A BRIEF HISTORY OF FRATERNITY AND SORORITY PADDLES AND RECOMMENDATIONS*
By Alexandra S. Lehman**
The paddle. The fraternity and sorority paddle is most commonly used today as a decorative keepsake representing brotherhood or sisterhood and is given as a gift according to a local chapter’s traditions. The history of the paddle, however, is rooted in violence and remains both a tool and symbol of hazing in Greek organizations. Several national fraternities and sororities have decided to phase out the use and gifting of paddles and instead encourage alternative gifts not associated with hazing. This is a trend that should be encouraged. Fraternities and sororities should discontinue the licensing of paddles with their names and trademarks and instead promote viable paddle-gifting alternatives such as symbolic plaques and decorative symbols.
B. History of Paddling and Greek Hazing