too far.

"I woke up the next morning and I was in a lot of pain," [the student] said. "My whole other butt cheek was destroyed."

TCU issued a statement Wednesday afternoon saying it has begun an investigation.

"University policy prohibits harming another student, which would obviously include branding," [the] spokeswoman said.

Obviously it would include branding. Besides the fact that getting branded is, in and of itself, totally wrong and unimaginable, the main reason we are so outraged about this incident is the branded student’s response to it all. Although the student says no one will tell him exactly what happened the night of the branding or who was responsible, he is still trying to take all of the heat for it by blaming himself for being too drunk. If this doesn’t scream hazing from every direction, we don’t know what would.

Plus, this was not the first time this happened… they were ‘finishing off’ the original job. What?! Imagine the logical conversation that preceded that event:

“Dudes, I am just loving the Kappa Sig brand on my bazooka. I sure wish it had some finer lines though.”

“Well, because we’re brothers and we care so much about you, we’d be happy to clean it up for you.”

“Thanks, you guys are the best.”

“No problem, man. There is nothing worse than having a brand that’s just not what you wanted.”

“Right… and it’s our letters, for God’s sake! We don’t want to disrespect the founders!”

Let’s get this straight. Branding isn’t funny, it’s not even close to funny. Funny things don’t make us throw up in our mouths.

McDonald, M. (2010, January 28). Branding of TCU Kappa Sigma member prompts inquiry. [Electronic Version]. Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved March 12, 2010 from:


Norah said...

What is the purpose of these "Best of Busted" posts? As an organization whose name promotes leadership and values, mocking Greek organizations for their mistakes doesn't seem to match up with the mission of your organization. As a member of a sorority, I am wholeheartedly against hazing of any kind, but there are better ways to promote your message--approaches that would make a greater positive impact and would establish your organization as resource Greek leaders can trust to be professional and helpful.

For the most part, the AFLV blog posts I've read have been overtly negative, offering few positive suggestions or alternatives to the behavior you condemn. Why should we continue to read your blog when you seem to delight in criticizing groups rather than in building them up to become better organizations? I'm not sure if you write things like, "Funny things don't make us throw up in our mouths" as a way to target young readers, but it's language like this that leaves a bad taste in OUR mouths. I trusted MGCA as an authority on living Greek values, but if these blog posts are any indication of the mission of AFLV, I'm not sure this is an organization I can support any longer.

TriciaF said...


Thanks so much for your comment, and for sharing your thoughts. We sincerely apologize for not responding sooner. The "Best of Busted" blog posts come from the "Busted" series that appears in each issue of Connections Magazine, and has since its inception by MGCA in 2007. Busted is intended to be thought provoking, and create opportunities for discussion.

The beauty of a blog is that no one has to read it - all of our information about member services, programs, and events are communicated to our membership and potential membership in other ways. The blog is simply one form of expression that various writers and guest bloggers can use to share their thoughts and express opinions. Some offer advice, and some share thoughts on the current state of affairs. We welcome guest posts as well as comments and criticism.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your comments. I would like to add to what Tricia already posted. One of the problems with our organizations is that we tend to like to focus on the positive and many would like to stick their head in the sand about the negative. It is our intent to bring it into the spotlight, not to mock, but rather to educate. It is commonly said that we humans learn more from our mistakes than we do our successes. Why not let the learning apply to all who read? Perhaps it will cause a chapter officer to think twice when faced with similar dilemmas, and as a result choose another course of action. That makes us all winners.

Norah said...

Tricia and AFLV,

Thanks for your responses! I agree that our organizations tend to shy away from addressing difficult issues (especially where long-standing traditions are concerned), so I do see the value in challenging us as leaders and holding us accountable for what our chapters are doing.

With that said, I'd love to see more discussion on your blog posts - these would provide a unique forum in which to discuss these tough subjects. I'll share your blog with some of my sisters so we can raise these discussions in a productive way (and with real-life situations to reference).

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