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Miss America Expelled From Sorority For Abusive Hazing

Rachel Cohrs |
September 26, 2014 | 10:07 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

With the big crown comes big responsibilities (Kira Kazantsev/Twitter)
With the big crown comes big responsibilities (Kira Kazantsev/Twitter)

Scandal has struck the Miss America pageant yet again. This time, it has to do with the violence its champion claims to stand against.

Kira Kazantsev was crowned Miss America 2015 on a platform of “protecting women against domestic violence.” Just over a week later, Jezebel released a report stating that the new champion was expelled from her sorority for hazing, or “dirty pledging,” during her time at Hofstra University. 

At the time, Kazantsev was the “New Member Educator and Recruitment Committee President” for her sorority. This “new member education” reportedly included name-calling, pointing out the young women’s physical flaws and forcing pledges to perform strenuous physical tasks. By Hofstra’s standards, these behavior fell under the banner of hazing, and after investigation Kazantsev was expelled from the sorority and banned from further activities. 

READ MORE: "Miss America On Victim Blaming And Domestic Violence"

This glaring imperfection on an otherwise-impressive resume did not faze Miss America organization officials, however; a spokesperson told Jezebel that Kazantsev had been “fully transparent” about her dismissal from the sorority, but provided no further details on the matter. Instead, the organization wished to return the focus to Kazantsev's academic achievements, stating, “We are excited to be a part of her journey as a force for good across our nation, promoting education and service and working to empower young women.”

This certainly isn’t the first time that high-profile pageant contestants have come under scrutiny: contestants have lied about their age and gender and have been involved in nude photo scandals and revelations about past pole dancing. But what standards are the public justified in holding Miss America to in her supposedly private life?

Regardless of their position on the merit of pageants as a whole, critics and proponents alike acknowledge that Miss America pageant winners have a position of influence as role models for young girls. Those in favor cite the academic qualifications, talents, and platforms of pageant contestants that are positive things, while opponents object on the grounds that pageants purport an unrealistic standard of beauty.

Whether or not Miss America is a good role model or a bad one, she clearly is held to higher ethical standards than the average celebrity. Her recent infraction continues to foster discussion about her role in the community and what responsibility she and the Miss America organization have to be transparent and honest about her past.



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