At Thammasat University this week, various political parties addressed what they would do about freshmen hazing based on the SOTUS (Seniority, Order, Tradition, Unity and Spirit) system. Measures ranged from banning it (Future Forward) to doing little (Democrat, Bhum Jai Thai)
I suggest we heed the words of Bertrand Russell: “Education should have two objects: first, to give definite knowledge, reading and writing, language and mathematics, and so on; secondly, to create those mental habits which will enable people to acquire knowledge and form sound judgements for themselves.”
Thus, to help students and administrations reach principled positions on this important topic, I propose that universities debate the question: “Is SOTUS key to acquiring knowledge and forming sound judgements?” Student clubs can study the issue internally, then compete against other clubs, with rigorous, professional moderating to keep discussions on-track and focused on shedding light and not heat.
If SOTUS is not that relevant to education, then we should identify and promote what is relevant. If it is key, then we will have solid rationale for ceremonies which fully respect all participants’ rights.