Over the past week, I have heard many different people speak with "scorn" (for lack of a better word) about Harding University's policies and regulations. Some of these discussions were with students of other universities. Many of these students couldn't understand why Harding was so strict on so many issues. However I have also had some discussions with Harding grads recently, who wouldn't trade their Harding experience for anything else. This got me thinking, and eventually investigating. I have delved down to the bottom of this phenomena. Hold on until you've read the whole theory: Harding is a giant degradation ceremony for a secret society. Consider what someone would do to join a fraternity. That person would give away all rights to any dignifying individuality in order to be identified with the group later and the benefits of the association. Harding does basically the same thing on a much more grandiose scale. Upon arrival you sign a contract agreeing to abide by their rules. You loose your right to drink at age 21, to use tobacco products, to express all of your ideas without censorship. You might say, "But it is legal for me to drink if I'm 21! C'mon Harding!" Well, often times degradation ceremonies pay no mind to the law. Technically hazing is illegal. Consider your own pledge experience at Harding. It should have been much more tame than any pledge process at a state school. After all, harding can't loose your blossoming new identity to internal divisions and smaller identities. I know that my pledge process for Knights Social Club was very rough on me mentally, but once it was over and I was identified as a Knight I would do it again in a heartbeat. This is common with survivors of any degradation ceremony. Members of national fraternal orders would go through three times what they endured originally in order to receive the benefits again. Not to mention the bonding that occurs with other pledges. This same thing happens at Harding. As students we enter this process to become the illustrious graduate, and thus we go through frustrating tribulations which in the process shape us and grow us closer together as a student body. And if you speak to any graduates they largely look back upon Harding with such fond memories. This is exactly what Harding wants to happen, they want us to loose our identity and then find it again on the other side. "But wait, this is terrible! It's like conformity camp!" I must disagree with this outcry. You can resist, you can even refuse, you can even leave or get kicked out. Harding wants this to happen it ensures the effectiveness of their program. The adversity that we feel as students shapes us. I'm sure that a few of you will agree with me as you read this, and our rebelling minds will share a bond that cannot be broken, which means it is working. The fact that I've realized this and am sharing it doesn't make me a heretic, simply someone who is enlightened about the process. "But what are the benefits of going through this 'Harding Machine'?" With fraternities you have business connections after graduation and a reputation associated with you do to your organizations reputation. These are both offered with Harding, who is held in high esteem by many across the world. So overall we are simply pledges right now. We are going through all of the regulations that we sometimes roll our eyes at for a reason, so take heart. Next time you are talking to one of your friends who goes to a state school and they make fun of Harding for not having fraternities you can let them know that their school is the lame one, after all our whole school is one giant greek experience.
Sir Knight Patrick Baird, Esquire
Editor In Chief,