Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Higher and Adult Education


Higher Education

Committee Chair

Katrina Meyer

Committee Member

Larry McNeal

Committee Member

Jeffery Wilson

Committee Member

Dwayne Scott


In 1990, the leadership of the Black Greek-Lettered organizations that comprise the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) agreed to ban pledging as the official member entry process for new members. For 20 years (1990-2010), each organization has developed and used a membership intake process (MIP) to replace pledging in order to prevent hazing and injury to prospective members. Studies on membership entry into these organizations have focused mainly on fraternities during the MIP era (1990-2010) and the persistence of hazing during their process. This study explored the experiences of men and women who joined BGLOs prior to the 1990 ban on pledging among the organizations. This study adds to the body of research on BGLOs, specifically the experiences of members joining when pledging was the official process of membership entry. This study used the theoretical framework of Critical Race Theory as well as Black Feminist Theory and student development theory to explore the broad range of African American men and women experiencesin pledging Black Greek-Lettered fraternities and sororities. The qualitative framework of phenomenology provides the appropriate methods for participants to share information, which is part of the organizational history and culture of BGLOs. Several themes arose from the members overall pledging experience. Members were introduced to BGLOs in multiple ways. Members either celebrated crossing the burning sands or had some type of controversy. Members created varied relationships with line big brothers and sisters, others outside the organizations, their own line members. Members defined the differences between pledging and hazing. In addition, members shared perspectives on how the national organizations, specifically the leaders of the organizations, can improve the future direction of BGLOs in membership entry and combating hazing.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.