Fraternities throughout the 1970s engaged in many initiation activities that were "rites of passage" for the new pledges. Many of these rites included sexual activities that the senior members of the fraternity went through when they pledged and that were then visited upon proposed new fraternity members. These rites were believed to create a special bond between the brothers as evidenced by similar hazing in fire departments and in military units throughout the years.
None of these hazing activities were considered gay in nature and, in fact, most fraternities did not accept gay members. The rule was "As long as you're not gay, it's O.K." even if the fraternity initiation rite contained an extreme amount of sexual conduct. The justification was clear and logical. The pledges who engaged in these sexual hazing activities were being forced to do so to get into the fraternity so they weren't gay and the older brothers forcing the pledges to engage in the behavior were doing so to denigrate and belittle the pledges so their activities weren't gay either.
One such fraternity initiation activity I witnessed (although did not participate in) was Group Showering. Most of the fraternities that had their own houses had open showers with no stalls that had multiple shower heads. Whether the pledge lived in the house or off campus, they were required to assemble in the very early morning (usually around 7 a.m.) to take a group shower with the rest of the pledges and then to have breakfast together with the rest of the fraternity brothers.
All the pledges were required to get naked and to enter the shower at the same time. Each was given a bar of soap and they were told to "lather up" their fellow pledges and "to clean every inch of their bodies". No pledge was allowed to clean himself. All were encouraged to remain in a group and to work on each other. If a pledge sported an erection, the supervising brother would instruct the pledges to make sure every inch of that erect cock was clean as well. This often led to the pledges cumming. If a pledge did not get hard, he was left alone. Any brother not enthusiastically participating in the group showering activities would receive a black mark on their pledge record, which often resulted in that pledge receiving especially unfavorable treatment during future pledge activities. After the group shower, the pledges dried each other off with towels and then were required to eat breakfast naked before dressing and going to class.
These "rites of passage" were favorably looked upon by most fraternities. They promoted bonding and yet did not involve hazing that risked the life or health of the pledges. They did not involve forced alcohol consumption or the infliction of pain. Also, these activities took place prior to A.I.D.S. being a consideration and before all such activities were being classified as "gay" by future pledge classes.
Dr. Tom Stevens had an opportunity to observe fraternity initiation activities during the time he served as President of the Student Council of the Washington Square & University College of Arts & Science at New York University in Greenwich Village, New York where he was influential in approving budgetary requests made by fraternities associated with that school. He was not a member of any fraternity at the time but was given access to witness many fraternity initiation rites.