Fraternities in Decline

Sagging membership, hazing incidents, alcohol abuse, and changing student values challenge the Greek system

After drinking from a keg of beer stashed in the basement of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house at the University of Michigan last month, a group of pledges stripped to their boxer shorts and lined up, ready to endure their next torturous test of brotherhood.

As two other fraternity members looked on, a "pledge educator" pointed what he thought was an unloaded BB gun at the pledges' various body parts -- eyes, temples, groins, backs -- and pulled the trigger, discharging nothing