• U.S.

Education: Hell Week

2 minute read

¶ At the University of Texas eight years ago, 19-year-old Nolte McElroy bent down to crawl through a set of bedsprings to which city light wires had been connected. An excited, giggling crowd of Delta Kappa Epsilons were numbed into silence when Pledge McElroy fainted from shock, died 15 minutes later.

¶ At Duke University last year, a fraternity pledge named Einer A. Palmgren, stripped and painted with shellac, was inadvertently ignited and had to be hospitalized for severe burns.

Although most fraternity pledges survive their initiations with a whole skin, suffering only from jitters induced by mouthing blindfold a human eye (fried egg or oyster) or worms (cold spaghetti), the week after midyear examinations during which most U. S. campuses test their fraternity men is well named Hell Week.

Because Hell Week seems a better idea to youngsters than to oldsters, the doings of zealous local chapters never escape tut-tutting at sessions of the National Interfraternity Conference, which represents the elders of 62 U. S. Greek Letter societies. Meeting last week in Manhattan, the Conference administered to Hell Week its severest slap to date by resolving “to give cordial support to measures to abolish Hell Week taken by any college or university.”

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