Frosh Revue has come under fire recently with the College Council-mandated censure which removed the freshmen performance troupe from subgroup allocation process for the next 26 months and froze this year’s budget (a whole of $150). Since this news broke, people have not held back their resentment for the group in public, on Facebook, and on the ever-so-powerful platform of change and progress, Yik Yak. And rightfully so. Hazing is a serious allegation that puts a strain on what the Williams Community is supposed to represent. However, how this has been handled by several organizations, particularly The Record and College Council, merits its own critique.
Now, this is not a defense of FR’s actions in the past, nor is it a claim that Frosh Revue has never hazed. They have. I know several FR alumni who would disagree and have only referred to hazing in quotation marks as if to dismiss any allegations as false, but the fact of the matter is that the first week of FR is inherently hazey. Having a party at the end of the week to let the Frosh know it was all one big ruse does not erase the potential emotional trauma they could have undergone in the four days prior.
However, these punishments and outcries are coming at a time when FR has actually attempted to change and move away from its past. The Directors went into that first week the same as any other year but, after the initial rehearsal, decided this was not how they wanted FR to continue to be; instead, they felt ashamed in themselves and knew change was necessary. Frosh Revue is about a performance and creating solid bonds with nine other freshmen, ones that last for the next four years and beyond. The initial week is not essential to achieve that. Despite their efforts to change however, FR has been thrown under the metaphorical bus that is the administration, CC, and The Record.
The biggest issue with this whole incident is how it has been handled by the powers that be. If we want to pretend that this is news, we can. I know first-hand however, that Junior Advisors have known about this almost every year, when frosh like myself came to them, and this has been brought up at JA meetings. Members (and Presidents!) of College Council have been members of Frosh Revue. Former editors for The Record have been members of Frosh Revue. This incident is not a shocking revelation. People and organizations of power have known about this culture before and chose to remain silent. So when The Record publishes so self-righteous an editorial applauding CC for their actions against Frosh Revue, that accomplishes nothing and only acts as a demonstration of hypocrisy and elevation of supposed moral superiority. As a friend and entry-mate eloquently put it, “Your article, and the editorial that accompanied it, did nothing to advance the discourse on this issue… I’m not asking you to stop investigating Frosh Revue and other such controversial issues that come up in our community. I’m asking you to actually investigate them. Stop being CC’s lapdog, and critique the powers that be.” I use the word “eloquent” because my friend, against all odds, has managed to critique The Record without resorting to the phrase “circle-jerk”. Good on you, Matt.
College Council, The Record, and the administration can condemn Frosh Revue, but they have to start acknowledging other groups’ practices and behaviors while doing so instead of expressing outrage over what’s being portrayed as an entirely isolated, horrifying incident. This is not shocking news–let’s stop acting as if it is.
As I previously mentioned, Frosh Revue is not entirely without fault. Hazing during the initial week was the norm since before I came here. But the Directors this year looked to change that and were punished regardless. Frosh Revue has forged some of the strongest friendships I have ever seen, and I’m grateful to say that I’ve met some of my closest friends through it. The recently implemented changes are good, but the outcry from outside groups amounts to little more than flaunting of how high some people can sit in their saddles while feigning past ignorance on the innerworkings of Frosh Revue.