One night during the fall of his freshman year, John Burford '12 found himself at the Show & Tel strip club on the south side of Philadelphia with six other Princeton freshmen. All seven were pledge brothers in Princeton's chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, and they had made the 45-mile trip south because Burford had specific instructions from the older brothers in the fraternity: Make a visit to "the hot seat."
Surrounded by his pledge brothers and 40 other club patrons, Burford climbed onto the stage and selected a stripper. She removed his shirt, handcuffed him to a tall metal pole in the middle of the stage and began to beat him with a thick leather belt volunteered by one of his pledge brothers.
Though fraternity hazing exercises may violate both University rules and state laws, often combining heavy drinking by minors with other illegal activities, the University neither officially recognizes nor actively engages with any of the Greek organizations on campus.